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Monthly Budget – Revisited
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I recently started my own budget journey. It’s a few months in and lately it seems that I keep taking baby steps. Not in progress since I’m still overwhelmed with debt, but in understanding. I did a blog (with a free printable) that outlined how I thought I would be doing my monthly budget. However, as I’ve gone through a month, I realized that I need to tweak the process yet again. It isn’t about aesthetics but rather, as I go through each process a couple of times, I realize what works and what doesn’t. Its the natural progression for learning something new, but I’m impatient.
Since the majority of my ‘discretionary’ income (income I have after I pay all of my bills) is with the 2nd paycheck of the month, I’ve been treating my budget as a monthly budget vs. a bi-weekly budget. That worked when I wasn’t really doing a budget as I would make sure all of my bills were paid. Now that I am more aware of my money and actively (albeit slowly) working to pay down my debt, I’m realizing that I need to work my budget after each paycheck and not when I have the big chunk of discretionary funds. It makes it harder for me to reconcile what might have happened three weeks ago vs. what happened three days ago.
For May 2019, I plan to implement a bi-weekly budget review so that I’m tracking my budget every time I get paid. For the 1st paycheck of the month, it should be quick and direct as I have very little ‘discretionary’ funds available after I pay all the minimums on my credit cards and student loan. However, I think it’ll be cleaner for me to reconcile as I go as well as truly be able to recap the two paychecks at month end.
Although there are some who get paid every other week (which can result in 26 paychecks a year), I get paid on set days each month (which result in 24 paychecks each year). Fortunately the pay from my full-time job is fairly consistent so it makes it easier to figure out my budget in advance.
Budget Template Adjusted
I’ve created a new budget template that incorporates the mindset of tracking your budget on a bi-weekly basis. The monthly budget template I previously blogged about is still available (either budget or free printables tab) for your use. For those who get paid once a month, the monthly budget template would work perfectly. It would also make a great recap tracker for your monthly budget as you can sum totals from your weekly or bi-weekly budget trackers to include on the monthly budget tracker.
As of now, I’m hoping that this system works better for me and makes it easier for me to reconcile my numbers on a bi-weekly basis. I’m on a journey to becoming debt free and there are bound (and have had) missteps. In order to help you with your own budget journey, I’ve included a free pdf printable of my bi-weekly budget tracker. I prefer to draw mine out in my DIY Erin Condren/Happy Planner hybrid budget planner, but you could just as easily print out the template and save yourself some time. If you’re interested, check out my YouTube Channel video where I show I put together the budget planner system.
Free Bi-Weekly PDF Printable
Below you can print a free PDF of my Bi-weekly budget template. If you utilize a planner system, you can re-scale the template to a smaller size to fit in your planner. For Happy Planner, I can scale this templete to 85% and it would fit a classic sized planner. The mini works at 75% while a 100% works well for the Happy Planner Big. However, as all printers can be different, I’d recommend testing it out for your purposes.
Let me know what you think!
Download Free Printable: Bi weekly budget template_jojoza hanna