As you may know, I recently started my first big-girl job. Along with the emotional, social, and environmental changes, being on my own in Chicago has brought into sharp reality my newfound independence. One of the great things is having time to pursue side hobbies rather than constantly worrying about exams or homework. One of the not-so-great things is budgeting; making money is great, but if you’re like me, you know how easy it is to spend too much money without realizing it until you check your credit card statement a few weeks after.
I was thinking about how to use my bullet journal to track my spending. In the past, I’ve tried various apps, but since I don’t always find it easy to access my phone (limited data) and since I generally don’t enjoy recording things digitally (shocker, I know), I started brainstorming ways to track my spending. Some of my biggest needs were:
- A space to quickly jot down my spending immediately after I shopped; phone apps don’t do that for me since I don’t have data on all the time.
- A way to categorize my budget categories in a quick, chronological way (I didn’t want to make a separate section or spread for each category)
- Most importantly — a way to visualize my progress as the month passed, like if I was on track to hit my goal or not. Although I can do this with an Excel spreadsheet and graph, it’s hard to have that on-hand anytime.
Thus, I came up with this spread and am going to test it out this month. I’ll update with photos in the coming weeks and try to improve on it for October.
The three columns is just a space to list out when and what I bought, and how much I spent. Just to the right of each column is a space to check-off the category: G = groceries, S = shopping, R/E = restaurants/entertainment, and C = charity.
The column furthest to the right is the “live tracker.” Each box is worth X amount of dollars. Every time I spend, what I’ll do is color in the boxes in the corresponding category, with just the right amount of boxes colored as dollars spent (Fractions of boxes is ok!). I’ll also color in each day as it passes, so I can compare my spending versus how much time has passed to see if I’m on track to meet my goal. I marked my goal in green at the bottom of each category.
It’s kind of confusing, so once I have some stuff in there, it will hopefully make more sense 🙂
On a side note, and I’ve said this before, I really wish Shinola journals had dot-grid options!
Pens I used can be bought in a set here:
- Thick Lines: 0.8mm Sakura Pigma Micron
- Thin Vertical Lines: 0.5mm Sakura Pigma Micron
- Thin Horizontal Lines: 0.3mm Sakura Pigma Micron
- “September Budgeting” Script: 1mm Sakura Pigma Graphic