6 Easy Methods to Use a Bullet Journal to Handle Your Cash

As a substitute of selecting from the dizzying array of on-line budgeting instruments, right here’s a novel thought: The most effective resolution to holding observe of your cash could also be writing every little thing down with pen and paper.  

The bullet journal — or BuJo, for brief — is an analog organizational system that may enable you to discover the “calm within the chaos” (no less than, in accordance with the official bullet journal web site).

What units the bullet journal aside from different lookalikes is it’s fully customizable. Every web page has tiny bullets to make use of as a information to trace no matter you need. You possibly can set objectives, write down to-do lists and observe your funds multi function place. 

Not like with pre-designed planners, bullet journal cash administration lets you create spreads on your explicit monetary objectives and duties, together with the visuals that may most encourage you to achieve them. 

So if you wish to purchase a home, for example, you possibly can shade every brick of a home as you save for a down cost. 

And in case you’ve ever missed a reminder amid the fixed pings from the calendar in your cellphone, you’ll admire that bullet journals provide a bodily, visually pleasing various for monitoring your payments.

And also you don’t must be artistic to get began. 

Methods to Begin a Bullet Journal Funds

As a result of the bullet journal is what you make it, there are an infinite quantity of choices for the way it can assist you handle your cash. 

To start out with, you’ll want an index (aka desk of contents) to keep away from flipping by countless pages of your journal every time you wish to take a look at your price range.

Relying on the kind you employ, your journal could include a couple of pages on the entrance pre-designed for an index or you possibly can merely create your individual. Give you a listing of preliminary concepts — no worries in case you’re undecided about every little thing you wish to cowl, as you possibly can all the time add extra pages or sections to the index later. 

And since a bullet journal is so customizable, you possibly can handle your individual particular drawback areas or objectives. 

Professional Tip

Should you’re getting overwhelmed by concepts you see on Pinterest and Instagram, overlook the gildings and simply observe your bills and objectives in a format that’s simple to comply with and keep.

Do you should be higher about sticking to a price range? Do you should repay debt? Do you might have some huge financial savings objectives? Nice! There’s a bullet journal “unfold” (official lingo) for that.

Alicia Geigel teaches bullet journaling workshops at Whim So Doodle in St. Petersburg, Florida. She sometimes shares format concepts to get folks snug with monitoring their lives each personally and professionally on paper. Now she’s discovering persons are involved in utilizing the bullet journals for his or her private funds.

She not too long ago used her journal to save lots of $2,500 for a visit to Italy.

“Since I do it each night time and attempt to make it a part of my routine, it simply jogs my memory of the trail I’m making an attempt to save lots of on,” Geigel stated. 

Should you’re feeling overwhelmed or a bit stumped, now we have some concepts to get you began.

1. Month-to-month Funds Tracker

A bullet journal can be utilized to trace month-to-month bills. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Seeing the place you intend to spend and the place you really spend your cash every month is an effective strategy to begin your budgeting journey.

You possibly can break down your price range into classes, beginning with the unavoidables (payments, lease, fuel and the like) and work ahead from there. Embrace every little thing, proper right down to your Spotify subscription and the truth that every now and then you simply want to order the costlier pizza.  

One choice is making a month-to-month price range unfold in bars. That means, you possibly can visually gauge your price range primarily based on the week of the month. Colour within the bar every time you spend, and also you’ll have a easy visible illustration of how a lot you might have left in that class. 

On the finish of the month, add up your complete spending in comparison with your complete price range. To create slightly inside competitors (as a result of who doesn’t like wins?), write your complete spending on subsequent month’s price range web page, then see in case you can spend rather less. 

Put the additional cash saved towards greater objectives, like paying off pupil mortgage debt or saving up a down cost for a home. 

Another choice for the quantity lovers: Create an expansion that appears identical to a checkbook, then write down your scheduled payments on the left and document bills on the fitting. Each time you spend cash, deduct it out of your stability. This technique will maintain you accountable and assist stop unwelcome surprises once you take a look at your checking account. 

2. Invoice Tracker

a topdown view of an open bullet journal

Create a easy grid to trace your month-to-month payments. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

This unfold is ideal for the forgetful particular person.

Should you’re continuously writing down reminders to your self (assume: All. These. Sticky. Notes.), a invoice tracker must be a should in your BuJo monetary technique. 

One concept for a invoice tracker is to create a big-picture unfold that stretched from now by the subsequent a number of months. 

Begin by going again by your financial institution and bank card statements to be sure you rely each invoice you pay every month. Then draw your grid, ensuring to incorporate an area for the quantity, the due date and whether or not or not you’ve paid it but. 

Depart a couple of further containers on the backside of my tracker in case you should add an additional line merchandise or two over the subsequent a number of months. 

