Use this free DIY budget binder to get organized and make progress toward your financial goals. This freebie includes 4 budget binder printables plus budget binder ideas for more sheets you may want to include!
We all know that being financially responsible is 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 these DIY budget binder printables come in. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a budget binder that’ll help you get organized and start working toward your financial goals! 🙂
I know that not everyone is like me. They don’t get excited about stock options, 401(k)s, and coupons. In an effort to make the prospect of taking control of the family finances a little more exciting, I designed fun and free budget binder printables, starting with the budget binder cover.
So, what are you waiting for? Snag these printables and learn how to make a budget binder now.
Download Free DIY Budget Binder Printables
DIY Budget Binder: Cover
Okay, so we all know that we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’m hoping that this cute and colorful cover will inspire you to use this budget folder and its printables. Plus, I think the fun cover makes it easier to keep this budget planner binder someplace handy. In other words, it isn’t something you would mind sitting out on your desk.
DIY Budget Binder: Financial Goals Sheet
The first page of the budget planner binder (after the cover) is the Financial Goals sheet. This sheet is where you (and your family) will list your goals. Your financial goals could be just about anything including:
- Pay off student loans.
- Fix your credit score.
- Save up for a down payment on a house.
- Saving up for a family vacation.
- Contributing to a college savings account for your child. If this is one of your financial goals, be sure to read “What Every Parent Needs to Know about Saving for Their Child’s College Education.”
- Contributing to a retirement savings account.
Psst! If you prefer to keep electronic records, you can download an Excel version of the Financial Goals sheet here.
When entering goals in your budget folder, 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 deciding on your goals. You’ll want to put a lot of thought into this first page of the free budget binder printables.
Regardless of what your goals are, they will probably require you to save money. There are obvious ways to save money, such as cutting out that trip to Starbucks each morning, and then there are more out-of-the-box approaches you may want to consider, like getting freebies by mail.
In fact, some ways to save money are just 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 “50 Realistic Frugal Living Tips.” One super easy way to save money is to avoid late fees, such as those that accrue when bills are past due. Snag these bill due planner stickers to help you remember to pay on time!
Hopefully, all of these articles will show you that there are many ways to save money in your daily life. You just need to find the approaches that work best for you and your family.
Budget Binder Ideas: As you go over all of these ways to save money, add a page to your binder and keep a list of ideas that appeal to you.
DIY Budget Binder: Finances by Month Sheet
Once you’ve established some goals, it’s time to start documenting your expenses with the second sheet of the finances and money budget binder, the Finances by Month sheet. This is the free printable budget binder sheet where you’ll take a deep dive into your monthly expenses.
This sheet in the budget folder 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. And if you prefer to do this electronically, you can download an Excel version of the Finances by Month sheet here.
Tip: 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 money budget binder 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 each month, look at 6 to 12 months of bills and take an average to give yourself an idea of what to expect.
Budget Binder Ideas: 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. This approach will make it easier to complete the Monthly Assessment sheet, which is coming up next!
Bonus: If you’re really trying to keep a tight rein on your finances, you might want to assess your spending on a more granular level. If you think month-to-month is just too big of a picture, try this free personal weekly budget template.
DIY Budget Binder: Monthly Assessment Sheet
The last of the free printable budget binder sheets is the Monthly Assessment sheet. It gives you the opportunity to review your expenses and spending for the month and if needed, make adjustments. As you utilize the assessment sheet, just remember: 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. Don’t give up!
Once a month, review the Finances by Month sheet in your money budget binder. Look for areas where you stayed on track. Note if you were 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. It’s vital that you be honest here!
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.”
Bonus: If saving money on food, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, is one of your goals it doesn’t mean you have to give up nutritious, delicious, and satisfying meals. Here are some yummy recipes that’ll help you save money without sacrificing taste:
- Cheap Meals for Large Families
- 56 Cheap and Easy Family Meals
- Easy, Cheap Slow Cooker Recipes for Large Families
- Easy, Cheap Vegetarian Meals
- 62 Cheap Family Meals
- Cheap and Easy Meals for College Students
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 quick ways to earn cash!
If you prefer to conduct your assessment electronically, download the Excel version of the Monthly Assessment sheet here.
Download the Free DIY Budget Binder Printables
DIY Budget Binder: Extras
Guess what? You now know how to make a budget binder and how to use all of the included free budget binder printables! However, you don’t have to stop with just these 4 free printable budget binder sheets! There are extras you can include to customize the DIY budget binder to your needs.
Simple Budget Worksheet
One extra you may want to consider for your budget binder are simple free printable budget worksheets.
- 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 simple printable budget worksheets to give you a quick snapshot of your finances and how successfully you’re managing them each month. And if one of these simple budget worksheets doesn’t meet your needs, check out:
Christmas Gift Planner Sheet
Another addition you may want to make to your budget binder printables is the printable Christmas shopping lists. This is a great way to ensure your holiday spending stays in check and that you don’t forget anyone on your list.
Choose from two separate Christmas gift planner templates:
- Printable Christmas Shopping List with Christmas Tree
- Printable Christmas Shopping List Template with Presents
You can modify this worksheet for other occasions as well. For example, you could make a list of all of the friends and family members you purchase birthday gifts for each year and plan how much you’ll spend ahead of time.
Event Planner Sheet
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 planner 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 family all-inclusive vacations.
Bonus: Planning a wedding? Here’s a worksheet specifically for the big day! Download the Free Printable Wedding Budget Planner Worksheet here.
If the idea of the DIY 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 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 DIY budget binder printables you’ll be on your way to financial success in no time!
What else do you think would make a great addition to the free budget binder printables? Share your ideas and requests in the comments!