There are a lot of payments to keep track of over the course of a month. While your rent, bills and regular subscriptions will likely be paid on the same date each month, you might have a one-off or unexpected payment to make as well.
If you’re often out of sync with your incomings and outgoings, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at your spending – especially if you’re trying to save money for a special purchase or vacation, or simply want to get to the end of the month without a struggle.
Downloading our free household budget worksheet will give you a better view of your spending and help you make better financial decisions.
How to use a budget planner worksheet
Our budget-planning sheet provides a helpful list of all the areas you need to consider during your pay period.
Fill in the budget column in advance, trying to predict how much you have to spend. Then, after the month is over, use your bank statements and receipts to record what you actually spent – then work out the difference.
Fixed Expenses: This section is where you note down how much you paid this month on your rent or mortgage, plus utilities like electric, gas and water, and insurance. We’ve included an ‘Other’ section for any monthly expenses not listed here like subscriptions to Netflix.
Insurance: This covers your regular insurance payments. Some of these might come out of your pay check. It’s worth noting down any payment towards health, life or car insurance.
Transportation: This might be harder to record as it’s not a regular payment, so keep receipts every time you fill up on gas or use the bus or train.
Debt: Whether it’s a loan, car payments or you’re paying off a credit or store cards, these all class as debt. You should know your monthly spend on these in advance.
Other spending: This is an important area as it’s one that varies most month to month. This covers everything from your grocery shopping to clothing for the kids, weekly treats and trips out. Again, try and keep your receipts so can get a better idea of spending habits.
Saving goals: Finally, there are your savings goals, where you can add how much you’d like to put towards a vacation or emergency fund. If your goal is simply to break even, leave this area blank.
Things to remember when filing out your budget worksheet:
To make it easier to fill out your worksheet and to make the most of it, here are a few tips:
- Keep track of everything you spend. You may forget about some payments if you don’t have them on record, so many sure everything is accounted for.
- Think about regular savings you can make. If you want to save more towards a goal like a new car or a family vacation, think about ways to shave the cost off things like bills or groceries.
- Set your own budget calendar. Decide how often you want to create your budget worksheet and try to stick to it. It could be weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on when your paycheck comes in. However often it is, make sure you stay as up-to-date as you can.
- Don’t worry. If filing it in and keeping it up to date is stressing you out, don’t worry. It’s not a test and there’s no prize for a perfectly filled in sheet. It’s simply a way to get you thinking about how your income is spent.
Getting the most from your household budget worksheet
Once you’ve created your worksheet, pay close attention to your totals. Are you comfortably staying within your monthly budget, or are you spending more than you earn?
If your budget planner shows you’re spending more than you can afford, a good way to see why is to check the Differences box. This shows how much you spent against how much you expected to spend. If you budgeted $50 for gas, but ended up spending $100, it might help to make a note in the Notes column on why you overspent. That way, when it comes to setting your next budget, you can revise your expected spend – and maybe adjust your budget in other areas to make up for the extra amount.
Make sure you stay on top of recording your actual outgoing spend so you always know where you stand. If you have to make an emergency payment such as a car repair or send money to a friend, make a note of it on the worksheet and be sure to subtract it from what you have available.
It’s important to be honest about your spending. If you aren’t keeping an accurate and thorough record, you could be misleading yourself.
If you have a family, get them involved. You could even make it fun for your kids by promising them a reward for saving money where they can, and explaining to you how they managed it. After all, your household budget affects everyone, so it’s important to get everyone involved.
By making an effort to track your spending, you can take control and help make sure you’re better off in the long run.