Look. I get it. Adulting is hard. You’re stuck with all the responsibilities you didn’t have to think of as a kid. One being to manage your expenses so you don’t run out of money for food. One thing that might help is keeping track of it through a bullet journal budget tracker.
- 1 What Is A Bullet Journal Budget Tracker?
- 2 Getting To Know The Budget Tracker
- 3 How To Make Your Own Budget Tracker
- 4 Tips For a Better Budget Tracker
- 5 Conclusion
What Is A Bullet Journal Budget Tracker?
A Bullet Journal Budget Tracker is a collection in your bullet journal that will help you keep track of your finances. You can use it to track your spending in a set period of time to improve your own spending patterns.
I went around the web to get the most useful information on starting one for yourself. I also learned many benefits on how to save, as well as tips for making a better tracker.
If you need any ideas, feel free to scroll to the bottom for some of the more creative spreads around the bujo community.
I’ve recently made a new post on Bullet Journal Budget Tips. Find it here!
If you’re getting started with your bullet journal journey, having a good notebook is a great place to start. Check out our recommendations to get some info on notebooks, or you can go straight to the Scribbler Planet Notebook Shop for some awesome designs!
Getting To Know The Budget Tracker
So you need more money, huh. Don’t worry. We’re all in the same boat.
I’ve been doing this bullet journal thing for a while now, and despite my desperation for dough, it has only occurred to me now to track my spending through my bullet journal.
It seems as though that is the case for you as well.
So I did a quick search. As with the beginning of all my research for information regarding bullet journals, my screen was inundated with countless pictures of the perfect financial tracker spreads.
I mean they were nice. Very nice. What’s better, though, is finding something I can personally do, without artistic talent, that will save me some cash and let me buy good food.
So a bit of explanation is in order.
The budget tracker is something that you can use to track almost any of your finances. Its ultimate goal is for you to save money, and organize your expenses.
I mean, math is hard enough, coupled with the pressure of earning money, paying taxes, and keeping records of it… well, it can be challenging to say the least.
That’s the beauty of keeping a budget or financial tracker inside your bullet journal.
If you’re new to bullet journaling, the bullet journal is basically a system that makes it easier for you to track almost everything from your day, all the way up to the year or beyond. It lets you make decisions that have more perspective, and allows for you to be more mindful and self-aware.
To make your own bullet journal, find our guide here!
You can plug and play almost any collection or section you want to put in, making it one of the most flexible planner systems out there. It is for this reason that many have come to pick up the bullet journal, being able to fashion it to their needs.
Having the bullet journal as well as the financial tracker will let you keep track of your days and your financial habits all in one notebook. It will help you become more productive and aware of your spending patterns without the added effort of keeping other records separate from your planner.
How To Make Your Own Budget Tracker
While you probably think that having a bullet journal needs to have all those artistic spreads, it’s actually more to your taste.
If you find that having those artistic spreads are fine if you find them useful or particularly therapeutic, by all means, go ahead.
However, like me, I’m aiming for a minimalistic spread I can make pretty easily and track comfortably.
The good news is, whether you are aiming for a minimalist or maximalist spread, the best place to start is always the basics.
If you want to learn more, check out how to make a general tracker through this article.
Basically, any tracker is just about judging the amount of time and making a list or table to track it.
There’s no need for embellishments or flourishes if you do not want to.
I know it’s very rudimentary, but the system as Ryder Carroll, the creator of the bullet journal, made it is essentially very simple.
It was designed to make the most efficient way to track our days.
I know that this piece of information may be vague for beginners, so here are a few examples.
I took the liberty of also finding examples that will give you an idea of what to track as well. To give you an overview the trackers are for:
The incessant hounding of bill collectors is something everyone detests, even the bill collectors themselves… I mean, bill collectors also have bill collectors hounding them, right? It’s bill-ception, really.
Check out this bill tracker. It’s a very simple spread, that’s been livened up through color-coding. If you want a more minimal spread, you can choose not to use color-coding, however, it does lighten the mood. Also, if you already have a highlighter ready, there’s really nothing to lose.
The bill tracker is usually tracking your bills for the month. You are free to tweak this, but most of the time, these are used for fixed costs of living.
Below is something more minimalistic, yet just as effective.
This spread lets you have a better idea of how much you spend per month given your lifestyle. You can use this information to cancel out any unneeded expenses that you find add up during the year, and keep track of whether you have already paid a certain bill or not.
Don’t worry. It’s nothing to feel bad about. 99% of the planet is in debt.
Just worry about chipping it down gradually and efficiently. Luckily, this tracker is a great tool to do just that.
Here’s a good place to start with the debt tracker.
As you can see, it’s simple, minimalistic, and highly effective.
I just want to repeat myself on the matter of those highly artistic spreads. They are not a requirement for bullet journaling.
If you want to save time and effort and focus on the tasks at hand, you are free to make the simplest table, and log your progress there.
However, if you find yourself wanting to do a more maximalist thread, here’s one for you.
