It’s a running joke that I am a ‘planner girl’ at work. As soon as I sit down, my big A4 work planner is dropped down on my desk because it’s the only way I can actually concentrate. I need to be able to see my tasks, or they fall out of my head. Plus there’s nothing better than the motivation of ticking a box to say you’ve achieved something, right?! Just me?!
I’m no different when it comes to finances. I have a separate planner just for my budget, and I use it to track everything that’s coming in and out of my account. I can get pretty obsessive about making sure I’m keeping my head above water when it comes to money – mostly because its so easy for it not to be – so I thought I’d share some of my favourite tips for using a planner or a bullet journal to save yourself money – and even earn some, too!
Writing It All Out
There’s something about seeing it all written there in black and white (or pink, blue, purple or green and white! Pen choice is key!) that makes you realise exactly how much you are spending. When you’ve got a bunch of bills flying out of your account, sometimes on different days, you don’t always know how much cash you’ve got left to play with. I make a list of every bill that I expect to come out during the month, and write the date that it came out last month. It can also be useful to ask companies if you can move your payment date to a specific date so that everything comes out on one day (if you get paid on a set day each month), and so far every company I’ve asked has been more than accommodating, from iLoans to o2.
No Spend and Savings Trackers
People do some really adorable spreads (a ‘spread’ is planner-speak for ‘the way my page has been made to look’!) for tracking all sorts of things, but ‘No Spend Challenges’ and ‘Savings Trackers’ are my favourite. The most popular method is kind of like drawing out a reward chart, where you tick a box or colour a square when you successfully didn’t spend or save money, that day. If you’ve got a particular savings goal you could design something where you break the amount down into increments and celebrate every time you reach each milestone. Having it down on paper helps you stay motivated because you have a visual representation of how hard you have worked on your goal.
I like to share my planner on social media for a couple of reasons. One, my planner is pretty and I want to brag! But I also like to hold myself accountable, and it’s a good way to check in with myself each week. I don’t share my finances online (maybe I will when they’re as good as I want them to be!) but I follow a number of budget planners and it can be really interesting and informative when you see the techniques that other people are using and implementing into their planner routine.
Another benefit to being on social media is that you are part of a great community. There are planner groups on Facebook, and every large group has sister groups dedicated to everything from food, to travel, to Christmas (yes! My favourite!), to, you guessed it, money. You can pick up some amazing tips from fellow savers, or just take comfort in knowing that you are in the same boat and then begin to motivate each other in to doing better with your money.
A final benefit to sharing your planner online is that many people get to build up a body of work as a Planner PR. Planner PRs tend not to get paid in cash – mostly in stickers! – but its great experience and transferrable skills to bring to other social media opportunities. If you are a Planner PR then you are able to represent a brand effectively, you are good at photography and you have experience in sales and promotion. Monetize those skills and take them to the next level!
Are you a planner lover too? How does yours keep you on track?