Regardless of if you fall in the love it or hate it camp when it comes to tracking your money, I think everyone will agree that it’s important to understand one’s personal finances.
Rather than just throw together a list of inspiring bullet journal budget and expense trackers, I’m doing so in a way that makes financial planning a practical process that'll cause the least amount of pain. The goal here is to make it as easy as possible to actually keep up with it, and hence being effective. The bottom line is that you need to know your money in order for you to be control over it instead of it control you.
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A concerning personal finance fact
Did you know that only 24% of millennials have basic financial literacy? This includes a basic understanding of budgeting, general banking, credit cards, debt, and investing. Of course, even fewer do anything about it. Yikes!
Let’s work to improve that stat through my simple 3-step process to getting a hold of your personal finances and a whole lot of bullet journal spread examples to help you do it.
Step 1. Know where you are financially
If you don’t know what your current situation is, how will you know how to make it better? To find out where you stand with your money exactly, you’ll need to figure out where it comes and goes. Here are some ideas to help you track this.
Bullet journal income tracker and spending tracker
Here’s a basic way to separate money coming in and going out. (via @christina77star)
Bullet journal where does my paycheck go spread
Perhaps as the next step up from the idea above or if you’re more familiar with your spending categories, record such expenses in the appropriate section. Calculate the total amount at the end of the month. You can use it to figure out the percentage, or just the simple color coding of your categories can help you visually see where you’re money is being spent. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal bill tracker
Create a separate table for each of your recurring bills so you can mark the payment total and date paid. (via @bulletjournalcollection)
Bullet journal utilities bill tracker
A more visual way to track your consumption levels of fluctuating bills can be recorded in a line graph form like so. (via @my_blue_sky_design)
Bullet journal subscription tracker
While you could use this for its original intent as a subscription tracker, you could also modify it to make sure that you pay all your monthly recurring bills. (via @my.life.in.a.bullet)
Step 2. Set financial goals
After you get a sense of your finances, it’s time to make goals. You always want to work towards improving your finances, and therefore quality of life.
Bullet journal Dave Ramsey total money makeover spread
Dave Ramsey is like a household name when it comes to tackling your money.
In this spread, I love how these goals are actionable steps that include ways to improve money habits, as well as physical savings goals. The main takeaway from this spread is that your goals don’t have to be lofty; they just have to move you from point A to a slightly better point B. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal debt tracker idea
One of the first things to work on that will definitely help your finances is to pay off debt.
By splitting your debt into smaller increments, the progress will keep you motivated to reach your goal of becoming debt-free. Here's a simple debt tracker idea. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal credit card tracker
Credit cards can either make you or break you. It’s all about understanding how to use credit cards wisely. The single, most important thing to remember about credit cards: pay off the FULL balance by the due date. If you only pay the minimum, you’re paying a whole lot in interest, which is totally unnecessary and very preventable.
With a spread like this, you can make sure you’re paying your credit card balance as well as see how much you’re spending month to month. (via The Petite Planner)
Bullet journal emergency fund spread
Another statistic to note is that two-thirds of Americans don’t even have $1000 in emergency funds, which is pretty scary. How easy it is to rack up unknown debt easily, like if you have car troubles or head to the ER.
You should definitely save up for an emergency fund for those unexpected circumstances. Here’s a fun Tetris tracker idea to motivate you to save up for it. (via @mycrazylifeilove)
Or here's another fun money-saving chart with randomized dollar amounts. Choose one tile each week, save that amount up, and in a year’s time, you’ll have $1,000. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal needs vs wants spread
I would do this spread after seeing how much outstanding debt and savings you have. Hopefully you’ll be more apt to cut corners with certain "luxuries" to reallocate for more necessary debt payoff or emergency savings.
That Starbucks latte you religiously order every day might revert to a weekly deal or homemade brew. You don’t need to necessarily give up the things you love, just find creative ways to save money, such as on groceries.
A simple spread for a simple concept. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal savings goal tracker bar graph and wishlist spread
There are many great visual ideas to motivate you to save up for things you may need, like a new laptop if yours is breaking down, or want, like a vacation.
This simple bar graph that you color in complements the wish list spread on the opposite page very nicely.
Bullet journal coin and piggy bank savings tracker
If you wanted something more visual, I have a free bullet journal budget printable that you can snag.
Click the image for the free coin and piggy bank printable in pdf. It'll be a blank template without the instructions. Enjoy!
Bullet journal vacation savings tracker
And for a trip, what’s more fitting than an actual landmark of the destination you are headed to so you can keep your eyes on the prize? Gotta love this Vegas spread. (via Little Coffee Fox)
Step 3. Keep going and improving!
Money is one of those things that you’ll need to consistently with. That doesn’t mean obsessing over it every second of the day, but being aware of your money situation and growing your savings while reducing your debt will only make your life easier and happier in the long run.
Bullet journal budget and expense log
Minimalism in your bullet journal money tracker will help remind you to keep things simple. Having a basic overview of your finances like this will make keeping up with your money a cinch. Keep track of the money in your bank accounts, your expenses, and set a savings goal each month. (via Pin source)
Bullet journal budget tracker with pocket envelope for receipts
It’s always a good idea to reflect on your activity in the month. This beautiful spread keeps your finances nicely in one place, with all your receipts, a financial overview, and a section to help you think about what worked and didn’t work with your habits so you can continue to improve. (via @journalbydesign)
When you gain more confidence with your money, you’ll see that your goals get bigger and bigger and you set yourself up to be more comfortable financially. Whereas in the beginning you might think about short-term goals, once you feel better with your money, you’ll think about the long term as well.
This could mean saving greater chunks for retirement savings, or thinking of ways to increase your income, such as through side hustles.
As intimidating as money can be, hopefully you’ve been convinced that it doesn’t have to be. These bullet journal budget and expense trackers will help you make better sense of your financial situation. Just remember these three simple steps:
- Step 1. Know where you are financially
- Step 2. Set financial goals
- Step 3. Keep going and improving!
Here's to you making your way to financial freedom and success!