2017 has officially rolled in, and there are so many things I want to accomplish this year!
I don’t usually make resolutions – because honestly, who actually follows through with those? – but I do set goals for myself at the beginning of each year. My first goal for this year is to start an all cash budget, which means I have to make a budget binder to track all of my finances.
I know what you’re thinking – all cash budget?
Yep, that’s right! I have a terrible habit of not keeping track of how much money I am spending on non-essentials, and I end up having little to no savings at the end of each week because of it. So after reading a few different budgeting blogs, I decided this would be the perfect solution for me. Now I can limit how much I spend on fun, and I can keep my junk food habit in check when I go to buy groceries. No more overspending for this girl!
Most of the posts I read on other blogs also included free printables for creating a budget, but I found that none of them really fit my specific financial situation. Basically I just needed to create my own financial planner that incorporated some of their ideas in a way that worked for me. So I did! And you can even download them for free at the links below.
So what does my budget binder consist of? Glad you asked!
My first section is financial goals that I want to accomplish for the year.
This section is crucial because it will hold you accountable for the progress you make toward your goals throughout the year. For me, I want to pay off certain debts and have a solid amount built up in savings. Telling myself I’m going to do that is one thing, but documenting it and recording action steps toward achieving those goals is what will ultimately push me toward success.
The second part of my binder is a bill pay checklist to keep track of monthly bills and whether or not they have been paid over the course of the year.
Obviously I can’t pay all of my bills with cash, so this page will help me keep track of how much money needs to be deposited in my account to pay bills online, as well as which day of the month I need to put the money in there.
Next comes the monthly budget section, which breaks down where all of my money will be going.
Personally, I like to automatically take 10% of my paycheck each week and place it into my savings envelope, and I have also chosen to limit my grocery budget to 10% of my income. This leaves me only 80% of my income for all other essentials – the regular expenses. I have made two cash envelopes for my regular expenses (rent/utilities and other bills). Once I take the essentials out, I split my leftover cash 50/50 between gas money and fun money.
If you’ve got multiple accounts with unpaid balances (student loans anyone?), the outstanding debts sheet is a great way to keep track of what you still owe, your minimum payments, and a goal date for paying it off.
As someone who has multiple credit cards, a car loan, and so much student debt I can’t even see the end of my payments, this page is going to be my best friend. By next year when I make a new sheet, I’ll be able to see how drastically some of the balances have decreased, and see some of them drop off completely.
The last page I created is for sinking funds, which is just a fancy phrase for “savings toward specific items”.
A big screen TV, new computer, emergency funds, house down payment, wedding – anything that requires a good chunk of savings. The purpose is to save the money for a purchase rather than taking out another loan and having to pay more in interest. This is a really great concept that allows you to put specific portions of your savings toward certain items, rather than just drawing out of a big pot for one thing and leaving no money in savings for something else.
Now that I’ve given you the run-down, you can go forth and begin planning your own financial goals and budgets for 2017! And don’t forget to leave your own budgeting suggestions in the comments below.
Happy New Year!