Beginner Budgeting


It is possible! One thing my dad has always emphasized now that I have graduated college is budgeting. Time, money, all of it. While he’s always been there to help me through it, I’ve tried to mostly figure it out on my own.

I’m a visual person, so writing things down works to help me remember the important things. So I made my own budgeting binder. It includes my expected income and expenses vs actual and I sit down to balance it at the end of every month. While not necessary, it helps me to write down every single thing I buy over a month’s time. This way, at least for the first few months, I can track exactly what I’m spending.

In my budgeting binder, I have four separate pages. One tracks every purchase I make, including the date, what category (gas, groceries, dates, etc.), how much spent, and the store where I spent money. Get my expense tracker here.

The next page keeps track of my income. Sometimes I get checks from multiple jobs, so it helps me to keep track of who’s paying me when. Or if I get a random check from a family member for the holidays, I can also put it here! Get my income tracker here.

The third page includes my expected income from various sources (I sometimes hold more than one job) in one column then the actual income that I can figure out at the end of the month. Underneath that I have varying spending categories that I change month to month based on what I expect to be doing that month. For example in October I had a category for commuting, since I used the train to get back and forth from work. Once I switched jobs in November, I started driving to work and no longer needed to budget for train tickets or metro cards. I always have an expected vs actual column so I can add it up at the end of the month and see how much over or under my budget I was. Get my monthly budget tracker here.

My last page is basically just to keep track. Although I do not have many bills to pay yet, I still sometimes get in a panic mode during the month trying to remember if I paid a certain bill. But when I have this page, I just check off which bill I paid as I go. This helps me to keep track of my bill payments so I can worry about other things. Get my bill tracker here.

I am definitely no budgeting expert, but visually being able to see what I am spending actually helps me to save money and makes me feel less worried about looking at my bank account. Here’s to becoming an adultier adult!