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, the first step was to find the best 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 7 years later and the weight is still gone as well as the Type 2 Diabetes, my lifestyle is still working for me!
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That’s how it has to be with any major life decision. Budgeting keeping track of your monthly income and monthly expenses is definitely a life decision, so find the easiest way that works for you and your family members 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. This is an important thing to do to take control of your finances on a monthly basis.
Another good idea to keep track of your finances and spending habits while saving so much money is to make expense categories. This has always been a great budgeting tool.
If you are spending $1500 a month on groceries and you make a budgeting plan that you’re going to drop that to $1300, great! But, if you’re spending $1000 a month on groceries and decide to cut your new budget down to $500 a month, that may be setting yourself up to fail.
Be smart and cautious, and you’ll get there! Now you are one step closer to better money management.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can start making a budget for your financial planning:
Family Budget Planner
We’ll start with a family budget planner, some might call a household budget planner. This isn’t rocket science it is just 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 account records and bank statements where you used your debit card(s), and you’ll be able to tell. This is a great way to keep track of your expenses.
You can also set up an expense tracker with Google docs, but a more accessible option is to use the family budget template below. This will help your financial future.
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.). You also need to know what the low price is for the same products.
When you find that low price you can add a coupon, or an app to the deal and buy a few so that you don’t run out when it’s at the high price. This will help with your saving goals at the end of the month.
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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 your total budget is laid out and planned, you might find a household budget worksheet or budget plan template helpful. With a family budget worksheet, you’ll use a new one every month and not only write down what you expect to make, spend, and save for the month, but you’ll also be able to track what you made.
You’ll track income, 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. It’s great to do this for your emergency savings or any savings goal, too.
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 on your overall budget.
The worksheets and budget spreadsheet template will help you throughout the year, too, as you look back and see how far you’ve come or maybe you have fallen a little short and can track how that happened and fix it.
I made a printable long term Household Budget Worksheet and budget payment plan you can use to start tracking your finances and find ways to get on top of it all.
Get 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 free printable budget templates 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 simple budget template is that you can adapt it and change it along the way to make it perfect for your specific 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.
Not only is this budgeting template great for family’s it’s also helpful for new businesses and college students.
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)
To Download The Online Budget Spreadsheet <— Click here
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 realistic budget.
Basically, with this next step and method, you set up envelopes with all of your expenses and spending plan. You would have an envelope for rent/mortgage payments, electricity bill, gas, groceries, car lane parking expenses, cell phone bill, etc. Then you take your total monthly income and put the actual cash in each envelope for each expense.
You know how much your monthly estimate for your basic bills are, or you should. Your rent, car payment, car insurance, health insurance, student loans, are all the same each month, and you know the exact amount of money to put in those envelopes.
As your bills come in place the monthly payment amount for that bill 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.
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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.
For free access to all of our printables, just click here —> Free Printable Library
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.