Monthly Budget Planner:
Intro & Overview

The monthly budget planner is the tool that brings your budget plan to life. It acts as your road map – telling you when each expense should be paid, based on when your income comes in each month, and providing an historic record of each month’s expenditures.

To put your plan into action your expenses and income have to move from your personal or household budget worksheet to your calendar or date book – what I refer to as your monthly budget planner.

Before I explain how it works I want to be sure you have a monthly calendar that you can dedicate to this. If you prefer to use my monthly budget planner, click here to access a printable pdf template. Just fill in the month, year, and dates as appropriate for the month you’re planning.

As with the budget worksheets in the early steps of the system, you’ll need Adobe Reader installed on your computer in order to open, view or print the pdf planner. If you don’t already have it, you can get Adobe Reader here (a new window will open so you can download it without leaving this page). No worries – it’s free.

Once you’ve downloaded Adobe, just click on the link above to open the file to view or print the planner. If you would like to save it for easy access later, just right-click on the link and choose “Save Target As” or “Save File As.” Then select where you want to save the file on your hard drive – the “budget” folder you made earlier to save your budget worksheet is the perfect place.

When you’re ready to use it later, find the file where you’ve saved it and just double click on the file to open it.

Now that you have your planner in hand, let’s get to work. Remember to always work in pencil because you will adjust often and need to erase.

I told you in the beginning that I would walk you through the entire process step-by-step, and I’ve tried to explain all facets of the plan in as much detail as possible. If that’s helpful for you, you may want to jump to The Monthly Budget Planner In Detail for the detailed description of how to use the planner and examples of ways to work with it that I find helpful. Click here to go there now.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who prefers a succinct overview and finds this much detail excruciating, here’s the monthly budget planner in a nutshell:

  • Write your beginning balance (your checkbook balance at the beginning of the month) in a blank space at the top of you planner.
  • Write in the amount of your income on each day of the month that you get paid. Put a plus sign (+) in front of income to easily tell it apart from your expenses.
  • Write your expense amounts on the dates they are due. If they don’t have a specific due date, write them on the date you expect to pay them.
  • You may want to bundle some of your expenses into groups, like utilities or miscellaneous expenses. Then subtract from the group total as you pay each individual expense.
  • Learn how the cash system works, and then enter your cash withdrawal amount on the dates you intend to replenish your cash envelopes. Just use the cash link below.
  • Read the information on which expenses should be included in your savings group. Use the savings link below. Once you’ve determined your savings amount, enter that amount in a blank area of your planner.
  • As you pay an expense, put a line through it to show it’s been paid.
  • Write your month-end balance at the bottom of the page. As you make adjustments during the month, adjust this balance as necessary. Check this against your checkbook balance to be sure you haven’t made mistakes.
  • Tip: set up several months of your budget planner at a time. I do a full year. It helps you anticipate any financial problems, and it makes it easy to roll right into the following month.

That’s it! As you work with it and get used to the process it will become second nature to you and simple to maintain. Used properly, this important and effective budgeting tool will help you avoid carelessly overspending because it helps you account for every dollar that goes out.

If you’d like to get more information about any of the steps listed above, just click here to go to the more detailed discussion of the monthly budget planner.

The Monthly Budget Planner In Detail
Rethink Your Checking Account
Teach Your Savings to Multi-Task
The Simple Cash Budget

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to Living on a Budget