Do you have that awful sinking feeling each month when the bills come in? Will there be enough money in my account at the end of the month? Can I afford to pay all the bills? Do I have any money left over for treats this month?
If those questions sound familiar, chances are you aren’t using a budget planner. I think using a budget planner is a great way to keep on top of your finances – it allows you to make sure you’ve got enough money left at the end of the month to cover your bills, and gives you a chance to predict and budget for your high-spending months.
Also, it will let you know when you’ve got any spare cash – perhaps you can award yourself a treat if you manage a month with spare cash after paying bills and putting away your savings.
There are loads of free printable budget planners available to download, so I’ve collected some of my favorites here. All you need to do is choose a planner, download it, print it out and start tracking your finances. Once you get into the habit of tracking your expenses you’ll find it’s easy and makes the end of each month much less stressful!
When you’re starting out and filling in the budget categories in your planner, don’t forget to put in the little things that you don’t necessarily budget for (coffees, snacks from the gas station, etc) categories, as well as the larger regular bills and expenses. You can use a misc. category for the small things as long as they’re accounted for in your budget and you know what they are!
Some of the budget templates below enable you to print your own envelopes, which you can use for the cash envelope method of keeping to your budget.
This involves creating one envelope for each of your budgeting categories, and keeping the budgeted monthly amount of cash for that category in the envelope. Then use only the cash from the envelopes, (not your credit card!), when you’re shopping.
It might take a few months to fine-tune the amount of cash you need in each envelope, but it’s a great system once you get it going.
In no particular order, here are my favourite free monthly budget printables:
1. Home Finance Printables from The Harmonized House Project
This is an excellent package of printables for sorting out your home finances. It includes multipurpose labels, binder labels and tags, annual budget, debt worksheet, monthly budgets, bank accounts, tax deductions and more.
They are available as editable PDF templates and also as straightforward printables from the page in the link below – click on the picture of each one to get the printable, and on the DOWNLOAD link for each one to get the editable PDF.
2. Free Printable Budget Worksheet from Printable Crush
This is a brilliant little worksheet – simple but easy to use, with loads of pre-defined categories. If you pay a few dollars you can get it in an editable form so you can customise it before printing out.
Scroll down to the large “DOWNLOAD” in pink to get the free printable – the editable version is available elsewhere on the same page.
3. Free Monthly Budget Template from Frugal Fanatic
I love the fact that this one comes with a choice of colours and fonts.
4. Monthly Budget Printable Sheets and Money Envelopes from Frugal Mom Eh
This is a whole system in one – lovely pretty envelopes and a monthly budget sheet, which comes with clear instructions.
5. DIY Cash budget Envelopes from The Thinking Closet
If you have some fancy card, this download comes with detailed instructions on how to create your Cash Budget Envelopes.
6. Family Budget Worksheet from A Mom’s Take
This is a great colourful template, with the categories all put in ready for use. Also nice clear instructions on how to use it.
7. Free Cash Envelope Templates from Savor and Savvy
There’s a choice of two designs (“Modern Dots” or “Branches and Leaves”) that you can download and print on light card to create some lovely cash envelopes. Also, there are some really good detailed instructions, with photos, on how to make the envelopes.
8. Budget Binder Printables from Single Moms Income
Here is a no-nonsense set of budgeting templates that you can download and print. They’re blank so you can fill in your own categories.
9. Family Binder Budgeting Printables from Clean and Scentsible
This is another complete budgeting system with clear instructions on how to use the printables and tips on how to take control of your budget. The budget printables come in two formats – one with the categories pre-filled for you, and a blank one where you can write in your own categories.
10. Monthly Budget Google Doc from Calizfornia
This is a pretty, feminine monthly budget printable. You can download and print it just as it is, or you can edit it as a Google doc and create your own version with your categories. (I had to change the heading font when I put it in into my Google Docs, but it was easy to find a suitable replacement from the fonts I have).
Ultimate List of Budget Categories
Some of the printables and templates above come with pre-defined categories for you to fill in, but some of them are blank for you to write in your own categories. If you want to see a big list of categories to choose from, have a look at this list of over 50 budget categories:
Of course it’s up to you what level of category you include in your monthly budget – for some a category of “Groceries” might be enough to record how much money is spent on food, but I think I might be tempted to break it down further – perhaps “Groceries – Household (cleaning)”, “Groceries – Food at home” and “Groceries – Packed lunches” might help to pinpoint where money could be saved.
I hope you found the above list of budget printables and templates useful – perhaps you’ll be able to combine elements of more than one.
Have you tried any of the above printables? If so, please leave a comment and let me know how you got on. Or, if you have a favourite free monthly budget printable that I’ve missed, do please let me know.
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