The Old Fashioned Pen and Paper Budget

While many people now opt for computer budgeting of one sort of another, an old fashioned paper budget still suits some people better. If you don’t spend a lot of time on your computer, you may prefer to do your budget without reliance on technology. Also, if you’re not comfortable with computer software, or your bank doesn’t offer easy online account access, paper budgeting can be smart. Some people simply prefer it, and this is just as valid a reason to choose this type of budgeting and spending system.

One of the best systems for old fashioned paper budgeting is an envelope system; however, a variety of budgeting methods do work. There are two basic types of budgets. One is a zero balance budget, in which every penny of income is alloted to a set category. As with any budgeting method, you will first need to create a budget. Review all of your bills and expenses, income, and typical spending when you begin working on your budget. Many people start working on a budget when they begin a debt repayment plan, and thus may want to allot any additional funds to debt repayment. Do be certain to also allot funds for savings, both for emergency purposes and longterm savings. You should also allot appropriate amounts for quarterly, semi annual or annual expenses, like taxes, car insurance and other costs. You may find that tracking your spending for a month is a helpful way to get a base figure when beginning to budget. Finally, many people enjoy challenging themselves to lower the amount they spend on variable items, including food and entertainment.

In the envelope budgeting system, you first create a budget with a designated amount for relevant spending categories. These might include housing, debt repayment, automotive expenses, clothing, entertainment and food. Many people do choose to use checks or online bill payment options to handle some of their monthly bills for convenience; however, the other categories, such as food and entertainment lend themselves well to envelope budgeting. Withdraw the appropriate amount of money from your bank in cash and allot the funds to the appropriate envelopes. When the envelope is empty, you’re done spending in that category for the month (or pay period, as appropriate for your budget).  This method is ideal especially if you are poor with money management.

You might also find simply tracking your spending in a notebook to be a viable on paper budget, or keeping close spending records and using your debit card or checks as you prefer. Finally, some people even find that they maintain their budgets by using a rewards credit card then paying the card off in full each month. Paper budgeting can be done with a ruler and notebook, tables created in a simple word processing program, or free downloadable online forms.