We’ve all been there: stressing about finances. It’s true. Money is one of the top concerns of most families. Having sufficient funds to cover all of our monthly expenses can be majorly painful for those trying to build savings or minimize debt. And having mindfulness about our finances? That’s critical to leading our homes and lives with purpose and beauty. So how does a budget template fit in? Simply. Establishing a solid family budget is one of the practical solutions for getting ahold of family finances. Want to learn more about this free budget template? Keep on reading for money tips and how to use this tool!
Why Use a Budget Template?
Building a budget? Sounds like such a boring notion, doesn’t it? It turns out, many people don’t find the idea of establishing a budget all that exciting. By itself budgeting can feel very tedious and repetitive, and budgeting may not provide much in the way of an immediate reward or fast gratification.
But, here’s the thing, in the long-term budgeting is what will get you enough money to buy a new car, get a house, or retire happily. Budgeting will bring a sense of calm and security and maybe even some carefree happiness. Now that sounds good, right? And keeping up with the budget monthly can be fun and even motivating once you get a feel for these long-term benefits.
A Simplified Budget Template
There’s a problem, though. The dance floor’s a little crowded when it comes to budgeting and online information. There are hundreds of thousands of different budget ideas, examples, templates or worksheets you can download online or view on Youtube. But sometimes, they can be more confusing than they are nice and easy. And here at Home Beautifully, we’re all about nice and easy, am I right?
Let’s break this down a bit and utilize a simple budgeting template to start this process on the right foot. You can nab this budgeting tool for free!
Grab Your Budget Template Here
We’re going to use this budgeting spreadsheet to get focused on building a strong financial foundation. Have your budgeting tool handy? Let’s do this!
Let’s start by identifying the three vital parts of a budget that you need to include to successfully manage your spending.
Budget Template Part 1: Your Income
Here’s an essential part of building a solid budget: knowing and understanding your income. For this section it’s important to list your re-occurring monthly earnings. If you are working as a salaried employee you need to be aware of your monthly take-home pay. Yes, that means reviewing your pay stubs! If you’re an hourly employee you would want to write down an estimation of your upcoming monthly income based on the number of hours you are scheduled to work times your hourly rate.
If you are salaried employee making a net of $2000 a month after taxes, you will list this as your monthly income. It is important to list only the NET money you will receive from your paycheck after taxes. Why? Anything going to taxes does not help your budgeting. (Too bad!)
If you are an hourly employee making $15 an hour, you will estimate the number of hours you anticipate working a month. For example, let’s say you anticipate working 40 hours a week, and the month has five weeks. Some quick math later and we know that 40 hours multiplied by five weeks is 200 hours. Multiplying the total hours by the hourly rate would give your total income for the month.
Total Income = $15 * 200 = $3000
To get the net income you need to use in the budget you would need to subtract taxes, 401k contributions, health insurance premiums and other money taken out of your paycheck each pay period. To make things simple, review previous months’ take-home pay. Find a month that was similar in length to the current month and get those numbers!
Sample Budget Template After Determining Net Income
Let’s say the deductions for the month were $1000. Then your net income (which is what we want) would be:
Net Income = $3000 – $1000 = $2000
This is the value that you should input in your income section.
When you complete this step you will get a very clear view of what you make every month that can be used by you or your family to pay off expenses and build the life you envision, with an extra added helping of financial peace and comfort.
Budget Template Part 2: Your Fixed Expenses
What are fixed expenses? These are the part of the budget where you list expenses you incur every month regardless of how much money you make that month.
These expenses could be any one of the following:
- Car Payment
- Student Loan Payments
- Phone Bill
- Cable Bill
Sample Budget Template After Fixed Expenses
Let’s say that you only pay rent and a car payment each month. Rent is $1000 and the car payment is $300. Your total fixed expenses are:
Fixed Expenses = $1000 + $300 = $1300
This number will be subtracted from your income to give you your disposable income. Now there’s another key word! What’s disposable income? That’s the money you can spend on anything since nothing has a claim on it yet.
