Have you thought about creating a household budget planning worksheet? In another post we discussed some Simple Money Management Tips. Those tips were mainly a discussion of things that we can do when we need to cut back quickly from our regular routine.
Would it not be better to actually plan those shortfalls or emergencies into our budget? It is a good thing to plan for both short term goals and also long term goals. There are many things in life that we think we could not afford to do. If we do some planning however and make some good decisions on how we spend our money we may find that some of those dreams can indeed come true.
Ways to Manage Money Better
Many people hire professional financial experts, who make use of a household budget planning worksheet, as one of the easy tools, to teach their clients how to manage and budget their income. However, you don’t actually have to hire a financial expert to accomplish this task.
All you need to do is to be smart about managing your money and take advantage of the many free tools available to help you manage your money and budget for your personal & household needs.
The best way to start is to make use of the many budgeting worksheets available for free. It is so much easier to have everything written down and let it stare at you, rather than trying to only budget in your head. There are so many things that we daily store in our head that easily gets clogged and, as a result, we simply forget!
The first step to planning & budgeting money (personal & household) is to make a firm and real decision to do so. This is a long-term commitment and cannot be like our usual New Year’s resolutions that fade away after only a few weeks when we lose interest and resume our past behaviors.
The second step is to think about the different categories that encompass your first budget from planning for college to saving for retirement.
I (Glenda) remember the time when I used to only think of and try to pay my bills only on their due dates. Of course, by that time, I had spent most of my money on things that I couldn’t even remember, let alone if I really needed them! I am pretty confident that many of you out there probably have shared or do share this type of mindset. Unfortunately, if that is indeed the case, you have either already discovered, or will very soon discover, that it is absolutely impossible to live your life like that. Many who had embraced this practice have ended up waiting in line in front of the local Soup Kitchen! I don’t want to be one of them!
Create Free Budget Plans
There are numerous online sources that provide planning and budgeting worksheets, some for a fee and some for free. Yes, it could really be time-consuming and confusing to search and find one that is reputable, legit, and suitable for you. I (Glenda) can tell you that I personally use an honest website that has served me well – and it is absolutely free for you to take advantage of. It is called “SmartAboutMoney.org” and you can get all the planning and budget worksheets at the address below:
This is a very beneficial site. By following the outline that has been created for you, you can do everything from making better daily spending decisions to prepare for emergencies, to managing your debt to the life transitions that we all go through.
The hard work of preparing the actual specific topic worksheets is already done for you on this site and all you need to do is answer a few topic-related questions. You can save your answers and refer back to your worksheets as your financial status changes. Also, if you prefer, you can use it as a printable budget planner by printing out the worksheets and write on them with a pencil, so that you can erase and change the information as needed.
This site provides an array of much needed important personal and household worksheets for your specific planning and budgeting needs. Below are the categories, plus the related Worksheets contained in them, on this site:
- Daily Decisions… which contains Worksheets on: Emergency Fund, Plug Spending Leaks, Smart Goals, Spending Diary, Wants vs. Needs.
- Crisis and Emergencies… which contains Worksheets on: Debt Payoff, Debt Recovery, Know What You Owe, Plug Spending Leaks, Spending Diary, Wants vs. Needs.
- Debt Management… which contains Worksheets on: Debt Payoff, Debt Recovery, Know What You Owe.
- Life Transitions… which contains Worksheets on: Comparing Income and Expenses, Identifying Income, Set Priorities, Tracking Your Expenses.
- Work & Money… which contains worksheets on: Emergency Fund, Plug Spending Leaks, Smart Goals, Spending Diary, Wants vs. Needs.
As you can see for yourself above, some of the worksheets are repeated in different related categories for reasons of convenience for the user.
What Are Your Wants & Needs
I (Glenda) would pay a very special attention to the explanation that appears on top of the “Wants vs. Needs Worksheet” on the “SmartAboutMoney.org” website. It simply shows you the difference between what we all may perceive to be our “Needs” and yet they are just our “Wants” without our realizing it.
Below is the actual description/explanation on top of the “Wants vs. Needs Worksheet” by “SmartAboutMoney.org”…
“Knowing the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ is an important part of learning to manage money, especially in tough economic times.
It’s easy to spend money. What’s not so easy is spending money wisely. One way to help you spend wisely is to separate your needs from your wants, and spend money primarily on your needs.
Wants are nice to have but are not essentials: eating out, going to movies, text messaging, or getting the newest cell phone and ringtones.
Needs are the essentials, the basics of life that you must have to survive: food, housing, clothing. Some expenses that relate to your job (that is, your ability to pay for the basics) also are needs, such as transportation to and from work, and health care coverage to keep you well enough to go to work.
Before you buy something, ask yourself: ‘Do I need this item, or do I just want it?’ You may be surprised at how many things are actually ‘wants’.
List some of your needs in the spaces below. Try to think of needs that are immediate, as well as things you’ll need in the next several of months. Then, write down some wants. Are you starting to see the difference? Are there wants that you could do without?”
Why I Like Smart Goals
Another Worksheet that I (Glenda) really like on “SmartAboutMoney.org” is the Smart Goals worksheet. On this sheet, you list something that you want, the price, the number of months it will take to save up for the price, and the amount you need to save weekly and monthly to be able to purchase that item. Now isn’t that better than going in debt for the item and paying far more in interest?
All the worksheets on this site are simple common sense items. As stated before, when you have things written down and they are staring you in the face, it is easier to remember the things you need to.
The Moral of My Article
I (Glenda) was really encouraged to write this article as a result of having received so much interest on a related article I had written a while ago. That article Simple Money Management Tips provided a general overview of money management, but not the specific worksheets that are needed to put into action the discipline of managing money.
In this article, you actually do have links to the physical worksheets to in fact, take immediate action to accomplish your long-put-off money management planning and budgeting. I know, it is not something that you are not used to, but just think of the possible consequences of not taking action, such as the one I mentioned earlier about the Soup Kitchen!
So, what do you have to lose? Nothing at all! Because everything is completely free! So, please, do yourself and your beloved family a favor and see why it is so imperative to act now!
Thank you for visiting. Your comments are welcomed below.
Your friends who dare to care,
Jay and Glenda
photo credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net