Tag Archives: Budget

How to Set Up a Spending Plan

The word budget feels like a four letter word to some. Just the thought of going through expenses and figuring out how get them all organized is overwhelming. Then there’s all the time involved. Most of us don’t have time to eat a proper lunch, much less figure out a budget. 

Or maybe the idea of a budget seems too rigid and constraining. The free spirit doesn’t want any hard rules about spending money. But everyone needs a budget. Even the free spirit will find her wings quickly clipped when she runs out of cash. 

In truth, a spending plan doesn’t restrict you. When managed properly it sets you free to live the life you want. And it doesn’t have to be time consuming. Here’s a spending plan that can work for everyone.

Simple Budget Spreadsheet

All you need for a budget is a simple spreadsheet. You can use Excel, Open Office or Google Docs. To help you along, here is a simple Google Docs Budget Spreadsheet. What you will do is open the spreadsheet and save it to your own computer by clicking “File” and choosing the download option that works best for you. Once you save it to your own computer, you are ready to go. 

Enter the amount of income in the appropriate box, including all your jobs, side jobs, etc. Enter any interest you earn on accounts or investments in the next line. The spreadsheet will total the income for you automatically. 

The next section will be for your recurring expenses. List each expense following the example of the spreadsheet. Include rent or mortgage, utilities, cable bill, loan payments, kids’ expenses, etc. If you like, break the expenses down into categories that make sense for you. 

Now you need to estimate what your other expenses might be. Things that change month by month, such as groceries, entertainment, etc. Estimate on the high end. If you find them going down over time, you can lower your estimates. Again, the spreadsheet will total it up for you. 


How Much Should Your Expenses Be?

The spreadsheet will also calculate the percentage of your expenses compared with your income. The idea is to keep pecking away at your expenses until your expenses fall below 60% of your income. 

The other 40% should be divided into four categories: 10% for retirement, 10% for long-term savings (retirement), 10% for short-term savings (emergency expenses). The last 10% is all yours to do with as you please. Ideally, you would use that to pay down your credit until you have no monthly credit card bills. Now was that so hard? 


Controlling Your Cash

If you don’t trust yourself to stay within your budget, you could try a cash filing system. A recipe box and index cards work well for this one. Divide the recipe box into 31 days with the index cards, each label with the day of the month. Then divide you remaining cash into each portion of the 31 day file. Let’s say that you have 30 dollars for each divider. At the beginning of the day, you remove the 30 dollars. That is what you have available to spend on that day. Do not take money from another divider until that day has arrived. If you have left over money at the end of the day, put it behind the next day’s index card for tomorrow. For this to work, you must never take from the next day.  

This gives you the feeling of freedom by always putting cash in your pocket. If you put the day’s leftover at the end of the month each time, you’ll see firsthand how much you have to spend towards something special at the end of the month. You can leave the money there or spend it as you please.


Jessica Bosari writes for the money-saving site, Billeater.com. The site is devoted to helping people reduce expenses, save money and find great deals. Pay Billeater a visit for more  budgeting and saving tips!

7 Free Printable Budget Worksheets

Budgeting is the road map for your finances. It is the essential tool to help you and your family find your way out of debt and to build a solid foundation.

Establishing a budget and sticking to it is not easy, but it is the best way to be in control of your finances. My family knows from experience, as we are climbing out of $86,000 of debt.

Here are 7 free printable budget worksheets – from the household budget, planning for a wedding, buying a home, etc… – to help you make sure your money is going toward the expenses that matter the most.

Monthly Budget Worksheet

household budget

This household budget worksheet is adapted from David Bach’s book, Smart Women Finish Rich and helps you determine what you spend monthly in the eight most important categories.

Click here to download or print: http://www.moneyfunk.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/SpendingLog-Budget.pdf


Debt Snowball Worksheet

debt snowball

Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover is a financial lifesaver in our family (highly recommend it for those starting out on their debt free journey). Christ Community Church has a worksheet to help you calculate that debt snowball plan.

To download or print: http://www.cccomaha.org/resources/docs/debtSnowballWorksheet.pdf


Student Budget Worksheet:

student budget

American Student Assistance offers students a budget worksheet to track monthly earnings and
expenditures and keep their loan payments on track.

Download or Print: http://www.asa.org/pdfs/borrower/asa_budget-worksheet_pdf.pdf


Retirement Budget Worksheet

retirement budget

Most people don’t take the time to develop a complete picture of their annual living expenses for retirement. GuideStone provids this budget worksheet to get you started.

Download or Print: http://www.guidestoneretirement.org/~/media/retirement/flash/prepforret/retbudgetedit%20pdf.ashx


Christmas Budget Worksheet

christmas budget

Alternatives for Simple Living has a simple-to-use worksheet for planning the holiday budget. Includes taking account for food, decorations, and social events, too.

