How To Make A Budget Calendar That Will Work For You
Trying to stay on top of our finances could be a great challenge especially when we’re busy with making ends meet every single day. We simply don’t have the ability to be thinking about everything all at once. Even if we somehow managed to, it’d be extremely tiring to keep that up.
So to prevent things (financial progress) from falling through the cracks during turbulent periods, you have to plan your finances ahead. And a financial calendar can help you achieve that.
Let’s just be honest, just like a daily checklist, having these things on the calendar makes it more likely to get done and less likely to be forgotten about.
What is a budget calendar?
A budget calendar aims to help you better plan for the foreseeable future. These are money-costing events such as a vacation, a wedding, or a huge purchase. In some sense, a budget calendar is creating a budget on the calendar.
Above what it can do on the surface, which is to help you reduce budget challenges, it can also help you to achieve your financial goals.
Why do you need a budget calendar?
Here are 3 reasons why you need to use a budget calendar:
1. A visual reminder of when your bills are due
Back to the first concept, when we’ve got a lot on our plate, we tend to miss all sorts of things that we’re supposed to do. One of these is payments, which can then lead to all sorts of ramifications such as impacting your credit score.
2. Helps you plan ahead
Due to the fact that our pockets have finite depths, we cannot expect ourselves to be able to withdraw huge numbers for that huge purchase within a short period of time. That’s where planning comes in. Knowing how much money you need for those events allows you to be well-prepared for them.
3. Break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle
To be brutally truthful, many of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Not because we want to, but we just aren’t as lucky as some others, and it’s a tough cycle to break. However, what if we can?
Firstly, a budget calendar forces you to be extremely aware of where your money is going and when it arrives. That’s already one step ahead. Secondly, it acts like a wedding bell that pushes you into adopting a habit of saving. Take that another step further and automate your saving schedule. Spend what is left after saving, not the other way around.
Once you see the money growing, you’ll be even more motivated to stick with it and make even bigger goals.
What to include in your budget calendar?
Of course, it heavily depends on the goals that you’re aiming for, but for a general idea, here are 4 items that you should have in your budget calendar:
- Income: Include your paychecks. Be prepared if you’re planning to switch jobs.
- Payments: Include every kind of payment, especially for debt payments as it’s beneficial for you to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
- Bills: Rent, utilities, Netflix subscription, groceries, entertainment budget
- Savings goals: Write this in a bigger font as a reminder to yourself. We’re all striving towards that end goal and it really does keep us going during tough times.
How to review your financial calendar?
Owing to the fact that our lives are constantly changing, our budget calendar ought to as well. That’s where reviewing your budget calendar and adapting it is key.
How often should you review it?
Once or twice a month is enough. While adapting is crucial, making too many changes will equate to having no strategy for the long run.
Set reminders at the end of every month to ping you to review your calendar so that you never forget to check in. Alternatively, use calendar reminders to remind you of how you’re progressing with it. A plan is only as good as the follow-through, so make it your mission to ensure that it becomes a reality.
Budget calendar options
We all learn and work differently, so naturally, there is no ‘best way’ to set up a budget calendar. And thanks to technology, we’ve got a few more options to choose from.
- Paper planner: Good old fashion paper, what is there to say about it?
- Templates: There are plenty of financial planning templates online now, just google the term ‘budget templates’ and you’ll find plenty. Have it printed and simply fill in the blanks.
- Digital calendar: This is where it gets interesting. Some companies like Long Game and Qapital took the personal finance idea so seriously that they decided to gamify it. It really does make a real difference as it changes the entire dynamics of personal finance from the dry and boring into a fun and exciting endeavour.
Using a budget calendar is not the end-all answer to your financial problems. But it will give you a sense of awareness and responsibility, hence, leverage this approach to stay on top of your finances and achieve your goals.