Most of us have tried at least once to set a budget and stick to it. For many, apps on their phones or spreadsheets on their computers help them achieve this task. However, for those with a more creative side, these types of tools may not work. That’s where bullet journaling comes in. What is it, exactly? Bullet journaling takes a typical diary to a whole other level, including writing and drawing. Bullet journaling is simply an organized system that helps people kickstart their to-do lists, stay on track with goals and, you guessed it, switch up their approach to keeping their personal finances in order.
How Does Bullet Journaling Work?
Bullet journaling can look like basic line writing, or you can add color and design elements to make them fun and attractive. Whatever works best for you, it’s important to make your journal exciting enough to stick with. People work in different ways, so customize your bullet journal to your liking to help you meet your goals.
How Can Bullet Journaling Help You Reach Your Goals?
Bullet journals are an all-in-one way to track your expenses and reach your goals. It allows you to keep a record of the following:
- Your financial goals
- Your spending habits
- Your observations of your money habits
Seeing everything in writing and holding yourself accountable makes it much easier to track how much you're spending, what types of items you're buying, and how other factors (like your mood) could be affecting your money habits.
How to Use Bullet Journaling For Finances
While bullet journaling can be used for anything from tracking sleep patterns to weight loss, dream journaling, or tackling your daily to-do list, here are a few ways to bullet journal your way toward a better budget.
Plan for Upcoming Purchases or Trips
If you want to make a big purchase or splurge on an event, use your journal to keep track of how much you need to save.
Are you dreaming about your next vacation? Find out the cost of flights, hotels, food, etc., and start putting aside money for that. Drawing a visual representation of what you’re saving for can make your goals feel more tangible. Or, as you set money aside, have something in your journal that you can color in to visualize how much is saved, like a thermometer.
Track your Monthly Expenses
According to a recent survey, only nine percent of Americans primarily use cash to pay for purchases. While it’s clear we’re all moving toward a more cashless world, that can add an extra challenge to budgeting. Paying for purchases with a credit card, debit card, or virtually (think Apple Pay or Google Pay) makes it way too easy to lose track of how much is spent.1
At the end of the month (or sooner), use your bullet journal to track your expenses. You can simply list what money was spent on and how much. Alternatively, you could get creative and draw graphs symbolizing certain categories (such as food, gas, eating out, entertainment, etc.).
Again, having a tool to visualize what you’re spending compared to what you’re saving can be an eye-opening way to reassess your budget.
Pair It With Your Favorite Financial App
If you’re still interested in using a budget-tracking app, you could pair your bullet journal with an app like Mint or YNAB. Apps can be more useful in immediately alerting you to overspending and helping you budget in real-time. While journaling is still great for reflecting on your spending later or revisiting as needed, an app can help keep you more accountable upfront.
Bullet journaling is a simple way to get your finances in order, and it can make staying on track much easier. You can outline what must be done to accomplish your goals, which allows you to constantly remain mindful of your expenses.
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