If you’re using a BuJo then you have to use one of these bullet journal budget forms to manage your money

I have always had a firm belief that there are many different ways to budget. There is no one “right way” as big shot gurus would lead you to believe.

There are lots of ways, and you just need to find the “right way” for you. And that may take a while. Sometimes trial & error is needed, along with tweaking and patience.

But today, I want to share one of the hottest trends in budgeting (yes, even budgeting can be cool and have trends). It’s your bullet journal budget!

We’re going to walk you through why it’s such a hot finance trend and how you can customize your BuJo budget spread to make the most of your money!

bullet journal budget

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What is a bullet journal budget?

A bullet journal budget spread is just a layout in your BuJo that you use to forecast your income and plan your spending & expenses for a specific time period. Monthly is traditional, but you can do weekly too.

This finance spread is just like any other written budget, but it’s formatted exactly how you want it (as you are the one creating it). It can be super detailed or have lots of flowers on it or motivational quotes.

And before you even ask. Yes; bullet journaling is perfect for managing your finances! You usually only see cute and artistic examples of habit trackers or organized to-do lists. But it’s an excellent tool for managing your money.

For example, you could have your budget tracker spread, and then to support those numbers you have a…

  • Monthly bills tracker
  • Money goal habit tracker
  • Emergency fund savings chart
  • Savings challenge tracker
  • Credit card payoff planner
  • Spending tracker

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Layering all of these types of financial spreads together makes it the perfect money organizer!

Why should I use a bullet journal budget spread instead of a printed out budget?

I am all for the printable budget planners; they are my all-time favorite. But, if using your bullet journal appeals to you more, then, by all means, use that! I want you to use whatever format you can get excited about. And for many, that’s their BuJo.

BuJo’s make things fun; they let you use both sides of your brain, as it’s creative and holds lots of data points and organization. It’s your own “how to be me and live my life” living journal. People are fanatical about their layouts and spreads, color schemes, design elements, and if that lights your fire, then awesome!

I just want you to use your budget tracker regularly and have it move you forward with your financial goals.

Another great thing about using a bullet journal for budgeting is having all your previous month’s info right there. You can see trends more easily and course correct if need be.

What should a bullet journal budgeting layout look like?

As I mentioned, you can use any budget method you want. However, let’s run through the budgeting method and strategies that I think work best. (Yes, you can have a different opinion, I just want to give a sample of one so people can get an idea).

We’re going to do a priority-based budget that utilizes a pay yourself first model, along with a zero-based budget framework. It sounds confusing at first but let’s break it down.

Priority-based budgets are where you put your most important expenses at the top of your list and the least important at the bottom. You can easily cut the items at the bottom of the list if you are over budget – no debating or negotiating with yourself.  

pay yourself first budgeting model is when you pay into your savings accounts (those financial goals that you have) before paying any other bills. Remember, you need to take care of your big dreams!

Using a zero-based budget means that you are giving every single dollar of income a job to do. Yup, every dollar needs to be working! So you are literally spending everything. Hopefully, this means that you’re tucking an extra $11 into your savings account. But buying a latte and a scone can do wonders for your soul too!

So here’s what it looks like…

  • income
  • – savings
  • – must spend monthly expenses (i.e., mortgage, utilities, insurance)
  • – debt repayments (working the debt snowball method of course)
  • – extra spending (i.e., gym, dining out, fun money, hobbies, etc.)
  • = $0

Ideally, this would all fit on one page or a one-page spread. You need to see the whole monthly budget all in one shot.

Now that you know the basics of a bullet journal budget, let’s look at some fun examples, as there might be some customizations that really inspire you!

We’re just talking about the monthly budget form here. There are lots of other supporting financial spreads you can use to support this page. Layouts like savings trackers, debt repayment plans, expense trackers, financial goal spreads, etc.

1. Visuals help with budgeting

I love this one as she has a graph that shows what percent of her money goes to what budget category. Visuals are a great way to wrap your brain around big topics! I also like her planned and actual columns, such a good way to keep yourself accountable.

2. Simple is easy!

I like this budget spread as it’s nice and simple. It has a good amount of space to track your spending. Because let’s be honest, most of us want to spend less on the day-to-day stuff so we can splurge on what matters most to us! Which is an excellent topic for the reflections sections here (another winner!).

3. A great bullet journal budget option!

I am so proud of this budgeter, whoever she may be! It’s so simple yet covers all the bases. I would just change the layout, so her sinking funds (aka savings) are at the top of her list. Her fixed and variable expenses are laid out (which you could tailor to “must spend” and “want to spend” categories. But honestly, this is great!

4. Best BuJo budget for low expenses

This is a good one if you keep your spending and expenses minimal. Everything is on one nice & neat page. Remember, just because we’re talking about money, it doesn’t mean that it has to be complicated. Sometimes simple is best.

5. Best bullet journal budget spread for the cash envelope method

Here’s an example of someone who’s using a cash envelope system for their budget. I love that if you look on the right-hand side, she has an “extra debt” section. That means she’s focused on her big goals (i.e., debt repayment).

6. Best for spotting habits

If you want to look at spending habits (and potentially change them), this weekly budget planner & tracker is a great budget spread! The top portion is more of a regular budget, while the bottom half is a spending log. You log each day of the week what you spend and why. Then you can review them at the end of the week and analyze your spending.

7. Best all-around option if you’re a beginner

If, after looking at all these budget spreads and you’re not sure which to go with, try this one. It’s nice and straightforward, tracks your bank balances, focuses on savings, and has lots of room to log your expenses/spending.

8. Best for the budget by paycheck method

This is a great example of someone using the budget by paycheck method. This method separates your bills into two halves of the month, so this way, you’re not left with zero money mid-month. It spreads out expenses so you can not overdraw.

9. Best bullet journal budget layout for those crafty people

This example is for all you overachieving crafty people out there. She’s turned her budget into a circle graph, and the sections flip-up (see 2nd pic) to show dollar amounts. Now I don’t know that this shows any great extra info BUT, if this gets you jazzed up about your finances, then cool!

10. Best BuJo budget form for getting an overall look at your money

This one is a little different as it gives a snapshot of each month’s budget, which can be helpful to spot trends. So this would be a great layout in addition to your monthly budget.

Bonus – Christmas BuJo budget

You can create a budget for anything! Vacation, wedding, and Christmas! Here’s a great example of some spending goals and expenses that they want to track! Hint: start saving for Christmas early (just put $10 a week aside in a sinking fund), and then you won’t have to stress so much about the money.

At the end of the day

As you can see, there are many ways to style your bullet journal budget layout, and if you noticed, the captions often read that they were trying a new format or style. This is great; keep tweaking until you find the perfect fit. And that is what’s ideal about using a bullet journal for budgeting. You can make it anything you want!

free budgeting templates

Which bullet journal budget layout are you going to use?