If organizing your finances seems overwhelming — don't worry, it's simpler than it sounds. Whether you're saving up for a dream holiday, or just trying to have a little more money left at the end of the month, this guide is what you need to take control of your finances.
Keep reading to find out how to reach financial stability, avoid debt, and start saving up for your dreams with our free money management templates.
Three simple steps to financial freedom
Follow these three essential steps and learn how to plan your budget, track your expenses, and reach your saving goals faster.
1. Plan your budget with the 50/30/20 rule
By planning your budget every month or quarter, you can calculate how much money you have coming in, what you're spending, and how much you could save.
Whether your goal is building an emergency fund or saving up for a family holiday — creating a budget helps you refocus on your financial goals. This way you can plan your spending with your priorities in mind.
With a good budget plan, you can also see how much you could save each month, making it easy to set big financial goals and create a realistic saving plan.
How to build a budget with the 50/30/20 rule?
To plan your budget, you first need to calculate how much money you've got coming in from all your sources of income. Other than your salary, is there any passive income you're receiving? Or maybe you know you'll be getting a bonus this month?
Start with essential expenses like rent, utilities, insurance premiums, and debt repayments. According to the 50/30/20 rule, a budget planning method designed for better debt control and smarter spending, you should dedicate around 50% of your income to these essentials.
The second step is to plan how much you want to save. You should aim for around 20% of your income. As Warren Buffet says: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving". So, if saving is your priority, it's a good idea to decide how much you want to set aside before planning other expenses.
Finally, decide how much you want to spend on non-essentials like eating out, subscriptions, or travel. These should be no more than 30% of your total budget.
Free budget planner template
While building a budget may seem complicated, with the right tools, it becomes simple. This customizable budget planner comes with tables for three main spending categories — needs, wants, and savings — to help you get started.
You can easily add or remove items to cover all your expense categories, creating a holistic overview of your financial situation and spending habits. This helps you make sure that your budget reflects your priorities and gets you closer to your financial goals.
2. Track your expenses to make sure you stick to your budget
Planning how much you want to spend is not enough — you also need to make sure that you stick to your plans. That's why you should start tracking your expenses.
By keeping tabs on what you're spending, you can identify and take control of your spending habits. For example, you might be subscribed to a streaming service you rarely use, or often buy expensive clothes you don't need.
Having this knowledge helps you cut unnecessary expenses and identify opportunities for saving. By canceling subscriptions you don't need, or giving up expensive lattes, you can start setting money aside for what really matters to you.
Track your expenses with the free budget planner
With this free budget planner, you can both build a budget and keep tabs on it by tracking your expenses.
All you need to do is add your purchases to the tables in the three essential categories, and you'll see the totals calculated for you. This way you can take control of your spending, and make sure you always stick to the budget.
3. Set realistic saving goals to reach them faster
Once you've created your budget plan and decided what expenses you can cut — you're ready to set achievable financial goals and start saving up for your dreams.
By learning how much you could save each month, you can set a realistic timeframe for your goals, and turn your aspirations into a plan of action. You should also make sure to keep tabs on your progress and track your deposits to stay motivated and focused on your goals.
And, if the clock is ticking for any of them — you can figure out how much you need to save each month and adjust your budget accordingly.
Free saving goals template
With this customizable template, you can easily set realistic saving goals, create a plan of action, and track your progress to achieve them faster.
Using a system of cards and pages, you can add all the items you need and keep them organized in one space. Having this holistic overview helps you build a budget that reflects your saving goals.
You can also easily keep track of your progress with deposit log tables. All you need to do is put down your scheduled and actual deposit, and the difference or surplus will calculate automatically. This helps you plan how much more you need to find in your budget next month or quarter to make sure you stay on track.
Follow these three essential steps and try our free money management templates to get started on your journey to financial freedom. Plan, track, and set realistic goals to make sure you always have money in the budget to pay all your bills and book your dream holiday.