In some ways, it may even be a better learning tool for those who don't believe they have strong financial intelligence.
The reason...it forces you to write down your budget, as well as track all your income and expenses on a monthly basis.
A handwritten budget, once it's created, is fairly simple to update from month to month, as well as get a snapshot of how you are doing financially.
Similar to a computer spreadsheet budget, in order to properly follow a computer spreadsheet budget, you must have control of your bank accounts as well as the actual cash you spend.
For this type of budget, I prefer to use paper with at least 13 columns or more. This can usually be found in tablet form at most office supply stores.
Each column will be used to track a specific income or expense item, with the first column used for a description of the transaction, and the last column showing your "running" cash balance.
If you want, you can even get a little more detailed, and use one of the first few columns for the transaction date as well as another column for the check number used for that particular expenditure. I didn't go into that much detail on my sample budget, as I didn't want it to get too overwhelming or confusing.
Once you have obtained the paper, and have labeled each column, you will need to come up with your plan....how much income you anticipate making, as well as details of your monthly expenses.
I usually write these numbers above the individual column headings, just so I know what my monthly goals are.
Add your income numbers, and subtract your expenditures to ensure that your budget makes sense...this will allow you to see whether or not your budgeted numbers show that you are outspending your income.
If you are living beyond your means, you will need to look at your budgeted numbers and figure out where you can cut some costs.
If there is absolutely nowhere to cut costs (which is usually very unlikely), your only choice is to figure out a way to make more money.
I've provided you with a few different options and suggestions throughout other pages on this website.
As is also the case with a computer spreadsheet budget, the physical act of writing down your budget shocks most people into realizing how much they actually spend on various things, and therefore need to start making a conscious effort to get their spending under control.
Once everything is labeled, and you've come up with your monthly plan, a handwritten budget also provides for daily, "running" cash totals.
This means that your cash balance is continually updated as you make and spend money, which can be very beneficial in reconciling your bank account every month.
A handwritten budget, when done my way, starts with your beginning cash balance, and then makes adjustments daily for the cash you earn as well as the cash you spend.
This helps ensure that your cash reserves aren't completely depleted (or go negative resulting in you going into debt) at any time during a given month.
Although this method is more labor intensive than the computerized spreadsheet version, a person can really get a handle on his or her household finances by completing this type of budget consistently on a monthly basis.
If you have any questions about this budget or how to use it, please don't ever hesitate to fill out a "Contact Us" form at the bottom of each page on this website.
As always, Good Luck and "Happy Budgeting!"
To Your Success...