Unless you’re a millionaire, you’ve probably worried about money before.
Whether a sudden expense has come up or you’re wondering where all of your money seems to be going, there are so many reasons why you might be concerned about your financial habits.
Do you want to make better financial decisions and stop overspending? Have you ever had a monthly budget before?
If not, it’s time to create one!
A monthly budget template will help you keep track of your money so that, barring unforeseen circumstances, you don’t have to worry about paying the bills.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to use a monthly budget template and why it is important for everyone.
Creating a Monthly Budget
Creating a budget is incredibly important when tracking your income and expenses because it allows you to see exactly where your money is going.
A monthly budget will help you understand how much spending money you have left at the end of each month so that you don’t run out of cash for the bills due every month.
If you’ve never created a budget before, it can seem pretty overwhelming, but it’s not as bad as it seems!
Budgeting can be time-consuming, but it’s pretty straightforward when you have all of the information you need!
How Do You Create a Monthly Budget?
Making a personal monthly budget can be tedious, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be able to set one up in no time! There are a few different ways you can create a budget, so we’ll cover those first.
There are tons of apps you can download to help with budgeting (some of them might be free, but keep in mind that with apps, you often get what you pay for… so if it’s free, it might not always have all of the tools and features you want).
A lot of phone budgeting applications act as an expense tracker and will help you plug your expenses into several different categories that you set up.
If you like the idea of being able to track your income and expenses from your phone, browse through your app store to find one you like.
Make sure you find one that you can manage well because sometimes it’s hard to control an app that seems to have a mind of its own!
If you like using planners and writing things out by hand, a budget planner might work best for you.
A lot of budget planners act as budget templates and will help you keep track of your spending and financial accounts.
Browse the internet or any local stores that sell lots of planners or notebooks to find a budget planner that you like and that has the type of budget template that makes sense to you.
Budgeting Planner Printables:
Creating Your Own Spreadsheets
If you truly want to customize your budget to fit your lifestyle and your finances, you can always make your own budget spreadsheet from scratch!
You could try using an Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets) to make your monthly budget.
By using Excel spreadsheets or Google Sheets on your computer, you can compile your own data and organize everything exactly how you like it in an Excel table that makes sense to you.
(Excel might be a good choice if you want to make sure you can access your budget spreadsheet even if you’re internet isn’t working well.)
Using Budgeting Templates
Budget templates are one of the easiest ways to make a budget because they are already laid out for you and you just have to fill in the blanks!
A budget worksheet (or template) is usually a single page that can be applied consistently each month to track your earnings and spending. So make sure that it will record all the data you need it to while working on a monthly basis.
You can find monthly budget templates online that are often completely free. With the right template, making a monthly budget is as easy as plugging in some numbers and spending categories!
Download a free budget worksheet or budgeting template online if you’re having trouble creating your own budgeting spreadsheet.
Shop Budget Templates:
Step-By-Step Guide for Making a Budget
Now that you know where you want to create your budget (whether on an app, in a notebook, or on your computer), let’s go through the steps you need to take to actually make it.
1. Gather Necessary Documents
The first step in creating a budget is to gather all of the documents you might need.
- a past paycheck or paystubs
- W-2s (or any other forms you use for taxes)
- records of any additional sources of income (like from investing or additional jobs, tips, and services)
- mortgage or rent statements
- utility bills
- credit card bills
- car payment records (if you currently have a car payment)
- statements or receipts from any other bills or expenses
Once you’ve got all of the necessary documents gathered, it’s time to get started on setting up your personal monthly budget!
2. Figure Out Your Total Monthly Income
The next step is to calculate your monthly income.
For monthly budgets, this is typically the amount of money you earn in one month from all sources like a salary or earnings from any investing you’ve done.
If you don’t know your total income off the top of your head, make sure to look it up – that’s why you gathered all of those documents in the first place.
To really create a properly customized budget for you and your family, you want to make sure everything is factored in, down to the penny if you can!
If your income fluctuates each month due to your profession (this is usually true for freelancers, business owners, or self-employed services), try to write down the amount you typically earn on your lowest earning month. Write down the base pay that you can always safely assume you’ll earn. That way, you are working with a budget that can be applied every month, even if your income varies.
3. Calculate Your Monthly Expenses
Once you know how much monthly income you have to work with, then it’s time to calculate your monthly expenses!
You can do this by taking out what you spend each month and breaking them down into budget categories.
Some of the budget categories you might need are:
- monthly rent or mortgage payment
- monthly utilities, such as electricity and water bills
- car loan payments (if applicable)
- phone bill
- internet bill
- monthly food costs
- insurance (if it’s not already deducted from your salary)
- loans of any kind
- add in any other necessary expenses like childcare or transportation costs
Anything in that category is a necessary expense. Those are things that must be paid first.
You’ll also want another budget category with things you might not need, but you enjoy, such as:
- eating out
Once you know how much money you can allocate to each category in your budget, add them up.
4. Make Adjustments to Spending
Now that you’ve totaled up all of your finances and expenses, look at the total of what you’re spending (aka money going out) versus the total of your earnings (aka the money you have coming in).
If the expense total comes out higher than what you have left after calculating, then you need to try to cut costs in some areas.
Start with entertainment and eating out, or the places where you don’t have to spend as much. While it might not be fun, deciding to eat at home more or not go to the movies as often can really help you not overspend.
If you need to, look at the items in your necessary category, and see where you can cut there.
Obviously, you can’t really cut down on rent or loans, but are you paying for high-speed internet and you could drop down to a cheaper plan? Could you switch phone providers to save on some costs?
Take a look at your budget and see where you can find any savings.
On the other hand, if your total at the end comes out lower than what you’re earning, you have a few options!
You can put the extra amount in savings, look into investing, or pay off any debt you have more quickly.
Shop Savings Trackers:
Stick to Your Budget
Once you have your budget created, stick to it!
Taking the time to track your money and find out how much you are saving (or not saving) will not only help you now but down the line as well.
Whether you are using a free budget worksheet, a planner, or an Excel budget spreadsheet, you now have the tools to manage your expenses.
Abiding by your budget will help lower any stress you have regarding overspending and finances!