Its mid-month & if you’re anything like me you’re already looking at the bank balance wondering if theres going to be enough for the end of month bills.
But do you actually know what bills come out on what day? Or, if you have multiple accounts, which account each bill comes out of (savings, credit card, current account?).
Its always a good idea to have 1 sheet of paper with all your monthly incoming & outgoings on it.
If you’d like to read a previous post about my own budgeting journey & some great advice for why to start a budget, you can find that here.
In this post I’m going to walk you through the Overall Monthly Budget Tracker page from my Budget Workbook available in the Shop. I think its one of the most important pages to start your Budget.
I’ve given this a few lines because I sometimes we have multiple income streams. Also we could get paid weekly, every 2 weeks or monthly. In Ireland we are given a Child Benefit which comes in once a month too.
List all your income streams here with the totals. If your income is variable, estimate the total & write in pencil so you have somewhere to start.
For weekly or bi monthly incomes, I look at a calendar & work out how much would come in for that particular month & put the total in the column next to it.
I like to keep an opening & closing balance for all my accounts including my credit card where I can see it.
List any current, savings or credit card accounts you use to pay your bills. Or any account you want to keep track of. Write down the opening balance as of the 1st of the month.
If you are starting this half way through the month, then write the date big at the top of the column.
Okay, this is the part that will take some time to fill in. You need to go back to all your bank statements & write down (preferably in date order) what expenses you have. You could also use the Bill Tracker page in the Workbook which lists all your bills by date, amount & month.
Keep in mind these are Fixed monthly expenses. So, you’re only putting in the ones that are the same every month. Even though my phone bill may change slightly each month, I keep it in here as its a ‘known’ expense.
- Gas Bills
- Car payment
- House/life/car Insurance
- School Fees
Fill in the ‘Budget’ amount and we’ll come back to this page at the end of the month & complete the ‘Actual’ column.
Groceries & petrol/diesel would be good examples of variable expenses. They’re a monthly expense but the total could vary month to month. Some examples are :
- Groceries / Food
- Petrol / Diesel
- Vet / Pet Supplies
- Personal care
This may be the area you put in items that are specific to this month’s expenses too. For example if you pay for health insurance on a quarterly basis you’d only list it in March, June, September & December. Its also where you’d list birthdays or once off expenses.
Again, fill in the ‘Budget’ amount and we’ll come back to this page at the end of the month & complete the ‘Actual’ column.
Take a look at 42 Forgotten Budget Items to make sure you’ve listed everything for the month & theres no hidden surprises!
I have a weekly direct debit from my account to the local credit union which I list here. As its weekly, I need to figure out how many times it will come out of my account this month. I put that figure in the ‘Budget’ column.
I’m not in a position to be saving at the moment as I’m trying to pay down debt first. But this would be a good place to start with an Emergency Fund & monitor it in this column. I’ll discuss Emergency Funds more in another post.
Anything else you want to track for the month that doesn’t fit in elsewhere can be written in here.
Once its all filled in …
Add up the totals for each section and it will give you a good idea of how you’re positioned for the month. You may need to make adjustments to the Variable Expenses section or perhaps you have additional funds left that could be added to your Savings column.
I use 2 main sheets for my budget & this is one of them. Once you have a good handle of expenses its easier to make changes to how your money is being spent. The other important sheet I use is the Month Sheet where I list incomings & outgoings each day so I can monitor my day-by-day or week-by-week finances.
It may take you a month or two to get this perfected. But keep going, once you’ve started its only little changes here & there & you’ll be less stressed about your finances as you know where the moneys going.
If you’d like to purchase the Budget Workbook, its available in the shop. Its an immediate download & can be printed at home so you can start right away.