Get Started on the Road to Financial Stability With a Monthly Budget

What is your family’s financial plan? If you’re staring at the screen blankly right now or thinking “well, I do drop my loose change in a bowl each night and occasionally I take that to the bank… ” then it’s time to have a talk.

Every family needs a financial plan.

Period. No ifs, ands, or buts.

However, the term financial plan is pretty broad. Let’s start at the beginning. In order to develop a successful financial plan, your family is going to need a budget. To get off on the right foot, try this printable budget planner.

The word “budget” makes most people cringe, but I promise it isn’t nearly as scary or intimidating as you’ve built it up to be in your mind. All a budget is is a document that tracks money coming in, money going out, and money left over. It’s as easy as that.

Now, I’ll admit, tracking this data can be a bit monotonous… it certainly isn’t going to be something you jump up and down about or fight over who gets to do it. However, it isn’t hard. Anyone can create a budget especially with the help of free tools like this printable budget planner.

Whether you use the printable budget planner or not, any budget you create should show you exactly how much money you’re bringing in each month and where/how you’re spending it. It will allow you to see gaps (when you’re spending more than you bring in) and help you pinpoint areas where you could potentially cut back.

TIP: Start with the Excel version of this printable budget planner so that you can customize it to fit your family’s needs.

How to use:

1. Insert your monthly income. If you’re salary, this will be easy. If you’re hourly or work off of commission this can be tricky. Start by taking an average of your pay per month going back a year and then update the actual amount after payday.

TIP: Be sure to include all income here such as any extra money you make from dividends or a second job.

2. List your expenses starting with the most important expenses first.

TIP: To ensure you don’t forget any expenses (ex. renter’s insurance), take a look at your bank/credit card statements for reoccurring bills.

3. Insert values into the “expected” column of the printable budget planner for each expense. Be as accurate as possible. For expenses that vary month by month (ex. electricity) take an average from previous months.

4. After you’ve added all your expenses, if there is money left over, allocate funds to debt repayment, savings plans (ex. retirement), and donation categories.

TIP: Be realistic! It is always better to be able to give more than expected than less. If you can’t meet your goals you may be discouraged from sticking to the printable budget planner.

5. Once the ending balance on the printable budget planner hits “zero”, you’ve allocated all of your money and you’re done budgeting!

Use this printable budget planner as a roadmap for your month. As income comes in and actual expenses come due (ex. bills are paid), update the printable budget planner to reflect “real” (actual) values instead of expected values.