If you have not created a budget yet, or are interested in how I suggest creating a budget, go ahead and check out my first post in the series to get yourself started!
Alright, so you have determined your monthly income, listed out your mandatory and discretionary expenses, and balanced your budget to ZERO for your first month. But how do you keep yourself organized and accountable to creating a new budget each and every month BEFORE the new month begins? What you will need to follow along is a calendar (preferably one that you can write on), your piece of paper or spreadsheet where you listed your monthly income and expenses, and some general knowledge of your expenses on a month to month basis.
The first time you do this will take the longest. Go through each month on your calendar and fill in any birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, or other events where you will be buying a gift. Think of any vacations or out of town trips that you will be taking in the next year that will require eating out, hotel, flights, or other travel expenses and mark those days on the calendar.
Finally, record any and all periodic expenses that you have throughout the year on the month that they are due. If you do not have the exact due date, just write them somewhere in the margins or in the “notes” section of the calendar month. These expenses would include car registration and inspections, vet appointments, property tax, yearly subscriptions, etc.
You are now set up for the YEAR for all known periodic expenses and gifts! Doesn’t that feel amazing?
Your next step is to pull out the calendar month that you are planning for next. Take note of any periodic expenses that you wrote down for this month and fill in any social activities that you know are coming up that might need extra funds budgeted for them. The occasional lunch or dinner out should fall under your normal entertainment or restaurant category.
The last step is to record any birthdays, events, or other periodic expenses from that month into your budget for that month. This will give you a great indication on how much money you will have that month for discretionary spending, debt payoff, or savings. Remember to make sure every dollar is accounted for and you budget down to 0 – no money floating around unassigned.
Getting organized and recording expenses for the year should really help with any “unexpected” expenses popping up like that dreaded car registration fee or your dad’s birthday. Next, you will be ready to decide how to track your spending and manage your budget!
Do you like to use a calendar to organize? Do you think you will try it out to organize your expenses?
FREE 5-Step Budget Workbook!
If you are ready to take control of your finances, get started with my FREE 5-step budget workbook and the spreadsheet I use for my own budget!