Design Option #1
How are things going in your neck of the woods? Well, more importantly, how are your financial challenges going? We are now on the 7th week and challenge and we have already done many things to help get us on the right track.
First off, we are heading into the fourth week of working towards finding that $1,000 for our emergency funds or other financial goals! It has been SO INCREDIBLY EXCITING to hear about your successes! What a huge blessing and GREAT JOB! We also know some that are struggling and doing their best to work towards that – note that you can keep going, even if it takes 60 days or even if at the end of 30 days, you have a few hundred extra! THAT’S HUGE and more than you had before and more than you would have had if you had not made any effort. Keep going, we have at least another week. Some of you have even found multi-thousands. So go the full length of the 30 days and see what you can accomplish! In our books achieving more than $1,000 is definitely not a problem at all.
Well, as you are in your 4th week on the $1,000 goal, we are going to keep going with other tasks. Last week’s applied to those in debt, this week is for EVERYONE. We laid a foundation with our budget a few weeks ago. Now it is time to put together a 12-month budget planner. You are going to fill this in at the beginning of each new month to start your budget goals for that month.
We are going to be using the 2×2 rule as we budget, so your numbers are going to change by 2% each month! That’s the goal anyway – as you’ll find your results often being better than expected!
So this week’s task is to print off and create a binder for your 12-month budget. You can use a pocket folder, 3-ring binder, or even a binding kit from an office store (about $3) to make it spiral bound with a plastic cover. Do whatever is going to make the most sense for your uses.
Print off the cover page and 12-months worth of sheets – double sided or 2 sheets per month. Whichever you prefer.
This is a custom created budget planner that is designed to also help you calculate your 2×2 numbers each month. There are three different designs that you can choose to be able to create your binder. So pick one and enjoy!
Again, you are not going to complete the entire 12-months budget – but rather, you are going to spend a few minutes at the beginning of each month. The budget planner should be pretty self-explanatory, but we will share the steps with you to create this budget.
There are 2 pages for each month – we recommend printing these double sided, so you basically have 1-page, double-sided for each month. But 2 sheets per month is fine too.
Design Option #2
Page #1 – Month at a Glance
Side one of the page is your monthly summary page. First, there is a calendar at the top, this is a helpful tool for scheduling too so it is all in one. You can use this to identify paycheck dates or whatever is most useful.
Then you will see the starting balance amount, the bills column (this is where your budget summary comes into play and very helpful to just transfer the information – our goal is to see these drop 2% each month). These are your everyday bills.
Next, you will see the income box! There is a spot for each spouse and an “other” that is the excess, collective earnings (and the place where we also hope to see a 2% increase each month!). Under income is tithe! Giving should be the first thing that is calculated before all of your other goals!
The next box is for your savings and savings deposits made.
Then you have the envelope spending boxes where you would use the previous living expenses budget summary to complete – with our goal of dropping these 2% over time too! But put in your spending now and then we will be working on dropping these to see a more improved budget each month! The envelope spending can be used with a cash system, or by checking your bank accounts in each category. However you currently spend money monthly. If you are also using an online tool like Mint.com that we had previously recommended (free tool), this information can be duplicated online for those using electronic payment to see it in both places. Don’t skip the written down version. Although electronic tracking is helpful, it is very easy for it to be “out of sight, out of mind.” Also, we will talk about recommendations regarding the method (cash vs. debit vs. credit) at a later time, but that’s not the focus of this post or this week’s challenge!
Finally, the last box on this page is your monthly ending balance for that month. We hope it is in the positive, but if not, we will get there! 🙂
Refer to this first page all month long to help you stay on track!
Design Option #3
Page #2 – Summary of Monthly Successes and Goals
The second page or back side of the page is going to help you identify your successes and goals. First, you are going to transfer over your monthly ending envelope balances (again, hoping we are in the positive) to the backside so that you can see how much you have left and how much under-budget you came in and the total money saved in that category. Many of these categories are progressive. Like in our living expenses budget: travel, medical, auto, homeschool (education) and clothing are slowly built up over a several months and used to make bigger purchases at one time. For example, we save a little each paycheck for Christmas and this fund just continues to grow. We start Christmas shopping many months earlier and so a good savings is in this category and available when the Christmas deals start.
