A new financial year means it time to do some financial planning for the year ahead! Some people might find budgeting boring but I quite enjoy doing this each year so I can look back on the previous year’s goals and set goals for the new financial year (like adding to my travel fund for future trips!)
Before you start putting cute stickers in your planner or entering numbers onto a printable, spreadsheet or whatever means you’re going to use to track your expenses, you should first make sure you aren’t missing any expenses:
50 expenses to track in your planner
- Car expenses such as fuel, parking, licence
- Public transport
- Ride share
- Netflix and other TV / movie streaming app (e.g. Stan, Amazon Prime Video)
- Spotify or other music streaming app
- Online learning e.g. Creative Live subscription
- Gym membership
- Clothes, shoes, jewellery, handbags
- Travel / vacations
- Education – School fees, uniforms, field trips, stationery, tuition fees
- Eating out
- Children’s expenses e.g. extracurricular, tutoring
- Childcare and / or babysitter
- Home and contents insurance
- Income protection insurance
- Car insurance
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Homewares, linen & knick knacks
- Beauty & personal skincare, makeup
- Movie tickets
- Phone bill
- Power bill
- Water bill
- Council rates
- Body corporate / strata fees
- Home cleaning
- Garbage disposal, tip fees
- Doctor visits
- Home repairs & maintenance
- Dry cleaning
- Pet expenses – vet, food, pet insurance
- Corporate memberships
- Hobbies e.g. books, stationery supplies 🙂
- Sports memberships
- Personal grooming – haircuts, waxing, laser treatments
- Sundry – lottery tickets
- Banking fees
- Events e.g. concerts
- Charity donations
Note: I don’t consider mortgage repayments, car loan repayments, credit card or the like as expenses. I categorise these as debts but you could add them to your expense list if you prefer.
Now that you’ve compiled all your expenses, it’s time to categorise them into their payment frequency:
Now you know what you need to track and at what payment frequencies, you can decide the best method for keeping track of it all.
Different methods for tracking your spending
Just because you might be using a paper planner or bullet journal for everyday life planning, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for budgeting and tracking spending. I used to budget on paper because I was using paper for planning everything else but over the past few years I’ve switched up what I plan where. I went into more detail about this in this post: 10 Things I don’t put in my planner (and why)
Here are some different methods for budget planning to consider:
1. Direct debit
A printable list (or even just use a sticky note to list them out).
Related post: Printable budget binder/finance binder (editable)
2. Planner stickers
If you don’t have many expenses or you just want to track those you don’t already have set-up on auto-pilot to direct debit when they fall due, then I’d use planner stickers. A few years ago I was using a monthly calendar for budgeting and budgeting only. I wouldn’t put anything else on that calendar so it was really clear when expenses were due, it didn’t get lost among events, due dates etc.
Plus if you color code your planner and color code your expenses it can get confusing having all of those colors on the one page e.g. red could mean an expense is due but it could also be the color you’ve allocated to appointments.
More tips & ideas on budgeting using your planner in this post: How to color code bill paying in your planner (7 different ways)
Some of my favorite budgeting stickers:
- Carpe diem
- Happy Planner budgeting sticker books
- My printable budgeting planner stickers (since they’re rainbow they’re perfect for color coding)
- Paper House Life Organized budget stickers
Not planner stickers, but the Happy Planner budgeting washi tape is cute if you want to cover stuff up in an expired planner you’re re-purposing for budgeting.
Related post: 7 functional ways to use an expired planner
If you have a lot of expenses that are taking up a lot of space in your planner, you might want to use a separate page / printable. For example, a bill tracker. I have a free bill tracker in the printables library which you can download here (existing subscribers can login to download here).
See this post for a tutorial on how to resize any printable for any planner.
If you don’t want to use a printable, or rule up a page layout in your bullet journal, more and more planners these days are bringing out entire budget planners (See this post for a roundup), little budget booklets to accompany a planner or add on pages that they’ll bind into the planner for you (e.g. Plum Paper offer this).
4. Digital Planner
If you’re using a digital planner but see a cute printable you wish you could add … you can! See this post for a tutorial.
The main pro for using a digital planner is that you only need to set up your budgeting pages once and then you can just duplicate for each month. All of the information you’ve written on the page will appear on the duplicated version so there’s no need to re-write the same stuff over and over.
Tutorial on how to add printable planner stickers into a digital planner is in this post.
Since you already carry your phone everywhere with you, apps are very convenient to log your spending after you exit the shop (and before you lose the receipt!)
I don’t use apps as I cannot stand doing things on a small iPhone screen (plus I can type / do things way faster on a laptop). There are always multiple menus / sub-menus on apps. I want to see everything quickly and easily all at once on a big screen.
There are plenty of free apps to choose from which hopefully meet your needs because most of the paid apps are on a subscription basis which really does add up over time.
I used to do budgeting on paper but it took too long to manually type everything into a calculator so I switched to using spreadsheets.
I prefer to use Microsoft Excel but if you’re budgeting with a partner or want to be able to access it from anywhere, you can load Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in Google Sheets (free online tool that’s very similar to Microsoft Word) and then access it from anywhere, on any device.
Since expenses are paid at different frequencies e.g. my power bill is quarterly but I grocery shop weekly and pay insurances annually, I made this spreadsheet to calculate all the payment frequencies for all expenses. So it doesn’t matter if expenses are due at different frequencies, you can see how much money you need to set aside weekly, fortnightly, quarterly and annually to pay for them.
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
If you’d like a copy of my budget calculator spreadsheet, it’s available in my shop! (click here)
I then use the numbers from the budget calculator to transfer them into my budgeting spreadsheets. I put the forecast values (from the budget calculator) in red font. Then when I’ve actually spent the money / paid the bill, I change the numbers to grey font.
More planning tips
- Planning on a budget: If I only had $50 to spend on planner supplies, this is what I’d buy
- 10 Things people often forget to check before buying a planner
- 50 Reminders to Put in Your Planner or Bullet Journal
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