A monthly calendar is a great way to keep track of important dates and events in your life. You can even use your calendar to track your goals and habits and increase your productivity. However, did you also know that you can use your trusty calendar to set your budget?
What is a budget calendar?
Budget calendars primarily keep track of payment dates and amounts. It’s also a convenient way to see how much money will come in and go out per month.
There are many free apps and templates online, or you can use whatever calendar you already have. But whichever tool you choose, make sure your budget calendar includes the following:
- Revenue. You can add your paydays to your calendar if you receive regular paychecks. Or, at the very least, score when you think you’re getting paid.
- Invoices. Keep track of your monthly expenses, such as rent or credit credit card bills. Remember to also include infrequent costs. For example, semi-annual car insurance payments and annual subscriptions.
- Savings contributions. Saving for an emergency fund, a wedding, or another goal is easier when you plan transfers to an account in advance.
Also, you can record smaller transactions and irregularities. However, it can be difficult to write down every cup of coffee or your estimated grocery bill.
The benefits of a budget calendar
Did you know that only 30% of US households havealong-termfinancial plan? Maintaining a budget allows us to control our finances, save money more effectively, and ensure our money is being spent appropriately.
Additionally, according to a report by LendingClub, 64% of US households were living paycheck to paycheck at the start of 2022, up from 61% in December and just before the peak of 65% in 2020. So if you want to escape a pay day – to live off your pay, a budget is also essential.
Fortunately, there are many ways to budget. The key is to find a style of budgeting that works for you. Then you will be more likely to achieve your goals and stick to your financial intentions.
Budget calendars can help you:
- Establish a spending plan and track expenses
- Indicate where you can make cuts
- Assess your income
- Create a long term plan
- Help you settle your debt faster
- Manage your credit card rewards and usage
- Learn how to better control your expenses of life
You can use calendars to stay on top of the visual deadline. This way, you will avoid missing payments. They are also easier to use than budget software . And, sincemoreof have your checking accounts, this could be a valuable tool in combating costly late payments.
Signs you need a budget calendar
Budget calendars are good for everyone. Budget calendars are free and easy to use. Most importantly, they are able to reduce stress financial .
Again, you need a budget calendar if you live paycheck to paycheck. Living paycheck to paycheck usually means you have less than $1,000 in savings, or you have a thousand but can’t add to your savings. The consequence is that you could overdraw your account if you have an unexpected expense. Or, even worse, any upheaval (unforeseen expense) would contribute to your debt if you had to use a credit card.
Here’s another problem with living paycheck to paycheck. You may not be comfortable setting up automatic bill payments. This is understandable since you don’t want to deal with overdraft fees. But, at the same time, non-payment of an invoice can lead to late fees. And according to FICO’s Credit Damage Fact Sheet, missing just one bill can lower your credit score by 180 points.
Any other red flags?
- Impulse spending is impossible to control.
- You don’t understand your cash flow.
- You find it difficult to save and plan ahead.
Using your online calendar for budgeting
A budget calendar could be the solution to your budgeting problems. It can also ensure that invoices are paid on time. And if they can fix the backup issues.
The best of all? Using your calendar doesn’t have to be so complicated. You can have one up and running in minutes. And from there, you can easily follow the schedule to keep your finances in order.
Find, make, buy or create a calendar.
In terms of budget calendar format, you have a few options.
You could go old school and use a paper calendar. However, there are also apps designed explicitly for budgeting. These include Virtual Wallet, CalendarBudget or Moneydance. Or, you can download templates from OnPlanners or MyMoneyCoach.
But let’s say you already have your work and personal life on an online calendar. Then you can also use it for budgeting. You may want to create aseparateschedule just for your budget so it doesn’t get cluttered.
Know what to track.
There is no need to create a complex calendar budget. But, at the very least, you should record your income and expenses. Automated savings can also be tracked. Automatic savings tracking really helps because you see your money start to grow and it inspires you.
- Revenue. Whether you get paid weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or once a month, you will need to keep track of your payday(s) and note how much you expect to be paid.
- Invoices. You’ll need to add their due dates and amounts to your calendar to know which bills to pay with which paycheck. Be sure to include all your fixed expenses. Examples include mortgage/rent, utilities, debt repayments and subscriptions. And don’t overlook irregular bills like vehicle registration. Always overestimate these variable expenses. Prevention is better than cure.
- Automated savings. If you withdraw that money before you spend it, you’ll be much more successful in saving than if you wait to save what may be left over after you’ve completed payments and spending. After setting up your savings automation, add them to your calendar to see how your finances are doing.
Add special occasions and holidays.
Depending on the time of year, each month will be different. However, a budget calendar isn’t complete without including special events, holidays, and birthdays.
Why? You will remember to include these expenses in your budget by doing this. Then you can plan accordingly for hosting parties or buying gifts for holidays, birthdays or weddings.
Leave room for the non-essential.
“What’s life without a little fun?” asks Abby Miller in a previous Calendar article. “Your online calendar can help you have a lot of fun: enough to keep you happy and motivated, but not enough to spend all your money at once.”
Think about what you most want to experience. “Maybe it’s a vacation in Tahiti, or maybe you want to hike the Appalachian Trail,” she adds. If you plan ahead, you won’t have to spend a fortune.
“Mark the event itself on your calendar, of course, and add milestones,” advises Abby. “A good way to do this is to attach them to your existing savings reminders.” For example, you can reserve 5% of your salary for emergencies and 2% for experiments.
“What if you find it hard to make impulse spending? Setting aside a few days each month where you can stretch your budget a bit is a good strategy. You can indulge at the beginning of each month, for example, right after you get your paycheck and work is busy.
Color code your calendar.
It can be easier to stick to your budget by adding color to your calendar. Organizing your calendar visually with a color code is possible in several ways:
- Different paychecks. To indicate which bills each paycheck will cover, you can use a different color for each paycheck.
- Classify expenses according to their types. For example, using one color for monthly bills, you can use another color for savings transfers.
- Assign invoices. You can use a common color-coded budget calendar if you share expenses with another person. Each person identifies who is responsible for which bill.
You can’t just set a budget calendar and forget about it. Instead, you should review it and review it often, just as you would other financial aspects. But, how often should you do it?
Keep your calendar up to date at at least as often as you get paid. The advantage of this strategy is that you can plan your money right away. You can also make timely adjustments to your schedule with each paycheck.
For example, suppose you made additional payments on your student loans. Unfortunately, your car’s transmission is going kaput. As a result, you need to purchase a new vehicle. So, you will have to save for a down payment instead of putting extra money into your student loans.
But here’s the beauty of using an online calendar for budgeting. First, you can set up reminders so you don’t forget. Then, again, you might get a notification each time you get paid. Also, I would recommend setting a monthly reminder to make sure you’re on track and making any necessary changes.
Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko; pexels; Thanks!
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