Creative ways to budget plan

Staying on top of your budget helps foster a healthy relationship with money. Through careful planning and regular tracking, you can make your finances go further, understand where and how you spend your money, and ultimately reach your saving goals.

Thankfully, budgeting doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of creative ways to inspire your budget journal and utilise your love for calligraphy and art.

Meal planners

Planning your meals minimises food waste and ensures you waste nothing. A classic meal planner template also helps to inspire your dinner choices and better organise your food shop. These printables are also perfect if you’re following a specific diet, allowing you to visualise the week ahead better.

Jazz up your meal planner with watercolour pencils or acrylic paint drawings of your favourite fruits and veggies, ideal for getting kids excited about their food.

Needs and wants lists

Perfect for slipping into your budget binder, a needs and wants list helps reduce impulsive spending and allocate your funds.

At the start of each month, write down everything you need (toiletries, urgent clothes items, and other daily essentials) and what you want (fun things to spend your money on after the bills are paid), and their estimated costs.

Choose one font style and colour for needs and another for wants, so you can easily see which category dominates your list. Take the list with you next time you go shopping, so you can account for your needs before purchasing your wants.

Budget planners

You can take your pick from many useful budget planners, all tracking various finances and costs.

A monthly budget planner is the most popular, where users can write their monthly income before regularly recording outgoings and other unexpected expenses. Make taking control of your money enjoyable, and use your favourite fountain pen to record your finances. You’ll soon look forward to the daily task of writing your spending and fostering a better mental relationship with your finances.

Budget journals

Similar to planners, budget journals monitor personal spending and other expenses. However, planners are usually more extensive. They often have a space for users to record savings goals, track birthday budgets, monitor debt repayment plans, finalise end-of-year reports, and even an area to brainstorm money strategies and tactics.

Most budget journals are already highly creative and visually pleasing, ideal for creatives who want to feel inspired rather than daunted by their finances. Again, you can use your favourite pens and pencils to beautify the planner with delicate doodles or highlight achieving important goals with stickers.

Saving schedules

saving energy and money concept. idea for save or investment.

Saving money is easier said than done, especially when prioritising bills and daily expenses. Saving schedules let you set a clear target and help monitor your saving achievements – perfect if you have a particular goal.

Replicate or print out these creative ways to help save your money, including celebrating no-spend days, participating in the 1p saving challenge, or colouring in a savings pot each time you set aside some cash. This template style is also ideal for saving towards Christmas, holidays, and birthdays. Use your favourite and most colourful pens to fill in the blanks and reach your savings goals. You can create a fun collage of everything you are savings towards – photos of your holiday destination, designer clothes, your dream home, and more.

Net worth trackers

Tracking your net worth is recommended if you have multiple income streams and assets, for example, a side hustle, investments, or more than one property.

Luckily, net worth spreadsheets offer a clear and straightforward way to monitor your wealth. Keep this digital or create a monthly paper update to pop into your physical money planner.

Although most net worth trackers resemble spreadsheets, this doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with them. Adding pen and ink drawings to symbolise your various assets brightens the page and indulges your arty side. You can also colour-code the sheet to differentiate between your assets and liabilities or include a graph to detail how your net worth has changed over the months.

Out of debt goals

Debt is scary. Staying on top of repayments, interest, and due dates can be stressful, so many use a debt repayment plan template as part of their budget journals.

The spreadsheet should detail how much you owe, the payment amount, and the interest rate. Underneath, you can include a table to track your debt activity, recording the date you make a payment, the starting balance, payment amount, and ending balance.

Although this is a straightforward spreadsheet and somewhat daunting task, there are ways to use your creative talents to make the process more approachable. We recommend harnessing your calligraphy skills and favourite fonts and creating a bespoke ‘Debt Tracker’ spreadsheet title. Taking the time and care to produce the tracker will immediately improve your mindset and encourage you to use the spreadsheet.

Learning how to budget

Of course, all these bill planners and money trackers are useless if you don’t know how to budget correctly. Here are some tips on how to get started with budget planning.

  • Start collecting all your statements and high-value receipts
  • Check your pension details
  • Be as accurate as possible with your amounts
  • Review your spending
  • Choose your budgeting plans
  • Regularly revise and update your progress, especially if circumstances change

Mariah enjoys typing articles for our blog on her laptop but she'd much rather be writing them by hand with a luxury fountain pen!

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