When you’re running a busy household, your calendar can be your best friend. It can help you keep track of your appointments, vacations, your kids’ schedules, and the day-to-day activities of everyone in the house. But when it comes to money, not everyone is as diligent at keeping track of their spending on things like bills, groceries, online loan payments, and savings. While you might have a loose budget that you occasionally scribble down your expenses in, if you want to have an eye on your financial health, you’re going to have to get serious about budgeting. A budget calendar might be just what you need to gain visibility into your finances and help you stay on top of your money. We’re going to break down what a budget calendar is, how to make one, and how it can help you.
A budget calendar functions just as a regular calendar does, but with your finances in mind. Its purpose is to help you keep track of the important financial dates in your life, like when your paycheck comes in and when specific bills are due. There are a few different ways this tool can help you:
If you want to make a simple monthly budget calendar, there are a few different ways you can go about it. The most bare-bones way would be to get a good old-fashioned calendar and write out your major upcoming expenses for the month.
If you want to keep track of your finances digitally, there are a number of free personal finance apps that can effectively act as your budget planner and help you to keep track of your finances. Some of these include:
Whether you want keep track of your expenses through a personal finance app or a regular calendar, there are certain expenses that you’re going to want to include on your budget calendar.
Budgeting isn’t just about keeping track of how you spend your money, it’s also about staying on top of how much money is coming in, and when you’re due to receive your paychecks each month. If you’ve got a regular paycheck with a fixed amount coming in at the same time each month, this should be simple. But this isn’t the case for everyone. In 2018, over a third of U.S. workers were taking part in the gig economy, meaning they may be in between full-time jobs, unable to find work after being fired, or looking for a less conventional work schedule. If you fall into this category, you may need some extra help putting together a budget when your income is irregular.
We’ve already mentioned this one, but it’s worth repeating; make sure to mark down any bills on your budget calendar. If you’re keeping track of your finances and you can see that you have a few big bills coming up, this might help you curb any impulse spending leading up to these due dates. Knowing exactly when your bills are due can go a long way in helping you avoid typical financial mistakes, like forgetting to pay your bills or overspending throughout the month.
If you’ve set up automatic deposits into your savings account, or you have some money left over at the end of the month, this would be a good opportunity to make a contribution to your emergency fund, college savings, or your retirement. If you do end up putting money towards your savings, you should be keeping track of these contributions the same way you’d mark down any of your other monthly expenses. If you’re not making these contributions regularly, try marking down future dates on your budget calendar that you’ll make a concerted effort to save money on.
You may want to start saving money regularly but don’t feel like you have enough room in the budget to do it. If this is the case, try using an app like Acorns to start making small investments with your spare change.
If you feel like you don’t have a clear view of your finances, it’s time to start keeping track of your spending. A budget calendar is a great way to gain a clear view of your monthly expenses, your upcoming bills, and the money you have coming in.
If you want to start living well on a tight budget, you’re going to have to pick up some money saving tips along the way, and this starts with a budget. Once you have a firm grip on your short-term goals and you have a clear path to accomplishing them, you can start to look towards your long-term financial goals. A budget calendar is the first step to achieving these goals.
Do you have any tips for putting together a budget calendar? Share below!