Download or Print: http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/information/archives/PDF/ChristmasBudget.pdf


Buy a Home Worksheet

home buying

Motley Fool, I can’t say enough good things about them. Mix a bit of Dave Ramsey with the Fool and you have my complete financial package. The Fool offers this great Home Buying Worksheet to determine how much home you can really afford.

Download or Print: http://www.fool.com/homecenter/worksheets/buyahome.pdf


Wedding Budget Worksheet

wedding budget

Let’s not forget Weddings – with their stunning beauty and joyous emotions it is easy to be swept away with the finances in planning for such an occasion. Simple Living has a great budget worksheet for planning that special day.

Download or Print:http://www.realsimple.com/static/pdfs/budget_worksheet.pdf


Just a thought…

Isn’t this a gorgeous picture???

Mom’s Budget Files wrote an article yesterday about Christmas is On a Budget This Year. It got me thinking about this ‘economic crisis’ and Christmas.

Most people are on a budget this year. But, then again most people have a budget each year. This year, the budget has tightened strings. But to me, this is not particularily a bad thing. And this is why:

  1. We are only paying for Christmas with cash on hand and not racking up the credit cards. Hence, NO NEW DEBT
  2. It’s actually making me creative by providing gifts from ‘the heart’ – homebaked goods, crafted items, etc…
  3. I am not rushing to finish things. I can relax and spend Christmas as it should be. I can sit with my daughter to make paperchains or bake cookies.
  4. I do not feel guilty this year about not buying gifts for everyone, because we are all in the same situation. This actually takes off a lot of stress for me & the family
  5. Because of #2, we are actually able to truly enjoy being with family because they are family. It’s no surrounded with the ‘gimmies’, but instead with little bit of extra toppings to make a great dinner for some family and friends
  6. This ‘economic crisis’ actually instills many people, such as myself, to give to the community more and help out our fellows. I don’t see the negative in this.
  7. I actually see the opportunity of being in an ‘economic crisis’ and plan to make genuine warm felt Christmases a thing of norm for my family.

I feel like this time of hardship is bringing people back to our roots. Allowing us to recenter ourselves for the better.We are recentering to realize that non-material possessions actually rank in higher than the materialistic glitz -n- glam. I see communities taking action to help others. We are becoming close knit again. In the long run, I believe we are helping the smaller businesses and/or smaller positive ecofriendly processes survive as the big businesses dissolve.

Of course, these are my thoughts on the situation. I actually think the economic crisis has the definite potential to be a blessing in disguise.

What’s your take on the ‘economic situation’? Love to hear your thoughts.

Have a happy, happy weekend, y’all!

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Tools of Success

Give a girl a camera and she takes beautiful self portraits (and thousands of other pics of little things around the house: her stuffed animals, pictures on the wall, the inside of her closet, the ceiling fan, etc…). Treasures, Memories that will last a lifetime to warm my heart.

Give a woman a teal notebook with budget sheets and she will one day make her family financially free. To be able to travel the world at luxury, spend more time with family and friends, lift the emotional weight off the shoulders, and simply… be happier. This too will last a lifetime.

Personal tools of success.

I am realizing, as I am writing this blog note, that personal tools of success cause a positive lifetime reaction. A camera & daughter equal years of memories. A book combined with paper and pencil is something that allow me to live years of gratitude.

And I am realizing, these tools don’t need to cost a lot. That it is not necessary to have all the bells and whistles. We have fulfilled our lives with complexities, but I am thinking that it is not necessary. Simplicity.

I have a small garden, to which I planted from seed. I nurtured the ground and it blossomed with time and care. To which, I made some fantastic zuchinni-pineapple muffins (they are really very good).

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that ‘Less is more’ and ‘simplicity’ may be the keys to my family’s future success.

What are your tools of success? I would love to hear about your dearest goal and what tool(s) you use to bring you closer to fulfilling your goal. Or how you did meet your goal.

Becoming a Medicine Woman

I have $1818.50 Positive Remainder Monthly Cash Flow.

Sounds feasible? Not really.

Let’s divide it by the typical 4 weeks.
That equals to $454.50 a week for groceries, gas, & entertainment.

Constricting. I can be a thrify grocery spender, but GAS… well, I can’t really be thrifty with that. We know all Americans are feeling the pain at the pump. My husband’s car takes $60 dollars to fill and mine takes $34 (used to be $18 to fill it when I first bought it). While my husband drives 12 miles to work, each way, I drive 40 miles away (80 miles round trip).

So getting back to $454.50 sounding feasible. I am ready for a 60K tune up. That’s about $350 – $400. This doesn’t account for my monthly auto insurance payments restarting in September, kid’s clothes, Christmas fund… This doesn’t account for medical fees or prescription costs for the family (sarcastically speaking, I think I will become a medicine woman). The weekly positive cash flow doesn’t account for a safety net. What to do? It’s gonna take some rough riding. My next step: Completing a budget & build an emergency fund.
Did I tell you that my family is starting to feel the crunch?
My husband is becoming quite cranky.
He’ll survive. If we play our cards right.

With that end note: Answer me this: What does it take to fill your gas tank?