The Ultimate Guide for Financial Planning in Bullet Journal

bullet journal finance budget expense

I have read so many personal finance blogs and books — I have a lifetime worth of personal finance advice! There are so many opinions out there about how you should handle your finance, which I think were tailored to different individuals with different challenges. Some people need to save a few hundreds dollars for their next Christmas gift spree to avoid disappointing themselves. Some people want to seriously monitor their shopping habits and join in on the ‘no spend’ challenge. Some people may need to make extra money to pay off a debt. Whatever it is, your finance-related bullet journal spreads should support your own financial goals. So we should start thinking about our financial goals before making any spreads!

My personal belief is that your finance should not be complex. If you feel overwhelmed by your financial numbers, you might start to avoid working on it. So keep it simple! Focus on one goal at a time. If you have not looked at your financial figures before and you feel like your shopping habit can get a little out of hand, look into tracking your spending. If you have a dream (like traveling somewhere or buying a car), try saving trackers. Do not dive into all spreads right away, or you might feel overwhelmed and start to ignore your finance pages altogether! It is also important to add a little bit of fun into your financial spread to keep you entertained while watching your personal finance improves over time.

I have done all the research on beautiful bullet journal spreads that will help lift your financial status. This guide will walk you through all the ideas that I found in an organized manner. As a result, this post will be super long, but it should cover everything for people of all experience levels from beginner to financial-savvy folks. I hope this helps as many people as possible. Also, we have some free printables for you at the end of this post. So stay tuned!

You can start working on your finance in the simple bullet journal system with a journal book like Leuchtturm1917 and a pen, no problem! In fact, this is what I did when I started. But after reading this post, you might realize that finance planning is too complex for the original bullet journal system to handle. Plus, financial planning can be a boring subject (except for those weird people who love numbers and spreadsheets). So we definitely need to spice it up with some cute bullet journal spreads!

To help with this, I felt the need to create fun layouts specific for finance planning. In this post, I shared with you some of my own spreads and also some cute examples I found on the internet. If you like them, feel free to copy! If you do not have time to set it all up, you can also get my layouts in preprinted and printable format. Details will follow at the end of the post!

Some Financial Goals to Consider

 

1. Conscious Spending

If your shopping habits are getting out of hand, this is a good start. For those who are new to personal finance planning, being aware of your spending habits is the fundamental basis of healthy financial life. If this is your goal, you might want to have a Spending Log Spread and No-Spend Challenge Spread.

2. Budgeting for yourself and your family

This works well if you have been tracking your spending for some time or have a way to track all your expenses (because you exclusively use credit cards or you use an app to track expenses). If you think you have your spending habits under control in most areas, but want to monitor the big picture of money flowing in and out, this is the best goal to pick. If this is your goal you might need Bill Tracking Spread and Budget Spread.

3. Save for specific things

Most people have some big spending items they want to save money for, such as a Disneyland trip or a car down payment. It is good to be aware of your goals. If this is your goal, then you might want to create a need/want collection and set budget for each. It is important to make savings fun (otherwise you might give up on it). So fun saving trackers and cute spreads for saving challenges are a must. For this goal, you might want to keep a collection of needs and wants, saving tracker, saving challenge spread, emergency fund and retirement trackers.

4. Pay off debt

If you have a mortgage or loan you need to pay off, it’s great to start tackling them right away. If you have a problem making minimum payments, debt tracking should be done in conjunction with spending tracking or income tracking. For the most part, these spreads should help keep you motivated to pay off your debts. If this is your goal, consider including Debt Information Log, Debt Payment Tracker, and Debt Snowball Tracker.

5. Increase your income

You probably have the goal of increasing your income capacity by taking on extra jobs or starting a business, so tracking your income is a must. I personally am taking on this goal for the coming years, since I have other goals pretty much under control at present. If you share the same goal, consider including Income Tracker in your bullet journal.

