FREE Printable Budget Binder – Download or Print
We all know that being financially responsible is important, very important, but that knowledge doesn’t make the process any easier. It’s like knowing that exercising on a daily basis is good for you…. In theory, it sounds awesome. In practice, you have a million things to do and the thought of going to the gym to sweat for an hour isn’t exactly thrilling.
In my experience, a big part of the challenge with being financial responsible is just getting organized. There are so many things to think about that it makes the whole process seem like an insurmountable obstacle. That’s where the budget binder (a.k.a. printable budget planner) comes in.
In this article, you’ll find all the printables and downloadables you need to create a first rate budget binder. This binder will help you get organized and get you one step closer to achieving financial success.
I know that not everyone is like me. They don’t get excited about stock options, 401(k)s, and coupons. I wish they did… but they don’t. In an effort to make the prospect of taking control of the family finances a little more exciting, I designed a fun, upbeat, and colorful binder starting with the cover.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your Free Printable Budget Binder now!
Here’s the Printable Budget Budget Binder Cover.
Download this Free Printable Budget Binder
The first page of the budget binder (after the cover) is the Financial Goals Sheet (Download Excel version). This sheet is where you (and your family) will list your goals. Your financial goals could be just about anything including:
– Paying off student loans
– Fixing your credit score
– Saving up for a down payment on a house
– Saving up for a family vacation
– Contributing to a college savings account for your child (be sure to read “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Saving for Their Child’s College Education“)
– Contributing to a retirement savings account
When entering financial goals in the planner, be sure to think about short term, mid term, and long term goals. Short term goals are those that you’d like to accomplish in approximately the next year, mid term goals are things you want to achieve in the next 5 years or so, and long term goals are what you’d like to do in the 10+ year range.
Take your time with deciding your goals. You’ll want to put a lot of thought into this first page.
Regardless of what your goals are, they will probably require you to save money. If you’re new to saving money, this can be deceptively difficult. I recommend checking out this article on learning how to save money to get you started on the right foot. There are obvious ways to save money such as cutting out the trip to Starbucks each morning and then there are the more out of the box approaches you may want to consider like getting freebies by mail. In fact, some ways to save money are downright weird. Don’t believe me? Check out these 10 weird ways to save money.
If you’re on the hunt for a few more realistic approaches to achieving frugality, you’ll definitely want to read my article on 50 Realistic Frugal Living Tips. Hopefully, all of these articles will show you that there are thousands of ways to save money in your daily life. You just need to find the approaches that work best for you and your family.
Once you’ve gotten your goals established, it’s time to start documenting your expenses with the second sheet of the binder, the Finances by Month Sheet (Download Excel version).
The finances by month sheet of the printable budget planner is where you’ll take a deep dive into your monthly expenses. This sheet may look a little intimidating because it has a lot of fields but don’t give up! Take your time and try to fill out as many of the fields as accurately as possible.
For some of the fields you may need a little help. For example, if you’re working on calculating your monthly expenses try out the free living expense calculator.
Remember, don’t guess! You want your budget to be as accurate as possible. If you aren’t sure of exact amounts do a little research. For example, if your electric bill varies month by month, take a look at your last 6 to 12 months of bills and take an average to give you an idea of what you can expect.
When it comes to this sheet, you may want to print (or download) two copies. You can use one sheet to document what you plan to spend and the other to document what you actually spend.
The last sheet of the budget binder is the Monthly Assessment Sheet (Download Excel version).
Everyone makes mistakes. On your road to financial responsibility you will almost certainly have a few missteps. The important thing is to learn from any errors and keep moving forward. In order to avoid mistakes snowballing into even bigger mistakes, you will want to assess your performance periodically. To do this, you will use the Budget Binder’s monthly assessment sheet.
With this sheet in mind, review the finances by month sheet of the printable budget planner. Did you stay on budget? Were you able to contribute to or achieve your goals?
Return to the monthly assessment sheet and write down what you did well and where you could improve in upcoming months. Try to write down at least one good thing and one bad thing.
Next, write down a few goals for the upcoming month. These do not have to be major undertakings (like pay off the car you just bought 3 months ago). Rather these can be small things that help you stick to the path of financial responsibility. For example, you might have a goal of “only eat lunch out once per week” or “contribute an extra $20 towards paying off credit card debt”.
If, during your monthly assessment, you find that you have a gap that is preventing you from achieving your goals, you may want to consider additional ways to earn cash. Check out these 37 ways to earn cash quick!
There you have it — a budget binder to serve as your guide on the road to financial responsibility and success:
1.) Budget Binder Cover
2.) Financial Goals Sheet
3.) Finances by Month Sheet
4.) Monthly Assessment Sheet
While the budget binder (a.k.a. printable budget planner) may only technically contain 4 pages (see above), you can beef it up with some extras.
One extra you may want to consider for your budget binder is a simple budget worksheet.
- Download or print it: Simple Blue Household Budget (No Quote).pdf
- Excel: Simple Blue Household Budget (No Quote).xls
- Download or print it: Pink and Green Flowers and Bird Household Budget.pdf
- Excel: Pink and Green Flowers and Bird Household Budget.xls
- Download or print it: Pink and Green Flowers and Bird Household Budget (No Quote).pdf
- Excel: Pink and Green Flowers and Bird Household Budget (No Quote).xls
- Download or print it: Purple and Green Flower Household Budget.pdf
- Excel: Purple and Green Flower Household Budget.xls
While the finances by month sheet is more in-depth, you can use the simple budget worksheet to give you a quick snapshot of your finances and how successfully you are managing them each month.
Another addition you may want to make to your budget binder is the Christmas gifts budget worksheet. This is a great way to ensure your Christmas spending stays in check and that you don’t forget anyone on your list.
You can modify this worksheet for other occasions as well. For example, you could make a list of all the friends and family members you purchase birthday gifts for each year and plan how much you’ll spend ahead of time. If you’re looking for frugal birthday party ideas, don’t forget to check out these 28 frugal birthday party ideas.
If you have an event coming up, you’ll definitely want to add the event planning budget sheet to your budget binder. This sheet is a fabulous way to make sure your event doesn’t break the bank and that you don’t forget any important aspects.
Like the Christmas gifts budget sheet, this worksheet can pull double duty. Consider altering the spreadsheet for vacation budgeting.
Tip: If you’re planning a vacation, be sure to read this article on the best all inclusive family vacations.
If the idea of the budget binder is getting you all excited about saving money and being financially savvy, make sure you equip yourself with even more insightful financial advice by grabbing a copy of Freebie Finding Mom’s new eBook Secrets of a Successful Family CFO.
The book covers:
– Goal Setting
– How to Create a Budget
– The Basics of Investing
– Retirement Planning
– College Planning and Funding
– How to Be the Savviest Shopper of Them All
– And Much More…
Between this book and the printable budget planner you’ll be on your way to financial success in no time!
What else do you think would make a great addition to the budget binder? Share your ideas and requests in the comments!