Keep Track of Your Budget Calendar
We keep track of so many things with the calendar: appointments, appointments, trips, birthday reminders, social plans – why not our budget? It’s easy to overlook the budget calendar as a personal finance tool, but it offers a unique visual approach to your finances that isn’t always found in an app or spreadsheet.
What is a budget calendar?
It’s like a regular calendar, but with every bill due, rent, and income check so you can see what comes and goes when it happens. Calendars can be found in finance apps (Doughroller has a nice breakdown of calendar-based apps ), or make them look like Google Calendar , orcreate them by hand on a giant whiteboard or paper. It might seem odd to rely on printouts in 2020, but one of the benefits of this approach is that it’s not an app. Attachments are easy to ignore , while a printout pinned to a corkboard or displayed on a refrigerator is much more difficult to avoid.
Budget calendars are especially useful when you live paycheck to paycheck. If you diligently record expenses, over time you may discover patterns of unexpected expenses at intervals you might not have noticed before, such as an expensive haircut every few months or travel to a wedding.
How to create your budget calendar
You will need to start with a proper budget that takes into account income and expenses . Start by adding recurring expenses to your calendar at their maturity date along with a short description. Do the same for income, but in this case you will add dates when you will be paid. You can also enable a field for your total balance for a specific day or every few days. Once this is set up, you will have a better understanding of your cash flow and can choose the right time to automatically make payments to your accounts.
You don’t have to go into details and enter information about every coffee you buy – instead, it might be easier to estimate your food costs each week and adjust as needed. By sticking to the calendar, you will be motivated and disciplined to achieve your long-term financial goal as each day will be a visual reminder of your success. And achieving that long-term goal while staying on budget can be very rewarding.