Are you having trouble staying on top of your finances? When you’ve got a lot going on, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. And unfortunately, financial progress is often one of the first things to go. Sometimes having a plan in place can make all the difference.
Spending Calendar Options
There’s no one right way to set up a spending calendar. And thanks to technology, we have tons of options at our fingertips. Let’s talk about a few of the calendar formats available to you:
- Paper planner: A good old fashioned paper planner is a great option for setting up your budget and spending.
- Printables & Templates: There are plenty of free and paid budget templates and printables available online, many of which are specifically designed for budget calendars.
- Digital calendar: If you prefer digital tools, then a digital calendar like Google Calendar can be an effective tool for your budget.
- Budget calendar app: Budget calendars have become such a popular concept that companies are now making apps to help you manage yours.
How to Create a Spending Calendar
So you’ve decided you want to set up a spending calendar. How do you actually get started? There are plenty of decisions to be made, such as whether you’ll go paper or digital, and what goals you’ll include on your calendar.
First, you’re going to make a list. Write down all your monthly expenses and organize them by their due date (or payday):
- Same date, same amount payments like your housing, health insurance, phone bill
- Same date, varying amount payments like utilities and credit cards
- Varying date, varying amount payments like groceries and gasoline
- Semi-annual, infrequent payments like homeowner’s insurance, vehicle registration, website subscriptions, quarterly insurance, and gym memberships
- Income amounts and paydays
- Specific savings – emergency fund, medical deductibles, car savings, 401K, birthday and holiday savings, etc.
The calendar is going to track your spending IN ADVANCE, helping you save for future expenses rather than being financially surprised by them.
Ask Yourself Habit Questions
Whenever you have the urge to spend money ask yourself these questions:
Is it a want or a need?
Can I wait?
Does this align with my values or it’s just a trend?
Is there room in my budget?
Continue to Update Your Calendar
Set a notice at the end of each month to review your calendar for changes and adjustments. Then make those for the upcoming monthly calendar.
If you get paid multiple times a month, it’s essential to plan ahead. Think about writing out your budget calendar a couple of months in advance. This will give you the ability to save for an upcoming event, holiday, or appointment.
Life is stressful enough, but your budget doesn’t have to be. Scheduling your payments, tracking your expenses, and building up your savings frees your mind from worrying about what’s coming up next. And when life does throw something unexpected your way, you’ll be prepared.
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