Out of all the personal finance apps and things available I feel that there is one budgeting tool everyone needs; a budget book.
Last Christmas my cousin Alyssa gifted me the Erin Condren PetitePlanner Budget Book. This is the best thing I’ve ever used! It’s something I never knew I needed, which shows how much my cousin gets me.
What is the Budget Book?
The Budget Book is the size of a small journal, making it easy to carry in your purse or work bag. It’s pretty much always with me. Within the book are pages to write down savings goals, daily/monthly purchases, and track debt payoff.
I try to review my expenses every other day to make sure I’ve written down what I’ve spent money on in real time. I’ve used a few budgeting apps before, but nothing made me more compliant than having to physically write out my budget and all purchases.
You don’t need this specific budget book though, as long as you have a designated journal to track your money it’s the same principle.
How to use it
Start with a budget
First off, you may be wondering how to start budgeting. To find out how to create a budget in 6 steps click here.
Once you’ve mapped out your monthly money goals, you can then plug them in to the budget book.
Typically I budget per pay period. Read about zero-based budgeting here.
Write down your savings goal
Come up with a monthly savings goal. At the end of each month revisit this page and write down what you actually saved.
Discover your spending habits
For every purchase you make, write it down. Include the date, where the purchase was made, categorize the purchase, and the price. Add up each category to see what you spend on the most.
Track your debt
Include each loan you have. Every time you make a payment, write down the date, amount, and your new loan total after the payment processes.
Adjust your focus
If you’re like me you’ll fail multiple times trying to stay under budget. Analyze your approach and readjust as needed.
How will this budgeting tool help me?
Carrying around a journal or having to write things down constantly isn’t everyone’s thing. If budgeting apps are your thing, try it out! The important thing is to start becoming aware of your financial habits.
I’m a visual learner, so seeing my money fails and financial wins on paper is encouraging to me. Discover your learning style here.
I also don’t usually encourage people to purchase things, but if you’re in need of a budgeting tool I highly recommend the Erin Condren PetitePlanner Budget Book!
- What budgeting tool works best for you?
- Start to map out your savings goals, spending habits, and track debt payoff each month