Monday, January 26, 2015

Building a Budget Binder

I love the ease of using an online budget program like Mint, which I use, but hate that it’s not hands-on. I scoured Pinterest, blogs, and even did random Google searches looking for prinatables to create a budget binder. I refuse to buy printables. Here’s how I created mine along with links to the pages I used. 

The reason this took so long was because I was being cheap about the binder itself. $5.49 for a 1" binder? What in the actual fuck?! But then I decided to say screw it and just buy one I liked because a) pretty, and b) use & abuse. 

I'll never tire of this print. 
My first page was originally going to be in the cover pocket but it works better this way. I put it in a sheet protector to keep it nice and pretty. I was planning on buying a pack of those as well but again, $4.99 for 50? We have boxes of them unused at work. I'll help myself. 

Cover found at The Accidental Okie

The next thing I did was to decide which categories were going to work best for me. The important thing is to only add the pages you need which is why I made my own. Instead of spending money on actual tabs, I created my own cover sheets for the start of each section. 

I made these! Squeeee!

Savings Goals: 2015 is the year of saving goals for me so I already knew that this was a section I needed. Some are short term {500 emergency fund} and some are long term {52 week plan}. I found the $1,000 emergency Fund plan and loved how simple it was for such a big goal. I did the 52 week challenge for 2014 and loved it. I like this 52 Week Money Savings Challenge print because it already lists the dates, amounts, and it gives you the option of adding extra money for the week. I also added these Financial Goals pages for the smaller goals. I also like this setting goals page, although I didn't use it. 

Month to Month: I used this calendar because the boxes were big enough to write in. I also added these monthly check-in pages because I think it's good to see where improvement can be made. There's also a spot to add month-specific goals. I like this because if it's something that needs to be done, and will cost money, I can add it here, i.e taking all the coats to be dry cleaned. 

Outstanding Debt: This section was for debts that have been around a little longer than I care to admit...ahem EZ Pass. I'm really pleased with the print I created so that I can keep track of what's owed, when and how much I paid, and the remaining balance.

Tips & Tricks: I added this section for my own know-how. I added the guide for creating your own printables {see below}, and a page I found online about when to toss certain documents. A while back I scanned, labeled and "filed" all of my old tax returns or documents I should probably keep. Having everything in digital form frees up space, saves paper, and I know it's secure on my external hard drive and in Dropbox.

I kept my binder pretty basic for a few reasons. For one, it's open for even more customization. If a page is no longer working for me, I can take it out or add something new. Second, I don't have a mortgage or kids so my budget isn't all that complicated. Also, if you're the type who wants complete control, or you just want to learn how to make your own, I would highly recommend signing up for Just a Girl and Her Blog's newsletter. She'll give you this free PDF:

I found it to be greatly helpful and used it as a guide to create all my cover pages you see above. I kept them basic for my first try, but now that I know what I'm doing, and have a guide if I forget, I can get more adventurous. 

So that's my budget binder. Do you have one? Do you budget? 


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