If you are serious about starting a budget and sticking with it, using this free budget tracker to reach your savings goals is a must.
It’s no secret that I’ve been making saving money my top priority recently. What I don’t talk about as often is how hard it’s been for me to actually begin budgeting and stick with it. Sure, I’ve been through tough times before. I spent a couple of years as a single mom. Anyone single mom knows that you can’t live on one income without being savvy with your money.
Then, I met my husband, and for a long time, we were a two-income household. We had our daughter a few years later, and I decided to stay home with her. When our son came along, things really got tight. Everything had to be budgeted down to the closest nickel. And, I began looking for ways to supplement my hubby’s income with some work-at-home side jobs. Now that I’m making money regularly and my husband is still with the same company where he has worked for almost twelve years, I still have to budget if I want to save money.
Download Your List of 101 Ways to Cut Money From Your Monthly Spending!
It’s easy just to pay bills as they come in and not worry about it as long as there’s money available in the bank. Saving should be part of every household’s monthly budget, though. I guess it should be more that there should be a budget in place. Every family should be saving for something, whether it be smaller, more easily attained savings goals, like saving for a yearly vacation, or larger, long term goals, like saving for retirement.
It’s much easier to talk about saving than actually to do it. I know that as much as anyone. The one thing that has helped me more than anything else when it comes to staying on budget is writing it down. I write down everything. I write down the goal I set for saving money, I write down mine and my husband’s incomes, all our monthly bills, and I write down any money that isn’t a bill. For example, when I grocery shop, I write down how much I spent. If I run up to the dollar store or thrift store and only spend a few dollars, I document it. Knowing everything that’s coming in and going out, helps to know how much I can put in savings.
How to Use This Free Budget Tracker to Reach Your Savings Goals
For this example, I’m going to use the Budget Worksheet and Expense Tracker that I created. Both worksheets are completely free in The Busy Mom Free Printables Library, along with dozens of other worksheets to help save busy moms time and money. You can find out more about the library here.
Know Your Income
Knowing EXACTLY how much you spend is key to finding ways to cut back. I offer a list of 101 Ways to Cut Money from Your Monthly Spending to help find ways to save. Obviously, I don’t expect you to use all of them, but with such a large list it gives you options.
Before you can begin cutting money out of your budget, though, you have to know how much money you’re dealing with. That’s why the first thing to do is figure up your income. If you have a full-time job where you work the same hours each week, that should be pretty easy. You can average your net income over the last 3-6 months if you run your own business. If you work side jobs, you could try using the free Job Assessment Worksheet from The Busy Mom Free Printables Library.
The Job Assessment Worksheet lets you keep up with how long you work on each side job. It also lets you write down how much you make. You can add that income up for each month. I would recommend averaging it like you would if you ran your own business. Since you technically do run your own business.
Now that you have your net income figured out, write it down. This is your starting point. Knowing how much you have coming in is the start of figuring out how much of that precious money you can keep from going out.
Combine All of Your Monthly Debt
Next, comes the daunting task of writing down the amounts of everything you are paying out. You can use the Expense Tracker to write down each debt and then add multiples of the same debt together before writing them in the Budget worksheet.
For example, if you own two vehicles, the Budget Worksheet only has one space for car payments, as well as car insurance. Write down each car payment on the Expense Tracker, then add them together and put the total in the Budget Worksheet. That way you can look at your Budget Worksheet and see everything you owe out. If you need to look more closely at your expenses, you have the Expenses Tracker with everything detailed.
Now that you’ve entered everything, total it all up and enter it at the top of the sheet under Total Monthly Debt. The difference between your monthly income and monthly debt is what you have that you can potentially save each month.
Set A Goal
Knowing how much you’re working with gives you a starting point. The next thing is to set a monthly goal. The goal will give you the incentive to cut your spending as much as you can. Seeing it in writing will hold you accountable for your actions. Sometimes that small accountability is all we need when deciding whether or not to buy something frivolous.
At the bottom, the Budget Worksheet is a place for you to put in how much you’ve saved. Make sure at the end of the month that you come back and fill in these slots. Whether you were able to save more or not, seeing your success, or failure, will give you an incentive for the next month.
Save your sheets for a few months and then look back over them. Seeing how far you come is a very rewarding feeling. Also, seeing how much closer you are toward your goal will help you to stay on track.
I hope these worksheets help you to reach your financial goals. If you have any suggestions for other worksheets I could create to help with budgeting or if you try the worksheets, I’d love to hear about it.