The monopoly man’s-a-comin’! This spread isn’t exactly maximalist but it does have a lot of elements you wouldn’t see in a minimalist spread. However, the parts are creative but also useful to the spread. The elements aren’t purely ornamental.
So if you’re an artist try keeping this in mind.
The last one’s pretty creative with a very simple concept.
This just shows, minimalism doesn’t have to be boring.
Savings are a tricky thing.
You always want to save more but find yourself doing the opposite. It starts out when you’re scrolling through your phone, and suddenly by impulse, you emptied out your bank account and maxed out your credit card.
Don’t worry about it. Those phone ads are designed to make you buy on impulse. And what you buy isn’t necessarily bad. A lot of good items are bought online.
However, you do want to moderate that.
With the savings tracker you can do a better job with that.
Check this one out.
It’s a simple, yet funny tracker, that combines fun with the act of saving. It’s minimalist enough that it wouldn’t stand out of a minimalist themed notebook, but it’s fun enough to add some color as well.
If you really do want to make it more simple, just list down your savings goals on a checklist and mark each milestone.
Here’s another creative one. Again, the fun doesn’t really intervene with its functionality.
For those who prefer a maximalist spread, this one’s for you.
It adds a bit more color and liveliness to your journal, as well. If you have the skill and time to execute this, go for it!
This lets you plan out your expenses more.
As opposed to the other trackers that just tracks, with this comes an overview and a plan.
This is best used with other trackers, as the information here can be used to enhance the tracking of the other financial trackers.
I don’t think that it would be an exaggeration to say the perfecting this will allow you to take more control of your life and future.
After the planning though, the trick is keeping to it.
If you find yourself having a hard time, try to study your spending patterns with the other components of the bullet journal.
Again, this spread is both fun and minimalist. @cardigansandchamomile did a great job of marrying the two concepts in this spread.
Here’s the more straightforward spread. It’s straight to the point and very clean looking. If you’re an extreme minimalist, you could find this more to your tastes.
This one’s for the maximalists!
You can see with this spread that the budget you’re tracking doesn’t need to be generalized. It can be for a single area of your life and still be effective.
Again, this shows the flexibility of both the bullet journal and the trackers!
If you find your pockets empty without knowing what exactly happened to it, this tracker is your friend.
It’s different from the expenses tracker in that it is more detailed and not confined to your monthly bills.
Filling this one out will make you more mindful of your costs for the day, making you remember each painful time that you parted with your hard-earned cash.
Mark my words, it will cause you to be more careful of how you spend your money.
Personally, this is probably the tool incorporated into the bullet journal that I’ve used for the longest. Of course, back when I started it was just on a piece of paper.
Here’s the best place to start for those who are new. It’s a classy yet simple spread that is easy to replicate. It doesn’t need to be flashy to look good, and the effectiveness is surely present!
With this spread, it’s getting a bit fancier. Still, it’s pretty simple to replicate and is still nice to look at.
For a more elaborate spread, check this out.
The colors are lively, but it’s also very detailed. The effect isn’t there solely for aesthetics but it groups the expenses by nature. It might run out of space, though, so keep that in mind.
Tips For a Better Budget Tracker
- Have A Goal
- Celebrate Small Victories
- Find Spending Patterns
- Have Fun With It
- Try Printables And Stickers
Have A Goal
It’s important to have a goal in mind when starting this.
The purpose of all this is to achieve something tangible at the end of it all. Without that then there would be no use to this.
So set a realistic goal, say having enough money by the end of the year to go on a vacation and still have enough money for a rainy day.
Celebrate Small Victories
On the way to the bigger goal, celebrate each step you make!
It’s important not to pressure yourself too much, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time when you don’t really have to.
Managing money will always be a part of life. It’s better to accept it, become better at it, and have a positive attitude!
Find Spending Patterns
When tracking your progress, be sure to run it against your daily or weekly log to find out your spending patterns.
This will allow you to find your negative spending patterns and nip it in the bud.
For example, if you’re tracking your month with a spending tracker, and you see that you spend a little more on Fridays than any other day.
You can go back to see what regularly happens on Friday. You might find that you’ve been going out a little too much with your friends that day, and you can manage it so that you spend less during that time.
Maybe you could leave a little earlier to help stop you from spending.
Try Printables and Stickers
This is more for the less artistically skilled bullet journalers.
If you want a nice looking spread without spending too much time on it, you might want to try buying stickers or printables online.
Printables and stickers are premade collections and labels that you can stick into your notebooks. They usually stick to a theme and are made by professional artists.
If you want a picture-perfect spread, try one of these!
You have a lot of options when it comes to budget trackers.
You can design it to track almost any of your finances and make it look nice as well. The visual component comes in handy whenever handling the depressing matter of parting with your hard-earned cash.
Personally, I use the spending tracker. And while it hurts to recount letting go of something special.. I.e. cash, it does drive results.
I encourage you to try it out for yourself!