Personal Finance Spread Tips for Tracking Expenses and Budgeting
Cut excessive spending by up to 30% in just two months! Make a solid plan to pay off your debt. Create a real plan to make your dreams come true. Manage your finances with a leap of faith that everything is possible. Here is a free personal finance spread for tracking expenses and budgeting.
Deciding on your Categories
If you are completely new to this, the first thing you need to do for a month is to track how you spend your money. Just write down any amount you spend and beside that write down what you bought. You should track your income as well. While you do that you can start to think about the categories of your spending. At this point please don’t follow anybody else’s system. Every person is different. Start now because done is better than perfect.
It took me personally a few months to get really crystal clear on what my categories are. For some time now I’m budgeting and tracking the following categories: bills, food, toiletries, me, clothes, other, savings, income, and balance.
The category bills contain my utilities, credit cards and any other monthly payments that I must pay, like chamber membership, day care, etc. Category food includes everything I buy that we eat or drink. This includes coffee or drinks after work, lunch dates, etc. Toiletries include everything else that we use, but don’t eat, including cleaning and laundry supplies, toilet paper, beauty products, baby wipes, diapers, shower and hair products, trash bags, etc.
Personal Pleasures and Luxury
Yes, you can definitely afford luxury items on a tight budget. Category me is money I can spend every month on my little personal pleasures without those negative feelings *can’t afford it or *I’m so selfish or *do I really need this. Since it’s a small amount, when I really want to get something expensive, I pay for it over e.g. 6 months. When deciding how many installments to take, I make sure that the monthly cost doesn’t exceed me budget category. The last thing I got was a Chanel Exclusive Gardenia Perfume on my tiny tight budget. Keep believing that everything is possible.
The clothes category is self-explanatory. Have a good look at your closet and decide on what items you really need, and what items are quite new in your wardrobe. Use what you have as much as possible to keep yourself in your budget. In the long run, you will buy clothes that you really enjoy to wear and not because it is cheap. Every other spending I tend to put under the category other. Things like admission tickets, toys, gifts, etc.
Have a Sufficient Income for a Comfortable Life
Under the category income, I write in all the money that comes to my bank account in a month. The only real financial advice you need is the search for ways to diversify your income and increase it in the long run. I mean, nothing will happen if you don’t, but you will reach your goals faster. Keep believing that everything is possible.
There are basically three things you need to think about now that will set you off in the right direction. First, is what are your best skills that you honestly enjoy using? That is what you should be doing as your day job or your side hustle. The second thing is to think about how you can incorporate more than one “job” into your daily life. One of the strategies is to time block your schedule. That means set aside a certain time in your day for certain activities. Your efforts will add up in the long run. In such process, you won’t feel exhausted or unhappy.
The third thing you need to think about is what will really bring in the largest amounts of money for you. You will see that with time your initial plans will change. Just be open to it. What works well for others may prove itself a total flop for you. Just be persistent. Keep believing that everything is possible.
Savings and Debt
In order to enable the Savings and Debt category, you should always budget your spending quite below your income level. To live on less doesn’t mean you are stingy or poor. It just means you have bigger fish to fry. If you have debt, you should definitely write it all down on paper. The best way to kill it is to pay off as much debt as possible fast. First, pay off debt that is the smallest in value or the one that has the highest interest rate. Then use that money you used to put into that debt and pay off the second smallest debt with it. This all is presuming you continue making minimum payments on all your other debt items.
Even before you get out of debt, you should start saving. Not just because it’s the right thing to have a financial safety net when things go wrong, but because it gives you something to look forward to today. Remember, keep believing that everything is possible and that your wildest dreams will come true.
My saving categories are future spending, housing, my savings/retirement, emergency fund, kids savings, kids future spending, travel, special events. Every month I set aside some money for my future spending. You know that time when it’s the 20th, and things happened, and you really need more money. That is when you use your future spend category. Housing is money I set aside for future real estate. I never touch this category. My savings/retirement is money I set aside for my future. I never touch this category either.
An emergency fund is really very important to have. This money is set aside for future spending, but only if it’s absolutely necessary. Things like operations or accidents or something unexpected. I found that having this in the budget helps me the most with any money fears or financial anxieties I may have. I also keep my main account above zero at all times, and it really helps with the feeling that I always have enough money.
Kids savings is money my kids will get when they are 18 years old. They may use it for education, travel in their twenties, to buy a car, or as savings for something else. I never touch this money. Kids future spending is money I set aside for bigger payments we will have to spend on our kids, like school supplies, excursions, dentist, or something else.
The clothes and special events sinking finds are very important to the budget. These are expenses that will occur 100%, and when they do, you will be ready for them. Just save a yearly amount beforehand, and you will always be on top of your spending.
Travel is money set aside just for travel. For me, travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and if I had a chance I would travel all the time. That is why I have a category in my budget that makes my dreams come true while facing all the challenges of everyday life. Keep believing that everything is possible. Special Events is money set aside for celebrations we will have in the future. It helps me never ask myself how will we manage or think about how we can’t afford it.
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