Who doesn’t want a bit of help with money organization as the cost of living is going up and up. Here are some tips that work for creating your own simple budget.
Why it is needed
Many times in the last month, when I have been having conversations with friends, the topic of the cost of living keeps arising.
We also have had the experience of spending the usual amount when we do our weekly shopping, only to discover that the result is two bags worth of items rather than the three or four we used to get.
This can be really hard to manage, money can flow in and out so quickly we wonder where it has gone.
So, I guess it goes without saying that if we find ourselves in this situation we need to start getting much more intentional with our money. Hence we need to create a budget that gives us control and empowers us to make intentional choices about where our money is going to go.
Why create a ’ Simple Budget ’?
Have you ever started to look for a way to manage your money – got overwhelmed – and stopped?
I know I have.
Really there are so many different types of systems of money management that it can indeed be overwhelming to know what will work for YOU.
This is why starting with a simple system will work best. You can always get more detailed later on, but when starting out with a budget, don’t get too complicated or you won’t keep up with it.
You need something you will keep up with on a daily basis.
My husband and I tried many different apps and spreadsheet designs before we settled on the one we have now.
We have made one person responsible for keeping it up to date, which in our case, is my husband. [My dear Matt is the best!]
But, I regularly look at it, check it, and understand what is happening with our money. I also might have had an influence on the look and design too.
We work with a method called ’zero balance budgeting’, you can check that out here.
So lets get into the details of setting up YOUR simple budget.
How to do it
First of all, here is our budget so you can visualise it..
The very first thing to do is to start writing down categories of spending. These might be RENT, FOOD, TRAVEL, etc.
Some like to have just a few simple categories, others like many different ones. So, you figure out what works for YOU and your simple budget.
Next you are going to put these categories under different umbrellas. As you can see in the picture we have a few umbrellas and it just helps us keep things organized.
If your want to organize your money in the same way I suggest breaking your list up into these:
- Roll – over totals
- Monthly totals
What this means is that some categories we want to roll over the totals from month to month. Whereas some categories we prefer to start new each month with a set starting balance.
Another set of umbrellas are:
- Variable expenses
- Fixed expenses
This means that we determine if the category is going to be one that has a set expense amount each month, or if it is going to be a variable amount each month.
Now we are just down to the budget side of things.
Look at what your monthly income is, and then allocate it all out to your different categories, until you have €0 left.
This means that you if you go over in one category, the money has to come from another category.
Optional Step 4
We have taken an additional step to include a plan column for some of our categories.
This means we can look ahead for the month, see what expenses are coming up and then we can adapt our spending accordingly.
For example, if we have a few wedding anniversaries in one month, we know for that month we can’t just spontaneously buy people extra gifts, because the money is allocated.
In other word, having the plan column means we are actually budgeting intentionally, rather than just tracking where money goes out.
Having a budget like this is something you need to keep up with every day.
Money management should be a daily habit, like washing your dishes.
Also it should be simple. Especially when starting off a simple budget works best.
Finally, it should lead you to be able to make intentional spending choices.
I hope this helps you to organize your money. By all means let me know if you end up using our template and find that it works for you too.
If you like the idea of being more intentional, you might like this article ’Plan Your Day The Intentional Way’
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