Last month our budget was really off. And that happens sometimes, but the problem is I’m still not sure exactly what went awry! Marcello and I were racking our brains and looking at statements, trying to find what we missed, but never found the answer. So I designed these budget tracker printables to keep in my purse so hopefully it won’t happen again. And so far it’s working great.
Here is how it works:
- Print the file, below, on an envelope.
- Write the monthly amount that is allotted for each budget category.
- Write down each purchase on the envelope right after you make it.
- Stick the receipt inside the envelope for your record and to make returning easy.
- When your total reaches the limit, you stop spending!
I included categories that vary month to month on the envelope — grocery, eating out, gas, clothing, personal care (shampoo, razors, vitamins, etc.) and miscellaneous purchases. I didn’t include phone, cable or utility bills because I pay them online and they don’t fluctuate drastically month to month. I have also been writing down online purchases immediately after I make them.
I make almost all the purchases for our family, so this makes it easy to keep track of spending. If you and your spouse both make infrequent purchases, maybe you could each be responsible for specific categories to avoid going over budget. Or you could even both have envelopes with the budget amount cut in half. Credit card notifications on your phone could also help keep track of each other’s spending. It also makes you accountable for your purchases too! Yikes.
Marcello uses his credit card almost solely for work and had his card number stolen several times. So he decided to get credit card notifications on his phone, but now every time I buy something it alerts him. That took some getting used to! But believe it or not, now I kind of like it because it keeps me accountable for my spending, knowing he will see each silly thing. It has become a joke to us now, because he texts me seconds after I buy something like “How’s the taco?” after I swipe my card at Taco Bell. Anyway, I’m getting off track, back to the printables.
Here are the envelope downloads — one with my categories and one blank. I just used No. 10 security envelopes from the dollar store. If you have trouble printing, please download the image on your desktop first and then try printing.
If you don’t want to use the envelope, here are US letter size printables as well:
How do you keep track of your budget? Do you typically stay within your budget?