Everywhere there are free budget printables but if we aren’t good at managing the finances anyway, they don’t always help. This free budget tool puts it into a whole new, achievable perspective.
Now, I’m not knocking the budget sheets at all. I have one of my own that I list our bills on every month. Problem is, that’s as far as it goes. It started out well, with a budget and everything but over the years, it just became a ‘bill inventory’, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic when I do my taxes every year and when I need to know how much bills are, but that’s pretty much as far as that goes.
Tricks and Side Hustles
We all have our tricks and side hustles, right? I remember my Momma always having a ‘stash’ of cash in her purse for emergencies. No one ever really knew when she was going to have money or not. While I, personally, don’t have a stash of cash anywhere, I do all sorts of little side hustles to bring in a little extra for birthdays or emergencies or whatever. There are also a ton of work online type stuff I try to get done every now and then. Unfortunately, we all know those don’t pay the bills or get us ahead in the long run.
Free Budget Tool
The free budget tool, found here, is just that. You input your income and it calculates a low and high range for all of the average monthly expenses. Personally, I don’t have or use all that they list, but that’s okay. Just stay with me here.
How to Unlock Reliable Financial Freedom
- Set financial goals. What are they? What is it that you want to achieve financially? Be realistic, we all wanna have big money, we won’t all get there, but we can have financial freedom! For the Zoo, it is our intention to be out of debt completely and we’re working on it. In the meantime, we also would like to take a real vacation in the next year or so. That’s what we’re working at. If your goal is fixing your credit so you can buy a house or car or whatever, check out my post: how to help your credit for free. There are no-cost ways to do it!
- Utilize that free budget tool. We are going to use this as a guideline. Don’t freak out, it’s just a guideline. You can use this Loan Pay Off Goal Calculator to help you know how much to pay to pay a debt off at a set date. There’s also a Biweekly Savings Home Loan Calculator (which I love) to calculate how much you’d save if you paid your mortgage in 2 payments a month rather than one whole payment. (Who stinking knew that!?! Craziness!) Anyway, write down the results (or keep them on a separate screen so you can refer back. If you prefer, you can also get this Budgeting Workbook so that you can keep track more easily.
- On a separate sheet of paper, write out your actual expenses. For us (from the budget tool list), that would be charitable gifts, savings, housing, utilities, food, transportation, medical, personal and debt. I’ll be honest and say this was an eye opener for me. Now I’m wondering how I waste so much money and where the heck it’s going!
- On another sheet of paper make a list of your actual expense areas from the free budget tool. For non-monthly expenses like insurance, divide the amount up for 12 months and add it to the utilities list. If you don’t have a clothing budget, for example, remove that and note the amount that was listed. Do this for all of the areas that aren’t necessary for your household.
- Take the sum of the unnecessary areas and reapply them to where you need them. Need being the keyword. If you don’t need them anywhere, then split them between savings and your highest interest bearing debt.
- Now, remember those printables we aren’t properly utilizing, this is where they come in super helpful! Get one out and start writing down your new financial freedom budget!
- Take that list and live by it. If you spend less in a month on an area than you normally would, take that money out and put it into savings. If your goal is to pay off debt, then pay a little extra on your debt that month.
- Always Remember: Savings is untouchable. Unless it’s a real, live emergency (think surgery or exploded engine), then that money just doesn’t exist. If it helps, go back from time to time and look at your list of goals and the progress you’ve made.
These steps should help put you well on the road to financial freedom. If you aren’t where you can save just yet, that’s okay you will get there. It took us years to get to a point where we could stick money into savings.
We started out by taking small amounts that we didn’t spend (like when our electric bill was lower than expected) and putting the change into a separate account. Totally forgotten about and left alone account.
We aren’t debt free yet, but we’re working on it and it seems more realistic than ever before. It is achievable, we will get there and you will too. One penny at a time!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, tips and tricks to getting on the right path!
Please share below!