Put your month-to-month payments in a single unfold, and your quarterly and annual payments collectively in a separate tracker. As you pay every invoice, examine the field so you possibly can see at a look which of them nonetheless must be addressed. 

three. Spending Tracker

Should you’re fairly good about sticking to your price range and paying off your debt (or in case you have no debt!), you could determine to not use a spending tracker each month. 

Typically, although, you may wish to add a spending tracker into your weekly or month-to-month part for a monetary reboot of kinds. Should you really feel like your funds are getting slightly uncontrolled in any given month, it helps to see precisely when and the way you’re spending each greenback. It may be fairly an eye-opening expertise.

Professional Tip

Should you see you’ve spent an excessive amount of half means by the month, don’t surrender. Create a mini spending tracker that comes with the remaining price range for the rest of the month.

The spending tracker has a number of flexibility in the way you select to set it up, however the principle issues to incorporate are an area to jot down the merchandise/meals/expertise bought, the shop/venue the place you bought it from, the date, the fee, what kind of cost you used and whether or not it was a need or a necessity. 

After a month — or perhaps a week — of monitoring your spending, you could begin to see patterns and drawback areas that you simply in any other case won’t pay attention to.

four. Financial savings Tracker

A hand-drawn jar that is partially shaded in is used to track a savings goal.

Easy strategies like a jar can be utilized to trace a financial savings objective. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

This one is essentially the most thrilling of the monetary trackers (in our opinion, anyway). 

Whereas the entire different BuJo trackers enable you to watch your paycheck dwindle away every month, the financial savings objective tracker will get you amped every time you get to fill in slightly extra of that bar as a result of you realize you’re one step nearer to that dream trip or that new, extra-deep sofa you possibly can’t wait to curve up on. 

One concept for a financial savings tracker: Give every objective its personal horizontal or vertical bar. As you progress cash to your financial savings, shade within the applicable quantity of the bar for the financial savings objective you’re working towards. Some objectives is perhaps small, and a few is perhaps big — however you possibly can transfer the larger, unfinished objectives from journal to journal as you fill every e book. 

Want slightly extra visible enticement? Decide an object that motivates you to save cash. Is it a jar? A piggy financial institution? 

Design a financial savings objective you possibly can observe visually. Every time you set cash in your financial savings account, shade in a portion of the item. It’s fairly satisfying to finish the image as you attain your objective. 

5. Debt Payoff Tracker

Detail of a line graph

Line graphs are a easy however visible technique for monitoring debt. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

OK, so this one’s fairly enjoyable, too. 

Who doesn’t get slightly thrill each time you go above and past your typical debt funds?

To trace pupil loans, for example, create an expansion with one giant bar so you possibly can see precisely how far you need to go. Then, make a number of smaller bars so you possibly can break down the overall into extra manageable — and fewer discouraging — items. 

Want extra motivation? Mark time-oriented goalposts alongside the edges of the bars so that you’ve got slightly self-imposed incentive to repay a certain quantity by a sure time. The goalposts additionally function a reminder to allocate further and cents to your debt payoff every time there’s cash left over on the finish of the month. 

Should you’re managing a number of money owed, take into account drawing a line graph to chart your debt payoff. Create a line on your bank cards, mortgage or automobile mortgage — as you pay them down, mark your progress on the graph. 

Seeing the road go down may give you an additional push to pay it off sooner. 

6. Extra Concepts for Your Bullet Journal Funds 

A woman writes in a bullet journal.

Nelani Palomino tracks the variety of occasions she makes use of her Disney Silver annual go together with her bullet journal. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

As you possibly can see, there are a number of methods to trace your funds. However don’t cease on the conventional budgets. Take a look at how these three girls’s bullet journal price range concepts helped them attain their cash objectives.

Strive a no-spend problem by making a calendar. Test off the times you didn’t spend cash. Even in case you have a setback, by seeing your successes on paper, you’ll wish to do it extra usually! 

Or use a behavior tracker to higher gauge how your routines have an effect on your funds. Let’s say you wish to pay payments on time. Acknowledge once you do it by filling in a field. The extra containers you see, the extra it encourages the behavior. 

One of many nice advantages of utilizing a behavior tracker in your bullet journal is that you may begin to see patterns you might need missed earlier than (like these budget-breaking completely happy hours that sneak in round mid-week).

Keep in mind, there isn’t a proper or fallacious means to make use of a bullet journal. Determine what works finest for you. Earlier than you realize it, you’ll see how a lot enjoyable managing your cash might be. 

Grace Schweizer is a employees author and Christie Publish is a former supervising producer at The Penny Hoarder. Workers author/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed to this story.

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