6 Ways To Start A Successful Budget Plan
How many times in your adult life have you said you needed a financial budget? How many times have you tried and just not been able to follow through with a personal budget? I think we can all agree we have been there, done that.
I think we sometimes don’t wrap our head around creating a budget plan, it seems hard, we don’t know how to get started. For years I wanted to learn to coupon and never did, until one day someone explained all of the secrets and made couponing simple for me!
This post is going to make creating a budget simple for you. We’ll talk about the different ways we can budget and when we’re done you should be able to choose one that works for you or be able to fashion a few together to make it work for you!
- Budget Worksheets
- Budget Plans
- Budget Apps
- Budget Templates
- Budget Tools
- Monthly Budget Spreadsheets
- And more
I remember when I first set out on my journey to lose over 100 lbs and lose Type 2 Diabetes. I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had to do it in a way that would work for me forever, a way that was easy for me and fit into my lifestyle. Otherwise, I knew I would fail and fall right back in it, in days, months or even years. Here it is over 5 years later and the weight is still gone as well as the Type 2 Diabetes, my lifestyle is still working for me!
That’s the way it has to be with any major life decision, and budgeting is definitely a life decision, so find what works for you and your family comfortably and it will continue to work. Make sure you don’t set yourself up for failure, be sure you can do what you put in your budget.
If you are spending $1500 a month on groceries and you put in that you’re going to drop that to $1300, great! But, if you’re spending $1000 a month on groceries and decide to cut it down to $500 a month, that may be setting yourself up to fail. Be smart and cautious and you’ll get there!
Let’s look at some of the ways you can start making a budget:
Family Budget Planner
We’ll start with a family budget planner, some might call a household budget planner. All this is is what you currently spend and/or the amount you want to shoot for spending. Like we said above, if you find that you spend $1500 a month on groceries and feel like you want or you can cut that down, then “budget” or plan for that amount.
How do you find out what you spend on things like gas and groceries? Just look back over the last month or two in your bank records where you used your debit card(s) and you’ll be able to tell.
Also you want to make sure you know how much things cost. At the grocery store especially – prices rise and fall but, they do so in a pattern that you can watch for. There is a high and low for every product and it runs through those prices in a 6-12 week cycle, generally. So, you need to know what the high price is for the products you use on a regular basis (and never buy at that price) and what the low price is for them and when you find that low price you can add a coupon, or app to the deal and buy a few so that you don’t run out when it’s at the high price.
You can watch my free video and download my free price book sheets to be able to track it find find out those best prices to help you save at the grocery store.
I made a printable Family Budget Planner you can use to start taking control of your family finances. This budget template is simple to use and free so you can get started right away.
Print your Family Budget Planner <— Click here
Household Budget Worksheet
Once you have a budget laid out and plan then you might find a household budget worksheet helpful. With a worksheet you’ll use a new one every month and not only right down what you expect to make, spend, and save for the month, but, you’ll also be able to track what you actually made, spent, and saved for the month and if there was a difference in what you expected and what actually happened and use that to determine where you can save. Maybe you’ll see you pay more for eating out than you thought or you see that the TV bill looks higher than you like and maybe you can look for ways to cut it down.
The worksheets will help you throughout the year, too, as you look back and see how far you’ve come or maybe you fallen a little short and can track how that happened and fix it.
I made a printable Household Budget Worksheet you can use to start tracking your finances and find ways to get on top of it all.
Print your Household Budget Worksheet <— Click here
Monthly Budget Spreadsheet
Some people like paper and pencil and some are more tech oriented. That’s why there’s value to both a printable budget and an online budget spreadsheet. With a budget spreadsheet you can easily make changes and corrections as well as have it set up to do the math for you. If you tend to make mistakes balancing your checkbook – we’ve all been there – then a spreadsheet online may make more sense for you.
You can make one in Excel or I prefer Google Sheets because it does pretty much all the same stuff and it’s free… I do love me some free! But, if you have Excel and can use it… I’m just saying I know some people who have it but, have no idea how to use it… lol you can absolutely make one in Excel that works for you and your budget.
Another great thing about the online spreadsheet budget is you can adapt it and change it along the way to make it perfect for your needs! All of the months are in the same file, too, you just have to change the month name on the tab at the bottom and then you can switch between them.
Here’s one I made to help get you started. Online Budget Spreadsheet <— click here to download it. This will work in Excel or you can download the file and then drag it into Google Drive to open it in Google Sheets (which is free)
Cash Envelope System
This is simple way of budgeting that helps you stay on track. You may want to start this way of budgeting and then move on to another that works for you once you get used to having a budget.
Basically with this method you set up envelopes with all of your expenses. You would have an envelope for rent, electricity, gas, groceries, etc. Then you take your income and put the actual cash in each envelope for each expense.
You know how much your basic bills are or you should. Your rent, car payment, insurance are all the same each month, you know exactly how much to put in those envelopes. As your bills come in place the bill amount in cash in that envelope. When it comes time to pay your bills you use what’s in the envelope. If you have $200 in your envelope for groceries you need to stay within that budget – once the money in the envelope is gone it’s gone until next month or week. With this system you do not borrow from one envelope to help with another. It’s very strict, but, it’s a great way to get started and get your feet wet.
Apps & Budget Tools
There are lots of apps for everything, we know that – well, there are lots of apps for budgeting, too. If you’re serious about starting to get your finances in order – clear out those games and download a few apps that will help you financially. These budget tools are just a few out there,
Here are some suggestions:
13 Must Have Money Saving Apps
These apps will give you cash back at the store and often they make things free and you can actually make a little money, too.
Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar App
Budgeting in EveryDollar is easy — it takes less than 10 minutes to create your first budget!
- Envelope Budgeting on the go!
Track your bills, manage your budget, plan ahead, and more… instantly, from anywhere!
- Real Time Budget Updates
Capture receipts in real time so you can update your budget at the point of purchase.
- Not Just A Budgeting App
Mvelopes is part of a bigger home financial program that can make the most of the money you make.
- Personal Finances, Made Easy
Make informed decisions as you go by always knowing what you have left to spend.
Buxfer helps you see all your accounts at one place, understand where your money goes, reduce unwanted spending, and save for future goals.
CalendarBudget is web-based online personal finance software that runs in your browser or mobile device. It is designed to be easy to use and to allow you to both TRACK and PLAN your money in the past and future. It’s an easy to use online money planner with no complicated system that takes weeks to get used to – just walk up and use!
At last, your bills and money are together in one place and easier than ever to manage. Just add your bills to see how helpful we can be.
Now you have choices and help, there’s no reason you can’t or shouldn’t start budgeting now. With all of the tools available to you and all of the different ways to do it, there’s no way to fail. Get started now.
Do you have a creative way of budgeting you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Just leave it in the comments below.