Promoting frugality as a way to live a simple and prosperous life.
Welcome to TFF’s simple budget toolbox!
Here are three essential documents in order to keep a somewhat orderly household budget. First remember: no one is perfect when it comes to budgeting. Budgeting is messy, it’s real, it’s not perfect. But some budgeting is better than no budgeting at all! Keep all that in mind.
I prefer the good old-fashioned paper way of budgeting rather than online budgeting. Everyone has different preferences, however. If you prefer paper budgeting, these documents are for you!
Click on the next three documents to print out and adapt them to your own lifestyle/bills/needs.
These pages came via inspiration from Dave Ramsey and Gail Vaz-Oxlade, both tough personal finance coaches. I’ve adapted Dave’s budgeting sheets to better fit my lifestyle, but you can adapt them to fit yours. Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not have as many, or you may have more categories/debts/bills, so just look at these sheets as a guide to get you going–that’s how I started.
Below you will find SAMPLES of the Monthly Bill Schedule and Allocated Spending Plan to show you how to use the documents. Below the samples will be an empty sheet to print out for your use and adaptation. (As for the Debt Paydown Sheet, it’s easy enough to do this with pencil and paper depending on your debt list, so there is no blank sheet provided.) ~Marilyn, TFF
Essential Document #1: Your Debt Paydown Worksheet.
Read more on the Debt Snowball process in any of Dave Ramsey’s books or online at Daveramsey.com.
Sample (click on document for larger image):
Essential Document #2: Your Monthly Payment Schedule
This document below proves invaluable. It may surprise you that your bills do not automatically come at the first or 31st of the month! Many come in the middle at odd times, and you sort of forget about them. With this sheet (which I refer to all the time!), you have a better sense of what’s coming up next. For quarterly payments, just note those at the top of the sheet so you don’t forget them. Then, you’ll have a better idea of what’s coming up so you won’t be so shocked when your life insurance quarterly bill comes in the mail. (“Oh, I didn’t think that was due so soon–yikes!” — our common inner dialogue when it comes to bills…) Simply insert the day the bill comes due or has to be paid and refer to it often when it comes to budgeting.
Top document is a sample, second is a blank payment schedule for you to print out and use for your own bills (click on documents for larger images):
Essential Document #3: Your BUDGET aka: Allocated Spending Plan
Below, you’ll find a generalized, adapted version of one of Dave Ramsey’s Allocated Spending Plans taken from his excellent book, The Total Money Makeover. It took me ages to adapt it to my own needs, but it’s well worth the exercise because you will then know where every dollar has gone, should go, and will go in the future. But remember, life happens and there it’s not always neat and orderly. You have no idea how “man-handled” my monthly sheets are with notes, erasures, cross-outs, etc. But as I always say, SOME BUDGETING IS BETTER THAN NONE AT ALL!
I typically keep all these documents in one file, with my receipts to log in before they get filed. I cross-check my budget with my online banking accounts to make sure I captured just about every purchase. However those little $1 purchases tend to disappear unless you are diligent in recording them.
Below is a sample week for you to see how it goes. Print it out and replicate it to what works best for your needs. I keep my sheets on a Word document for easy tweaking.
So, here’s what you do to create a budget–the steps take time, but it’s worth it:
1. Gather about 6 months of bank statements (paper or online) to see where you’ve been spending money.
2. Start to plug in amounts into categories on the budget below.
3. Plug in your bills from the Monthly Payment Schedule worksheet above.
4. Keep tweaking amounts, categories, until you have found what works for you.
5. Print out sheets so you can use them monthly. It’s great to start fresh every month!!
Here is a sample page 1 (click on document to see it larger):
Here is a sample page 2 (click on document to see it larger):
Below, find blank sheets (page one and two) for you to print out and adapt to your lifestyle:
…and page 2: