The links in this post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.
A budget binder is a great way to organize your finances. Create a budget binder and customize with your favorite financial tools, printable worksheets, and resources. Since I prefer to budget and track my finances with paper and pen, the budget binder is the perfect way to contain everything I need to manage my budget, track expenses and pay off debt.
It’s really simple to create a binder and you can get it set up with just a few supplies.
- 1 Inch Binder
- 3 Hole Punch
- White-Out/Correction Tape
- Calculator / Basic Calculator
- I prefer the Scientific calculator because it allows me to review and edit as I’m doing the calculation which comes in handy if I make a mistake. However, a basic calculator is perfectly fine too.
How To Create Your Budget Binder
My budget binder has two main sections consisting of yearly and monthly printable worksheets. Dividers separate each section.
The yearly section includes:
- Financial Goals
- Use this worksheet to list your short, mid, and long term financial goals. This will help you remember your goals as you continue working toward achieving those goals. If you have multiple goals in each section, list them in order of importance, and decide when you want to achieve them.
- Fixed Expenses Tracker
- Fixed expenses are regular bills that must be paid on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly frequency. The Fixed Expenses Tracker worksheet provides a high level overview of all expenses throughout the year on one sheet.
- Debt Reduction Calculator
- This calculator worksheet provides a summary of debt and estimated pay off dates based on the chosen debt strategy of the avalanche or snowball method.
- Debt Progress Tracker
- The Debt Progress Tracker worksheet tracks progress for every debt account. Debt progress trackers contain high level account details and is updated with monthly payment details.
The monthly sections include:
- Budget Calendar
- The Budget Calendar is a visual way to organize your finances by seeing when income occurs and all expenses due throughout the month.
- Debt Payment Strategy
- The Debt Payment Strategy worksheet is intended to track monthly and total overall debt payoff progression. Monthly details include balances, interest rates, due dates, minimum required payments, and payment information.
- Paycheck Budget Planner
- The Paycheck Budget Planner is an aid to create a budget and plan for every paycheck. The worksheet contains several sections to track income, bills/fixed expenses, variable expenses, savings funds and sinking funds.
- Expense Tracker
- The expense tracker is a worksheet to track cash flow and record transactions as they occur. Use this worksheet to review spending to see exactly where money is going each month.
How to Use and Maintain Your Budget Binder
Once your binder is created and set up, you’ll need to maintain it by keeping it updated with relevant information. Often times, I’m reviewing and updating my binder on a daily basis.
Initially, I spend a large chuck of time setting up all of the monthly worksheets during the budget planning process. The time varies but on average, it takes about one hour to prepare and create the monthly budget. Several worksheets are monitored and updated as spending occurs and when bill payments are processed. This typically takes about 10 – 20 minutes. Finally, actual spending is calculated and reconciled with budgeted amounts at the end of each paycheck tracking period.
I regularly view the information to evaluate and analyze my spending. Improvements are made by identifying areas to cut spending, lower costs, and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
As you begin to use your budget binder, it may take a few months to get it right. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t go exactly the way you hoped initially. It takes time and practice to get accustomed to the budgeting process. The goal is to create a realistic budget that works best for your lifestyle. Reflect often and make adjustments to adapt to changing needs.
Get the Budget Planner
Access the Shop to get the Budget Planner! The Budget Planner has been updated for the current year and includes the Budget Calendar, Debt Payment Strategy, Paycheck Budget Planner, Monthly Expense Tracker and many more helpful worksheets.