Next box, this is where you are going to write down your income increase goals (we are shooting for 2% each month) and your spending decrease goals (again, shooting for a 2% less spending). Then, with your excess left over money for the month – apply that to your financial goals, starting with debts (after your emergency fund, but this is where we hope the $1,000 challenge over the past 4 weeks has helped so we can now jump right into other goals).
Those in debt, use the downloads from last week’s challenge, particularly the second download that prioritizes your debts to show the order you plan to pay them off. So, if you paid off any, include them on that line on the second page of the budget, if you paid towards any, write it down on the “paid toward” line! Show the total amount paid! YAY!!
AND… as you are doing this, being faithful to sticking to the budget, and doing your 2% spending decrease and 2% income increase… these numbers are going to have some HUGE positive impacts on your finances very shortly. It is a successful, incremental change that becomes a lifestyle that will help you reach your goals without much pain! IT’S AWESOME!!
Ok, now to move on, we are just so excited for you that we can hardly contain ourselves. 🙂
The second half of the second page is a note-taking, continuous goal setting spot!
- First, write your ongoing goals. You want to remind and encourage yourself each month!
- Next, are you saving for something special? This is where to put that goal – what is it, how much, when do you hope to make this purchase. We do want to note, DON’T GO INTO MORE DEBT… but instead, if there is a vacation, a new vehicle, home improvements, etc. this is where you want to list those goals and work towards saving for them without going into more debt. BUT we also want to encourage you, if you do have debts, do the best that you can to set aside as many extras as possible. These extra purchases are only going to slow your debt-free goals down. There is a time-period of sacrifice and this is one of them. But, there may very well be some special things you want to also save for while paying off debts. Just realize your limitations.
- Finally, as people, families, homeowners (or home borrowers :)), life, kids, education, etc. – there are needs that come up! For example, it is nearly impossible for a family to live life without a vehicle. This may be an upcoming need that you know is on the forefront. That needs to go there. Now note, that you do not need a big, brand new fancy vehicle (if you are in debt or dealing with financial struggles) but something that will get the job done. The difference between a need and a want is sometimes a fine line – you need a vehicle, but what “type” is where the want may come into play. This could be just one example of a possible need. Perhaps there is a medical treatment, an educational need, etc. These go in this spot too!
Well, that is how to start your monthly budget and get it in place to figure where you are going with your budget!
Put this all together and get the next month’s budget started and figure out your 2% income increase and 2% spending decrease goals and get those written down! We will soon talk about income increase ideas, but just get an idea of what you are shooting for this first month.
*Note, if you are not sure what we are talking about with the 2% increase/decrease, be sure to read up on the article here that explains what it is and how to figure it! Reading and researching was an assignment a few weeks ago during the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge, so if you are not a part of this yet, having these previous steps in place will make this process much smoother – check out how to join the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge here!
How To Get The 12-Month Budget Planner
These budget planners are available as printable downloads. The download comes as a pdf and then you can print the pages and create your planner. There are 3 possible design options as shared above and so you can pick the one you want! The download is sold for $1.99! If you are reading this post, we do have a sale on them for you, making them only $0.99!
Don’t forget to add your coupon code after adding to your cart!
Remember there’s only a short time
to get this special $0.99 price.
|Coupon code: BUDGET
||Coupon code: BUDGET
Coupon code: BUDGET
Need to catch up? Come join us on this challenge from the very beginning by clicking on the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge and sign up to start receiving your automated challenge from the very beginning!
One final thing…we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!
Disclaimer: We are not licenses financial planners. We are only a couple that have been just a hair-breadth away from bankruptcy and found our way out of debt with a goal to now help others. Please make sure to consider any advice given on our site and in this challenge as tips we have used ourselves; they may not work for everyone. If you have questions please make sure to contact a licensed professional.
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