Today, I shared some photos on my Instagram story about the budget binder Ben and I made last week. We wanted a simple way to keep better track of our finances, and a visual aid to keep track of bills and paychecks. We decided to get a 3-ring binder and make our own thing instead of just using a notebook or a planner. I didn’t find any templates on Pinterest that suited our needs, so I created all of these templates in Microsoft Word. We filled out some things on the computer, but left a lot of space to write in any extra things as they come up.
After I shared the photos, a lot of people messaged me asking if I could share the templates. I created a set of blank templates that you can print out! They were created in Microsoft Word, which is the worst, so they are saved as pdf files that you can fill out by hand. This is not a super detailed tracking system, but it is simple enough to actually use! A little structure is better than no structure, so I’m hoping that this binder will help us keep better track of our finances.
Disclaimer: I am sooo not an authority on finances! This is just a system we created to help us keep track of goals and monthly budgets and savings. If it will help you, great! If not, use something else! The first printable has a page for short and long term financial goals. If you have no idea what your goals are, Dave Ramsey has some great material that could be helpful. We are working on his “baby steps” that help guide you through paying off any debt you might have and allocating savings for specific things. That’s why the “Savings Ledger” printable has categories at the bottom. I left them blank but ours are “Emergency Fund” and “Monthly Expenses”. We don’t plan on sticking to every part of his program, but we’re working on steps 2 and 3! Again, if this is helpful for you then go for it. But if you have a better system or more specific goals then do what works for you!
If you would like to make your own budget binder, here are some printables to get you started!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
My binder has a cover page followed by three sections.
- Monthly Budget. This contains a monthly budget page on the left next to a calendar on the right for every month.
- Savings. There are 12 months of savings ledgers to keep track of deposits to our savings account and what they are set aside for. At the end of the month, we will tally up the final balance.
- Miscellaneous. I have a table of annual expenses and a chart that says when each of our bills are due. It isn’t necessary, but I thought it might be helpful to have. We added up our annual expenses (Things like car registration, Amazon Prime, and our dog’s haircuts and trip to the vet), then divided that total by 12. We have that number listed on our monthly budget as “Annual Expenses” and will deposit that amount into our savings account at the end of every month. This is so we’re preparing all year for the larger annual expenses like car insurance and car registration that don’t happen every month.
There is a single pdf file with all of the prints. If you’d like to print individual sections, the individual files are available. I designed the margins so that the budget tracker goes on the left and the calendar goes on the right for the monthly budget section. Hole-punch accordingly. 🙂
I didn’t combine the monthly budget and monthly calendar files so that you can print only what you need or think you will use. They both start at January but when you print you can start printing on page 4 for April! You’ll have to pair each month together from the two files if you want your binder to look like mine.
ALL PRINTABLES TOGETHER
If you’d like to print out everything together, here is a pdf file with all of the printables! It is from January-December for 2018 so you will waste a few pages unless you want to fill them out after-the-fact. You will have to sort the monthly budget and calendar pages to match up left and right, but this file has it all! It is not editable so everything will have to be handwritten. (Including your last name on the cover page)
Here are individual files for each section. They each start with January so you can print only April-December if you’d like.
BUDGET BINDER COVER (Cover and Financial Goals tracker)
2018 CALENDAR (pdf. January through December)
MONTHLY BUDGET PRINTABLE (January through December)
ANNUAL EXPENSES AND BILL TRACKER PRINTABLE (to slide in the back pocket of your binder. Helpful for us, but not absolutely essential!)
These are the supplies I used for our binder. (Disclaimer: These are affiliate links to Amazon, so I will receive a small percent commission of anything you purchase through these links even if it isn’t one of these items.)
Half Inch Binder with clear pocket on cover
Tab Dividers. Mine are from the dollar section of Target. You can make your own with cardstock or scrapbook paper!
Micron Pens for color coding that won’t bleed through paper
Money can be a point of stress for any marriage. We’ve found that money is only a stressful topic for us when we don’t communicate about actual numbers. This binder has helped us to be on the same page (literally hah) so that we are both informed about all of our financial details. It’s easy to have conversations about money when you have something in front of you with all of the information, instead of one person having to keep track of everything in his or her head.
My only financial advice for engaged and recently married couples is to communicate about your finances! I hope that these templates can be a tool to help facilitate stress-free communication about money. Second, money is not God. It just isn’t. We want to be good stewards of the resources we’re blessed with, so we seek to be responsible with our finances. We want to be responsible with our saving and spending so that we’re as freed up as possible to not worry about money. But! I put 1st Timothy 6:17-19 on the cover page as a constant reminder that our hope is not in wealth, but in God. He richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Our treasure is not on Earth. We are storing up treasure in heaven (which is referring to people coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior). That’s where our wealth is. Not in our savings account. So if you have enough money for your daily needs, but your savings account is slim, let me give you permission to be counter-cultural and not freak out about it. Should we be responsible and wise with our finances? Yeah. Should we worship the budget binder and bow down to our savings account? I don’t think so. We’re not swimming in cash, but we have abundantly more than we need thanks to the abundant provision of the Lord. We’re trying to be wise with the money we have, but we’re not running after more and more income to pad our bank accounts. We’re looking to build God’s Kingdom here on earth- not our own.
Money is important, but it is not the MOST important. Money is less stressful when it isn’t your god. Let God be God. Let money be a tool. Let this binder be a resource.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness,faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
1st Timothy 6:6-19
If you decide to use these printables, I’d love to see your binder! Share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #hollandavenuehome
P.S. Want to save this post for later? Hover over the photo below to save it on Pinterest!