What is the Monthly Budget Planner?
Our simple Monthly Budget Planner is designed to make it easy for you to keep track of your money.
It can help you to plan your finances so you don't get into difficulties.
Just download it by clicking on the image above, and print it out to stick to your fridge or notice board.
How to use the planner
At the top of the planner there's a space for you to fill in your household income. This is where you make a note of your wages, any benefits you receive and any other money you have coming in on a regular basis. You can then start setting budgets for each category, such as food shopping or clothes, and then record what you actually spend at the end of the month in the next column.
It's best to be realistic with your budget, and don't set yourself impossible targets. If you find you're spending less than you thought in a certain category, then you can reduce the budget for next month. If you find you're spending more than you thought in a category, then you can get an idea of where you need to look at cutting back, or where you can rebalance your budget.
At the bottom of the plan you can record your total outgoings, so you can see the overall difference between your income and what you spend.
Why is it good to budget?
Keeping a monthly budget is a good way of staying on top of your finances. Knowing exactly what's going out and what's coming in - and the difference between them - allows you to see where you might be overspending, and where you can make savings.
Spending more than you're earning every month can send you into a spiral that's very difficult to get out of. It's best to just face the problem, and see where you can make positive changes to how you organise your money.
Knowing your budget also gives you more freedom to spend money on the things that you want. If you save a bit of money in one category during the month, you know you'll have that as an extra next month, either to go into savings, or towards a special purchase.
How to stick to a budget
Once you've balanced your budget, the real challenge is sticking to it. Budgeting only really works if you do it over the long-term, as it allows you to pick up on spending patterns and see where you might be going wrong.
One idea is to only take out the cash you need for each day or week - looking at your bank account to see how your finances are doing can sometimes be misleading.
Giving yourself a set limit in cash means you're much less likely to impulse buy, and should make it easier to stick to your budget.
There may be months where it all falls apart because of unexpected expenses, but we can't plan for everything, so don't be too hard on yourself.
Download our Monthly Budget Planner and start taking control of your finances today.
You can also find lots of regular money-saving and lifestyle tips on our Morses Club blog