Why is it that at one moment you have lots of money, and then all of a sudden, it’s all gone? And then it happens every month!
Can you relate?
If you’re wondering where your money goes all the time, it’s about time to start tracking what’s really happening with your money!
That’s what this post is all about.
So get your bullet journals ready and make sure to give room for these money pages!
1. Financial Goals
You won’t reach your destination without first defining it. This goes with your finances as well! You won’t make a difference in your money when you don’t know what you want.
So first, set your financial goals. What difference do you want to see in your finances this year?
Maybe it’s to pay your credit card bills completely each month (not just the minimum), reduce your spending by $500 a month, and reach $1,000 savings for emergencies.
Whatever it is… put it on your bullet journal. This is what this page is for.
This page is going to be your anchor – the driving guide for the other finance layouts that you will set up. So before going through everything else in this post, make sure that you have clearly defined your financial goals first.
Here are different layouts that you can choose from.
2. The Monthly Budget
A budget is your preview of how you’re going to manage your money every month.
How much money you’re going to make and what you’re going to spend it on, plus how much will you save – all of these are detailed in a monthly budget.
By using a budget, you can plan beforehand how you will use your money so that all your needs – yours and your family’s, are all taken care of.
Even a simple expense list for the month can already make a difference on your spending.
When you don’t have a plan on how to use your money, you will spend and spend until there’s nothing left.
Good thing if all your needs have already been taken care of. But what if it’s not the case?
What if there are needs that are yet to be met but you don’t have money anymore?
You resort to debts.
And this, my friend, is the formula to bury yourself in debts and live from paycheck to paycheck.
Believe me… this is not what you want.
So create a budget every month. It will go a long way in helping you manage your money.
Here are simple layouts that you can easily copy!
3. Bills Tracker
One of the things you pay off when payday arrives is the monthly bills.
Now, rather than just looking at the receipts and shoving them in a box when you’re done paying, track each bill individually.
Make a bill tracker in your bullet journal and write down how much you spend for each bill every month.
Here’s an example.
Tracking each bill individually helps you to see better how much of each you are really paying. This makes comparing your month-to-month bills easier too.
Now maybe there’s a bill that you can cut off this year, like TV? Well… if you have a computer and an Internet at home, you can just download movies or hop into Youtube.
Watching then becomes more intentional and a little bit more controlled than when you grab the remote and just sit in front of your TV for 30 minutes (which can easily escalate to 2 hours).
Plus… it removes the bill totally… which means that… you have something extra in your wallet!
Here are more sample of bill trackers that you can copy in your bullet journal.
4. Spending Log/ Expense Tracker
Another thing that’s very important to track is your expenses.
Make a spending log in your bullet journal and write down everything that you spend everyday!
Here’s an example.
By writing down your expenses each day, you can see how much money you spend and on what. This gives you a better view of where you can cut back on spending.
Like do you often eat out? Starbucks maybe? Mcdonalds? Restaurants?
Perhaps it’s time to get serious with meal planning and prepare your meals from scratch instead of eating out.
Here are more spending logs or expense trackers that you can copy.
5. No-spend/No-buy layout
How much money you make is just one part of the equation. The other is how you spend it.
When you are aware of your expenses each month (with the help of the expense trackers above), you can now evaluate which are those you can cut.
This is where a no-spend month challenge comes in handy!
Look at your expenses and determine… which of these can you live without? Challenge yourself to stop spending on those things on the coming month!
Here is an example.
I like the part where the expenses are classified as to whether it’s a need or just a want.
Needs are those items that you can’t live without. So naturally you’re going to spend money on that.
The wants – well… this is where you can cut back. The challenge is eliminate spending on these… totally!
I know. It sounds harsh. But if you want to save money, you have to cut back on unnecessary expenses and learn to live a much simpler life.
So clearly define your needs and wants. And if it helps, include a page in your bullet journal just for that too. Like this!
Now here are more No-Spend Challenge layouts that you can copy in your bullet journal.
6. Debt Payoff Tracker
When it takes a while to pay off your debts, like your credit cards and loans, it might feel like you’re not making any progress.
But it feels nice to see that your debts are shrinking!
So track every debt you have. Then when you pay off, even little by little, record your progress with a debt payoff tracker!
Here are layouts you can easily create to motivate you in paying off those debts until they’re flat zero!
7. Savings Tracker
This is probably the most rewarding part of budgeting – being able to save a part of your earnings.
It can be very challenging to save money especially when it has been your habit to spend every penny you have.
Ideally, you should be saving 20% of your income every month.
But if you can’t manage to save that much right now, it’s okay. The more important thing is, you start now, even if what you save is just a small part of your income.
Saving money is a habit. The more you practice it, the more you enhance it.
And the more you see that your money is accumulating, the more you’ll be motivated to save!
How to Really Save Money
When you find it hard to save money that’s probably because you are trying to save this way: Income – Expenses = Savings
What commonly happens is that nothing is ever left. Everything gets spent!
So instead of waiting how much money is left after your expenses, take away the savings first before spending.
Yes. Decide how much you’re going to save for the month. Take that away from your income. Then spend what’s left.
Income – Savings = Expenses
Don’t save money only when there’s extra. Believe me… you won’t see any extra.
Decide how much you’re going to save and challenge yourself to live up to that!
Here are savings trackers to help you save money. Choose what is best for you.
8. Savings Tracker for Specific Goals
These are also savings trackers.
The only difference is that in these layouts, you have specific goals that you want to reach – what you are saving money for. And that is clearly detailed in your tracker.
Look at these samples.
9. Wish List
This page is for everything else that you want to buy but were not included in your budget for the month.
When you hit on things that you want to buy but are not in your budget, don’t buy that just yet.
Write it down on your wish list first. Include the cost of the item so that you’ll always know how much you need to get it.
And then, when you have something extra – that which remains after providing for your monthly savings, debt payments and expenses, that’s when you buy what’s on your wish list.
When there’s no money left, then either allot money for that item next month (include it in your budget), or just let it stay in you wish list for a while.
Use a wish list well, and it will teach you to buy with intention rather than based on impulsive feelings.
10. Budget Review
A budget review aims to compare your actual expenses with the budgeted expenses.
Remember: You should not be spending above your budget.
It’s very easy to see on which one did you spend higher than planned when you can compare your actual expenses versus the budgeted.
Now when you have actual expenses that are higher than the budget, pay attention to those expenses and reflect on why you spent above budget.
Were you excessive? Did you buy impulsively?
Or was it the budget itself? Maybe you set it too low?
The answer depends on you. But without a budget review, it wouldn’t even cross your mind.
So make one. Then at the end of each month, always compare your actual expenses with those in your budget.
Here are sample budget reviews to draw ideas from.
Be the master of your finances.
It takes discipline to manage your money well. And again, it takes discipline to update your bullet journal finance pages.
But when you seriously get your head on this, you’ll see the results soon enough.
You’ll be aware of how you spend your money. You will know the reasons why nothing is left every month. And you will see clearly where you are actually in terms of your finances.
From there, you can move forward.
After all, you should be the one controlling your money, not the other way around.
Looking for more ways you can use a bullet journal? Here are articles worth checking!
- Ultimate List of Bullet Journal Ideas: 101 Inspiring Concepts to Try Today (Part 1)
- Ultimate List of Bullet Journal Ideas: 101 Inspiring Concepts to Try Today (Part 2)
- Bullet Journal Weekly Spreads to Explore
- Awesome Mood Trackers to Try in Your Bullet Journal