6. Track your financial status

If you are a pro in personal finance planning and are willing to handle very long-term financial goals, you may dive into some more advanced, big picture spreads that summarize your financial status and plan your whole financial life up to retirement. If this is your goal, you might enjoy Net Worth Tracker and Annual Overview Spread.

Ideas for Financial Spreads Categorized by Financial Goals

Okay, we covered all the financial goals you can start tackling. Now let’s dive into the idea galore! As examples, I have included a bunch of nice financial spread ideas you can incorporate into your bullet journal.

1. Conscious spending

The most fundamental basis of a healthy financial life is knowing where your money goes. This is the area where lots of people struggle (too many pretty things are calling for your wallet!!). So there are many layout options when it comes to spending trackers.

A simplest start

When I got started, I simply put the spending items among my other daily bullets. This is the simplest, non-intimidating way to jot things down quickly while building a small habit of tracking where my money goes.

bullet journal finance

Another way to do this is to incorporate Spending Log into your weekly layout. For example, here’s an example of a bullet journal layout with Spending Log built in.

It might be a good idea to create a habit tracker that reminds you to go over your expense everyday too.

A dedicated spread

Later on, when I got a little more serious with my financial planning, I created a spread for Spending Log, which is inspired by an Instagram image from @bobbis_bujo. I added info to this log once a day.

bullet journal finance

You don’t need to use color codes to track spending by categories if you don’t want to. For me, I found it helpful to break down my spending into 4 categories that matter most to me: commute, food, shopping, others. These three specific categories happen to be my weakest points, so I want to keep an eye on them.

No matter how you note down your daily spending, it is important to review your spending habit once a month. I set up a reminder in my Google calendar to do this. If your only goal is to be more conscious about spending, the review should take only 15 minutes. In monthly reviews, you can simply make a note of your total spending in a month, or the total expense by categories if you’d like. This will help you monitor the bottom-line and see how you are doing in the big picture.

If the monthly review or category-based tracking is too overwhelming for you, skip it! Just stick to simply jotting down expenses as they come up and you are already much better than average. The key is to keep it simple and fun.

My monthly review usually takes place in this spread.

bullet journal finance

No-Spend Challenge

I enjoy browsing the No-Spend Challenge Spreads in people’s bullet journals. It’s so much fun looking at how people attempt to stop their future self from losing money on things they clearly love! I love the idea so much I created a fun template for it. This is included in my free printable library! You will see links to that at the bottom of this post.

bullet journal finance

2. Budgeting for yourself and your family

Once you have been monitoring your spending habits for a while, you might want to gently add some control over your budget. This means that you want to make sure you have enough money to pay all your bills right on time while also perhaps addressing some worrying area of your spending.

The obvious way to start budgeting is to use a Bill Tracker! This very versatile spread will ensure that you pay all your bills and give you a great idea of what fixed expenses you have in each month.

bullet journal finance

For a more advanced planner, you may want to create a budget spread for both fixed expenses (recurring bills) and variable expenses (other one-time things such as car maintenance expense). My spreads are rather simple because I want them to be adaptable when circumstances change without having to redesign the layouts.

bullet journal finance

3. Savings

Everybody has something on their wish list (mine is super-duper long, sigh..). So I think it’s a good idea to get these lists on paper! This inspires you to continue working on your savings and helps you set priorities for spending. Here is a cute page I made for you (which is also available for free download below!)

bullet journal finance

Once you have identified the items of your desire, it makes sense to work your ass off for them! Yeah!

Aside from saving for pleasure, I think everyone needs a good reservoir of emergency funds. For starters, you should have at least $1000 in your account at all times for those rainy days when you might need this money fast. If you are a more advanced saver, you might want to consider saving up 6 months worth of your spending expenses in case of a job loss or a medical emergency. Also, if it’s within your means it’s wise to start thinking early about retirement and secure some funding for that as well. For a quick and rough guide, at least 5% of your income should go towards retirement savings, although you might increase that if you wish to retire early.

