Free Budget Tool
In my last post, I told you about 15 Ways that I save Money, so that I have more money to spend on Projects! Now I am going to talk about budgeting. At the end, I’ll tell you how to get my Free Budget Tool that does not require you to keep receipts!!
Hi, I'm Liberty! I love projects of all sorts. In order to keep doing projects, I have to be frugal. This is how I learned to budget.
Perhaps you are thinking “I don’t have enough money to pay the bills; I certainly don’t have any extra to ‘budget’ with.” Let me tell you a secret. You don’t need extra money to have a budget. And here’s another secret– a budget is actually a tracking tool. Yes! It is mostly a tracking tool to let you know where your hard earned money went!
After four months working my first job out of college, I had less money than I thought I should have. I had been buying things to set up house– things like a vacuum cleaner and a desk and silverware– but surely I should have more money leftover than I had! And so I started a Budget. Actually, what I did was start Tracking where my money was going. And an amazing thing happened. Suddenly, my small savings began to grow. I didn’t do anything different, other than write down and keep track of what I was spending. I even had car repair expenses like fixing a bent axle that year…..and because I had started keeping track of where my money went, I had enough cash saved ahead of time to pay the bills without worrying about it.
Obstacles You May Have
Here’s another thing you might have thought. You might have thought that to have a Budget and Track your money means that you have to sit down every week and that sounds like a big chore. Yes, I think that would take a lot of time, too. But I have found that my budget works best if I look at it a month at a time.
Perhaps you are thinking that you really don’t want to keep track of all your receipts. Guess what?! With my method, you don’t have to keep your receipts if you mostly use a credit card! (Hopefully you are paying off said credit card each month….)
Do you have a spouse? Are you thinking, “I would love to use a budget as a tracking tool, but my spouse will not cooperate with me”–? Usually, one spouse is a saver and one is a spender. It is the saver spouse who can do the actual work of entering the numbers. It is the spender spouse’s job to let the saver spouse know what he/she is spending. And then once a month both spouses sit down together. They both look at the money that has been tracked. They talk about it. They might talk about if there are changes they would like to make one way or another way.
A lot of trust is involved here, but spouses hopefully are in the habit of trusting each other. This tracking budget tool is also an accountability tool. And the accountability is what makes it work. Remember how it worked when I was fresh out of college on my own? I was being accountable to the piece of paper where I wrote everything down, and that made all the difference.
Perhaps you are saying, “but I don’t have Microsoft Excel and I don’t have the money to buy it to use your worksheet.” Did you know that as long as you have internet access, you can use Microsoft Excel online for free?? Instructions are included with my free budget tool exactly how to do this.
How it Works
I have used several different monthly budget spreadsheets over the years. I like more detail– my husband does not. So I made a spreadsheet for him that was not as detailed, and had less color. For awhile I also kept making my detailed one for my own sake. Then as life got busier, I decided the one with less detail would work fine.
For the past year I have been using a spreadsheet where you can see four months at a glance. This one is really nice because you can compare months easily. You can even still read everything if you print it on a legal size sheet of paper! : )
If you don’t want to keep your receipts
If you are tired of keeping receipts, then just keep your monthly credit card statements and use them to enter the information in my worksheet. If you want to enter your spending before you get your credit card, you have two options: 1) you can keep your receipts, or 2) you can log in to your credit card account online to see your spending before you get your statement.
How to get your Free Budget Tool
I want to be a help to my readers. One way I want to do that is by giving you my Four Month Spreadsheet. It comes as an Excel document so that you can input the numbers and then it does all of the calculating for you. How easy is that?! I have even included a BONUS spreadsheet so that you can compare a whole year’s worth of Income and Spending at a glance. I have found this sheet to be very helpful. It helps to know you are on track (or not) year after year. All you need to do to get these two worksheets (including detailed instructions how to use them) is to Sign Up for New Posts with your email address. Then I will email you a link so that you will be able to download the files.
Spread the Word
Do you know others who might want a free budget tool like this? Please don’t copy yours– please just share the link to this post so that they can get their own copy from me just like you did. Remember– this is for my reader’s benefit. And Thank You!