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How to budget {and some free printables}

If you're looking to start the new financial year off on the right foot, June is a great time to get prepared. The first of July brings the opportunity of a fresh financial start and these free printables will help you set out a budget to begin on the first of July.


How to budget

First things first, get yourself a binder to collect all of your paperwork. Then follow the next five easy steps to create your first monthly budget:


Budget Planner Binder


STEP ONE | CREATE A BILL SCHEDULE

In order to put a budget together, you need to know exactly what you're paying in regular bills. Print out the Monthly Bill Schedule and the Non-Monthly Bill Schedule.


Then, gather together information about your regular bills: paper statements, emailed invoices and bank statements (look back over the past three months for anything you may have missed such as app payments).


Ideas for your list include:

HOUSING Mortgage | Rent

TRANSPORT Car payments | CTP green slip | Rego

UTILITIES Phone | Internet | Electricity | Gas | Water rates | Council rates

INSURANCE Life | Home | Car | Health

ENTERTAINMENT Pay TV | Other entertainment subscriptions | Apps

EDUCATION School fees | Extra-curricular fees and memberships

PERSONAL Gym memberships | Subscriptions

DEBT REPAYMENTS Loans | Credit cards


Monthly Bill Schedule free printable

On the Monthly Bill Schedule, list your regular monthly bills:

DUE enter the date the bill is due (eg: 12th or last)

BILL the name of the bill (eg: Telstra)

NOTES anything else such as which account it’s paid from

ACCOUNT NUMBER your account number or name with that supplier

USERNAME if you have one for your account with that supplier

PASSWORD if you have one for your account with that supplier

METHOD how you pay the bill (eg: direct debit, bank transfer, credit card)

BALANCE as at 1 July, if there is one

AMOUNT the amount that is paid each month if there is a set amount; or if there isn’t a set amount, you can leave it blank or put an average amount



Non-Monthly Bill Schedule free printable

On the Non-Monthly Bill Schedule, list your regular bills that you pay weekly, quarterly, bi-annually or yearly:

CYCLE how often you need to pay this bill (eg: quarterly)

DUE when it’s due, if applicable (eg: Mondays or February)

BILL the name of the bill (eg: life insurance)

NOTES anything you need to note such as the account from which it’s paid



STEP TWO | CREATE A MONTHLY BILL REGISTER

The Monthly Bill Register keeps track of your bill payments so that you won’t ever miss a payment. You can also easily check back to see when a bill was paid, if you need to.


Monthly Bill Register free printable

DUE the date it’s to be paid (eg: 15th) or the cycle (eg: quarterly)

BILL the bill name (eg: car insurance)

AMOUNT the amount that is due in whatever cycle it’s due. For example, if your life insurance is $32 due weekly, write ‘Weekly’ in the DUE column and ‘$32’ in the AMOUNT column.


Then, as each payment is made, write the date it was made or place a tick in each month’s column. Note that for payments that are not due each month, such as quarterly bills, just put a line through the months they’re not due. And for those payments that are due weekly, you could perhaps put the dates they’re paid or even just a tick for each payment made in that month.



STEP THREE | TRACK YOUR INCOME

Tracking your income is particularly important for those of you who have irregular income but even if your income is fairly regular, tracking it is still a very important part of your budget process. It determines how much you can spend and when.


Income Tracker free printable

Complete the Income Tracker as follows:

DATE write the calendar or financial year this form relates to

INCOME what the income is for (eg: full-time job, second job, side business, tax return, investment earnings etc)


Then write the after-tax amount you earned in the column of the month you received it and calculate the totals at the bottom.


Make sure you include every single bit of income you receive. Scan through your bank statements to make sure you pick up on all income you've received. Now you have an income amount to work with when creating your monthly budget.



STEP FOUR | LIST YOUR VARIABLE EXPENSES

Your variable expenses are pretty much anything you spend money on that doesn’t fall into the regular bill categories. The amount you spend on them varies from purchase to purchase. Generally, you have a lot more control over how much you spend on variable expenses so these are the areas where you can cut back on your spending in order to save more.


Variable Expenses free printable

To help you identify what your variable expenses are, look through your receipts and over your bank statements to see where else you spend your money.


Some ideas to look for are:

TRANSPORT petrol, vehicle repairs, vehicle service, public transport

FOOD groceries, takeaway, eating out

ENTERTAINMENT alcohol, games, movies and events, holidays

CLOTHING adult clothes, kids' clothes

MEDICAL doctor, dentist and specialist appointments, pharmaceuticals

EDUCATION uniforms, fees, excursions, school supplies

HEALTH uniforms, equipment

HOME mortgage payments, rent, repairs and maintenance, furnishings

PERSONAL hair and beauty treatments, cosmetics

GIFTS & DONATIONS birthdays, Christmas, other gifts, charity

SAVINGS holiday savings, Christmas savings, other savings


Sort them into categories and list them on the Variable Expenses printable. To determine how much you usually spend on these items, write the amount you spent on each item each month for the past four months. Then in the last column calculate the average. These amounts will help you when setting out your budget.



STEP FIVE | SET YOUR MONTHLY BUDGET

The first budget you do will take the longest but you’ll find that it will become quicker and easier each time. Print out your first Monthly Budget printable and, follow these three steps:


Monthly Budget free printable

1. Using your Income Tracker, write down the types of income you expect to receive next month under 'Income' and the amount you expect to receive in the 'Budget' column. Or, if your income varies, write down the income you received last month and budget to that instead. This way you’re never living outside of your means. Calculate your income total and put that figure at the bottom of the column – your expenses will need to equal this amount exactly.


2. Using your Monthly Bill Schedule, your Non-Monthly Bill Schedule and your Variable Expenses sheets to help you, list your budget categories and the items within each category. Then write the amounts you will spend on each item next month in the 'Budget' column, ensuring the total at the bottom exactly equals your income total. In other words, every cent you earn will be spent (or saved). If you find that your expenses are greater than your income, you must cut back on the non-essential items until they zero out.


3. At the end of the month, calculate what you actually spent in each category and enter these amounts in the 'Actual' column. Then calculate and write down the 'Difference'.


Remember to track your spending throughout the month so that you can track exactly where your money goes. At the end of each month, review your budget and create a new one for the next month.


Now is the time to set yourself some goals to save towards, whether it’s an overseas holiday or just to pay off the mortgage sooner, budgeting is the way to achieve your financial goals.


Happy money planning!


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