To keep track of all these areas of saving and keep it motivating and fun, I designed this Saving Log for my finance planner.

bullet journal finance

4. Debt pay-off

Debts are something no one wants to deal with, but unfortunately for many of us, we do have debts to pay. We can turn this bitter experience of seeing money flying out of our pocket into a more pleasant experience by creating an elaborate bullet journal spread for it!

bullet journal finance

The internet is full of awesome advice about how to tackle debt and one popular method is called the Debt Snowball Method taught by Dave Ramsey. (I guess everyone knows about him, but if you don’t, check out his stuff, he’s a great coach!) The idea (in a nutshell) is to list all the debts you have from the smallest sum to the largest sum. Then pay the minimum amount on all your debts, except the smallest one which you will attack with a vengeance (going crazy at paying it with get-the-hell-out-of-my-life attitude, taking extra jobs, selling stuff, and reducing entertainment spending if you have to). Then after you pay off the smallest debt, do the same for the next bigger one. Some awesome bujo-ers have made a spread for this method that you might want to copy.

5. Increase your income

This goal has the most refreshing spreads, as it means money is flying into your pocket this time. I try to make this spread fun because it motivates me to work harder and save money for what I truly want! The simplest way to keep an overview of my income streams is with something like my Income Tracker shown here.

bullet journal finance

6. Track your financial status

Okay this post is super long, but here’s our one last goal for you, dear financial goddess. If you have reached to the holy grail of personal finance planning (that is, knowing how much you spend each month, knowing how much you earn, setting budgets for everything, and getting your savings in order) you have come to the final level of financial planning ninja training. It’s time for you to have a tracker for the BIG picture of your financial life. (I don’t know about you, but my financial life is messy as hell, and I’m not quite sure I’ve yet reached this level. But I made the spread that I definitely want to conquer in the future!)

Here’s the spread I plan to use for my annual financial overview.

bullet journal finance

And another spread for net worth tracking.

bullet journal finance

Okay, that’s all the goals I have to cover in this blog post. Now that we have all the spread examples that we could possibly find in the whole wide world, you might feel itchy to get started. You may take the inspiration and draw these spreads out in your standard bullet journal notebook or use the pre-made template options I offer below!

Want to Dive Into Personal Finance Planning?

If you want to start working on your finance, but aren’t sure you have the time to set up all the spreads, I happen to have a solution! I created the Ultimate Finance Planner, which has all the financial planner pages you’d need preprinted and bound in a single book. This planner addresses all the financial goals mentioned in this post (and more), with instructions that walk you through step-by-step. I even added a bunch of dot grid pages for your bullet journal joy! It’s available for a thrifty price on Amazon (with Amazon prime shipping option!)

The Ultimate Finance Planner

If you want to have a peek inside the Ultimate Financial Planner, check out the flip-through images on this page.

Printable Finance Planner

If you would rather set things up in your own planning system so that you can pick and choose what spreads to include and have the finance planner together with the rest of your planning pages, you might want to pick up my mega finance kit printables [www.etsy.com/listing/488559120/finance-mega-kit-financial-planner]. I really put a lot of effort into creating the best financial planner pages that I’m sure everyone will find useful!

I am spoiling you guys with so much awesome financial planning pages for this one. The printable kit contains 27 pages of joyful, nice and neat financial spreads. There are tons of page variations to choose from.

bullet journal finance

Now onto Your Free Printables!

For Infinite Planner subscribers, I of course have prepared awesome goodies for you special folks! This blog post includes two free printables you can download instantly after joining my email list!

  1. No-Spend Challenge Template
  2. Needs and Wants List

For my previous subscribers please revisit the member-only download page in the link I sent you earlier. The new printables should be uploaded there already!

For newcomers, please use the form below to subscribe!

 


This post is super long, but I am not apologizing because I want EVERYONE to have a stress-free financial planning experience. It is such an important part of our lives. As always, if you have awesome ideas or notice something I skipped, please let me know in the comments section below and let’s make a rocking resource for all bullet journalers out there! Stay cool and see you soon in my next post!