How to budget using a planner

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I’ve had many planners over the years but I’ve never know how to budget using a planner before. There have been more years than I care to remember that I’ve spent some huge sum on a gleaming new shiny planner, only then to have not opened it again after the middle of February, or there about.

No matter how good my intentions were, I just couldn’t keep my planner habit up. And then something changed, and I realized where I’d been gong wrong. I wasn’t planning my planner. It was time to learn how to budget using my planner!

As I got more and more into our goal to become debt free, I realized I as going to need to become a meticulous planner and get this planner habit nailed. I tried using online planners and spreadsheets, I used new software and complicated calculators.

I always came back to a planner. As it would turn out, a simple piece of paper and a pencil would change my life.

There are numerous benefits of using a planner to budget

Lets you control your money

Keeps you focused on your money goals

Makes you aware of where your money is going

Helps you organize your spending and savings

Lets you see how much extra money you need to bring in



How to budget using a planner

The biggest problem I’ve always had with planning a budget is that they’ve not worked for us. It’s really hard to stick to any kind of budget if you feel that your life has to change beyond all recognition, and I think this is where most budgets fall down.

If you look at most of the budget planners, you find neat categories and honestly? Life just doesn’t work like that.

The FIRST month in my planner when we set out to become debt free was nothing like a budget. It was simply a record of everything we spent that month. Yes, it’s quite shocking. Yes, it was quite a hassel to keep filling it in. But I realized soon after starting that it was a pain to keep filling it in because I was spending so much!

All that said, this stage was vital to us. It allowed us to see what our daily habits were. We see where money was going. Trust me, you might think you know already. You’ll be surprised how the little extras add up.

The other thing it did was allow us to create a budget that worked for us. Some things we enjoyed and didn’t want to give up. Our weekend coffee for one early on a Saturday morning that had become our ritual when we took the dog out. In exchange for keeping that important habit, we willingly gave up other weekday coffees, and made our own at home.

Working out a budget using your planner

After month one, we needed to take the info from month one and out it into a budget. You’ve got 12 months ahead of you here. It’s a great place to plan the year, since there are some things that aren’t going to change.

Plot the important dates to you. For us, we plotted out birthdays, Christmas, and a couple of other times throughout the year when we knew expenses might be a little higher. But these don;t have to come as a surprise or ruin your budget. You’ve just got to have them mapped out and have planned for them.

We aded up how much we needed for these celebration times and simply divided by 12. Then we set that aside each month.

Since we’d already charted our monthly household expenses, we left that money in the bank, and just listed our monthly banking direct debits each month and ticked them off when they were paid. This keep them current in your mind.

We also out markers next to specific direct debits and bills throughout the year so we knew when to check their prices and see if we could lower the bills.

As I’ve previously written about, we became firm advocates of the cash budget method. My planner was the perfect tool for keeping my cash budget on track. Each month I have an amount, and I generally break it up into weeks rather than months, I know how much we have to play with and we stick to it. If we run of of cash, it’s easy to see where it went.

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Personal expenses

Vital to the success of our budget was allowing for reasonable personal expenses. Balancing your money goals with your everyday life, for our family, is the key to making it work. We have coffee out at the weekend and we allow for a family meal out every month, because we enjoy these things.

By use vouchers and discount codes, but we make sure we go out and do many of the same family things we did before. Jot down dates in your planner to make sure you don’t forget when a voucher needs to be used by. You’ll find that life goes on, for a lot less cash!

How to plan money

It’s been said that if you don’t control your money, your money will control you.

We found this to be true.

Our total lack of money planning before creating our debt free family goal, led us to being controlled day in day out by our money. These days, I plan ahead.

I know whats coming in, when it’s coming in and where it’s going. Every £ has a home, even if that home is into a fund for unexpected expenses. Every month in my planner, I take the time to map out where all our money is going. I have a running list, and I’m the one who controls it, rather than it controlling me.

Seeing the progress that we’re making towards our goals is a big part of planning our money. I allocate the amount that is going towards our debt free family goal and then allocate the rest.

We used to spend without thought and then see if there was anything left over. There wasn’t. This way, our money goals come first. Then we plan out the rest of the month.

If you do not plan out your expenses, your expenses will dictate your month.

how to budget properly using a planner, household budget, household expenses, spending plan, how to plan money, how to create a budget

Let me know how you like to use your planner or if you’ve found a particularly well laid out one, get in touch below!

3 thoughts on “How to budget using a planner”

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