Up to now your budget would look as follows.
- Monthly Income $2000
- Fixed Expenses -$1300
- Disposable Income $700
Your budget might be looking a bit tighter now. But don’t start to worry. Remember that the only thing changing here is transparency. You’re growing increasingly more aware of the coins in your wallet. And that knowledge? That’s an empowering thing! So even though the smaller number (once you take out those fixed expenses) might make you break a small sweat, remember that you’ll be much more confident and assured making purposeful decisions for your life. And that’s a good thing!
Budget Template Part 3: Your Variable Expenses
Almost there, friends! Feeling good still? The final step is to add to your monthly expenses. Let’s talk about variable expenses: these are the things you purchase that might change from month to month. When do you add these to the budget? Not quite yet. You can only add in your variable expenses. This can only be done as you incur these expenses during the month. My recommendation? Add in your variable expenses on a weekly basis to have a fresh perspective. Then, on a monthly basis, finalize everything to see how the month turned out and assess what needs to change.
These expenses would be different for each person or family but the main expense groups such as food, clothing, car repairs, gas, and eating out will be present in most budgets in the variable expense category. Adding them up is vital to completing the budgeting process and not forgetting any of them can be tricky. How can you do this? Three easy ways.
How to Remember: 3 Tricks!
First, and perhaps the easiest way to not forget, is to use only your debit or credit card for all expenses and then track them online since you will be provided with a list of expenses any time you log into the debit or credit card website.
Second, if you use checks, that will be tracked in your checking account online and you can get those expenses easily.
Third, if you use cash for some expenses try to save the receipts or list the withdrawal of the cash from your account as a monthly expense. Either way do not forget to enter the cash expenses as these are easily forgotten and can ruin your budget quickly.
Cure the Budget Boredom
Let’s be real with each other. Those variable expenses? While they’re fun to make sometimes, entering them into the budget can feel like the most boring part of the process, entering expenses one by one, month after month blah blah blah. There are shortcuts you can use, like this one: export the expenses from the online websites in excel and sum the amount paid to each vendor, then just copy and paste in your budget. The most important part of this is to keep the dates of the expenses within the month of the budget. Bottom line: find a way to make this easy and quick for you. Unless you love numbers (like me! YAY MATH!), this part might discourage you from completing the budget.
Sample Budget Template After Variable Expenses
So let’s say you spent $300 on groceries, $100 eating out, $90 on clothes, $80 on gas, and $200 on repairing your car this month.
Your variable expenses would be:
- Groceries $300
- Restaurants $100
- Clothing $90
- Gas $80
- Car Repair $200
- Total $770
Your budget for the month will now look like this:
- Monthly Income $2000
- Fixed Expenses -$1300
- Disposable Income $700
- Variable Expenses -$770
- Money Left $-70
See how quickly it goes? Sigh. But here’s the thing: repairing the car? Hopefully, that’s not a reoccurring expense. And even though we have spent $70 more dollars than you have earned this month, we’re very aware of the overage. This means we have to use $70 from our savings or leave it on your credit card collecting interest.
Both of these scenarios were leaving us with less money we had when we began the month. Not good! (Not to worry, we’ll talk more about this in the future! There are ways to change financial habits even in small ways to have major positive impacts on our lives and accounts.) This budget template is a HUGE first step.
Long-Term Benefits of Using a Budget Template
But here’s what we need to keep fresh and bright in our mind for now: the long-term benefit of using a budget template. On a rare occasion, you might spend more than you make due to emergency expenses, but if you keep a good budgeting mentality and focus on making some months produce a positive amount of cash you will start moving in the direction you need.
In our upcoming finance posts, we’ll continue to talk about how to increase our mindfulness about our income, net income, fixed expenses, and variable expenses. Why? Because mindfulness fosters joyfulness, and that ease is at the heart of bringing beauty and purpose into our lives and homes.
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