As you hopefully know, a monthly calendar is an invaluable tool for keeping track of important dates and events. Many of us even rely on calendars to keep our whole lives in order. But have you ever thought about adding your budget to your calendar?
I’m sure you know how important it is to create a budget. But, at the same time, creating a budget can be daunting. And respecting your budget even more. I can tell you that when I started budgeting, I almost gave up out of frustration.
Despite this, living paycheck to paycheck is no way to live – which is true for 7 out of 10 people. It’s stressful and keeps you from achieving your goals. Although a budget won’t completely solve your financial problems, it can help. After all, you can track your financial goals, track your bills, and manage your cash flow with a budget calendar.
In short, if your desire is financial success, you need a budget calendar. And, to help you get started on the right foot, here’s how to set yourself up for financial success using a budget calendar.
What is a budget calendar?
Simply put, a budget calendar is a calendar that tracks payments and due dates. Specifically, it helps estimate the amount of money coming in and going out each month. Your existing calendar, whether paper or digital, will work just fine. But there are more than enough apps and templates designed specifically for budget calendars.
Whichever calendar you use, it should contain the following;
- Income. You should mark your calendar once you know when your next paycheck is coming, or at least when to expect it.
- Invoices. Make a list of regular expenses. Examples would be rent and credit card, and cell phone bills. Don’t forget to also include infrequent bills. It could be semi-annual car insurance payments or an annual subscription to Disney Plus.
- Savings contributions. It is possible to save for an emergency fund, a vacation or a car deposit by regularly transferring funds to an account.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to record small or irregular transactions as well. Even so, it can be difficult to budget for every cup of coffee or every grocery bill estimate.
Why a budget calendar is important
Did you know that only 30% of Americans have a long-term financial plan in place? As a result, we can control our income, save money more efficiently, and ensure that our money is not overspent on a budget.
Plus, if you want to escape a living paycheck, having a budget is key.
The good news? Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to find a budgeting style that works for you. You’ll be more likely to stay on track to meet your financial goals when you do.
Choosing a budget calendar will benefit you in the following ways;
- Assess your income
- Plan your expenses more accurately by tracking your expenses
- Better understand your living expenses
- Identify where you can eliminate unnecessary costs
- You’ll be able to tackle any debt faster
- Make a plan for the future
The advantage of using calendars is that they help you see when things are due. More than a quarter of millennials had their checking accounts overdrawn, but a calendar can be a solution to dealing with late payment anxiety. Your calendar will help you avoid late payments. And in my opinion, a calendar has a much easier learning curve than most budgeting software.
How to make a budget calendar
I hope you are sold on a budget calendar because of the benefits listed above. So how do you actually set up a schedule for your budget? You will first need to choose the type of calendar to use.
You need a blank calendar, and it could just be an old-fashioned paper calendar if you prefer. But a number or calendar app will probably work best for you. For example, if you already use Google Calendar, you can create a separate budget calendar. You can then access this calendar whenever and wherever you want.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to create a budget calendar, you can use a budget calendar template. 101 Planners, My Money Coach and On Planners are worth exploring.
However, there are dedicated calendar budgeting apps you can try. Some suggestions would be Virtual Wallet, CalendarBudget or Moneydance.
What should be included in your budget calendar
Budget calendars are useful no matter what your budget or what tools you use. Regardless of your budgeting method, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, here’s what should be included in your budget calendar.
Be sure to include the dates you receive your paychecks when preparing your schedule. If you’re self-employed and don’t know when your checks will arrive, a budget calendar can still be helpful.
Either way, if your income fluctuates, keep a close eye on the rest of your wallet to know when bills are due. It can also help you get an idea of your overall financial health. Throughout the year, you can view past calendars so you know when to spend more and less money.
Note the due date of any invoice on the calendar. Tracking your spending will help you avoid impulsive and unnecessary spending before a bill is due. Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule a time in your calendar to periodically review your bills. For example, you may have paid off a debt or your electricity bill has changed since the last time you checked.
Knowing when your bills are due will help you avoid common financial mistakes. For example, have you ever forgotten to pay a bill on the due date? Having your bills listed on a calendar with an alert can also help avoid overspending since you know you have enough to cover your fixed expenses.
Here is another advantage. I noticed that the majority of monthly bills fell in the first two weeks of the month. For some people, that’s not a big deal. But, if you have irregular income or live paycheck to paycheck, it can be stressful.
When you see when each of your invoices is due, you can develop an action plan, such as calling each company and requesting a more even distribution. You can also save a little more each pay period if you split your bills so you can more easily manage other expenses like groceries and gas.
Write down the days you automatically withdraw money from your bank account on your budget calendar. It doesn’t matter if that financial goal is to invest in a retirement plan, college fund, or emergency savings. If you don’t save regularly, you should also designate a specific day as your savings day.
Special events and holidays.
Depending on the time of year, each month will be different. Budget calendars should include special occasions, holidays and birthdays. Saving money for a family dinner or buying a gift for a baby shower will help you remember to budget for these expenses.
Design elements for a budget calendar
By incorporating the correct design elements into your schedule, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of sticking to it. Additionally, visuals can be used to make your calendars more visually appealing, as well as effective tools.
Choose the right size.
Make it easy to stick to your budget schedule by choosing a size that’s right for you. No size will work for everyone. For example, let’s say you’re still on the run. He could do not be wise to create a huge budget binder that you have to lug around. Instead, a digital calendar on your phone will work best. Have something light and easy to access.
Use a color code.
Making your budget calendar colorful can help you stay on track more easily. Why? Because specific dates and entries will appear.
Here are some ways to color code your calendar;
- Various paychecks. You can use different colors to identify which bills each paycheck will cover if you get paid multiple times per month.
- To classify expenses according to their type. For example, if you plan to transfer money to savings, you can highlight monthly bills in one color and monthly bills in another.
- Allocation of invoices. If you have a partner or roommate who shares expenses, you can create a common budget calendar and use color coding to track everyone’s responsibilities.
How to maintain your budget
It can be hard to spend time on budgeting, especially if you don’t find the numbers exciting. However, even if you don’t like the numbers, the changes don’t have to be awkward.
In fact, budgeting can be a relatively easy task if you keep a calendar.
Invest an afternoon or morning a month in your budget. Preferably these would be the days you get paid, such as the first or fifteenth of the month. A schedule review with each paycheck allows you to adjust and adapt accordingly.
Regardless of the exact day, it’s easier to maintain a budget calendar if you have a fixed date. If possible, plan a month in advance, but more is better.
If you use a digital calendar or app, you can set reminders so you don’t forget. For example, you can create a recurring calendar reminder for payday so you don’t forget to review your budget. To stay on top of your budget calendar, you can also use calendar reminders. Remember that follow-up is key to the success of your plan.
Do I need a budget calendar?
You may not need to have a budget calendar, but a budget is essential. I congratulate you if you can manage your money in your head, but very few people can budget in their head, even if they are good at math. At the same time, putting money aside for a vacation, a retirement fund, emergency savings, or just for fun is good for you.
But remember that it is crucial to determine how to manage your money according to your needs. One tool you might find useful is a budget calendar. If you want to live well and achieve your goals, you need to have some sort of budget, whether you keep track of the numbers in your head or on a budget calendar — or have your tax professional do it for you.
Image credit: Karolina Grabowska; pexels; Thank you!
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