How to Track Your Finances in 2023 like a BOSS | Bullet Journal Edition
Your financial well-being is a topic that everyone deals with but that not everyone talks about. Nowadays, banking applications are making it easier for you to track your income and expenses. But what if you have multiple bank accounts? What if you have multiple streams of income? What if the expense categories don’t match your needs? Well in today’s article, let's set up a finance tracker in your bullet journal for 2023.
Top Tips For Tracking Your Finances
Before we get started, I’ve included some tips on how to track your finances in general:
- If you have multiple bank accounts, keep track of your outgoing money in one place, by listing the amount, the date, and what it was for. You could try using a spreadsheet, or a journal you won’t lose. Below are two examples of a spending tracker that you could easily do in your journal
Mine, I divide my columns into date, item, category, amount, and a check to tick when I’m tallying everything up at the end of the month
Hayley Frerichs', where she has the date, the item she purchased or the place she purchased from, the type (the equivalent of a category), a column to check whether the expense was with cash ($) or card (c), and finally the amount. I love Hayley’s idea of integrating the cash and card column because I often have problems with this!
[HayleyFrerichs' Finance Tracker]
- If you are trying to save up for something, figure out how much you need for that item, and when you want to buy it. Then figure out how much you will need to put aside every week/fortnight/month to be able to buy it.
Pro tip: you may need to stop the daily coffee purchase if you’re trying to save big! Reminder that if a cup of coffee costs $5/day that means $35/week, $140/month, or $1820/year!
Below is an example of a savings tracker from Caroline Acevedo. Her savings tracker has two pages in which she determines her financial goals and then has columns to write down how much she’ll save
[Carolineace_bujo Savings Tracker]
- If you are trying to save, the next best thing to do is establish a budget. You establish a budget my auditing your previous expenses. I like to look at the previous three months. I’ll establish the categories where I’ve spent money, calculate the average amount I’ve spent per category, and use this as my budget estimate per category per month.
This can be done on the computer, and I’ll often use an online spreadsheet to do this, so I can access it from where ever I am with a stable internet connection
With these tips, you’ll be well and truly on your way to financial freedom!
Why track your finances in your bullet journal?
As an avid bullet journaler, my journal goes with me where ever I go. When thinking about finances, the logical step for me is to incorporate a finance tracker in my journal.
I find that if you are more of a visual person, having a physical finance tracker is a great way to stay on top of your money.
Furthermore, it allows you to assess your financial standing every month, and every year, in one single location and doesn’t require more than a pen and a journal to do.
Below I’ve compiled inspiration from the community to help you out!
HayleyFrerich’s Finance Tracker is broken down into multiple sections, what I love is that she has a yearly overview of the different categories, as well as goals, and a budget wheel. She then has a second page where she breaks everything down by month!
[HayleyFrerichs' Finance Tracker]
For my own finance tracker, I was first heavily inspired by Hayleyremdeart’s spread:
[Hayleyremdeart's Finance Tracker]
[Craftyenginerd's Finance Tracker from 2019]
What attracted me most was the dutch door that allowed you to visualise your entire year in one spread. I also loved how the tracker was split into sections, with places for different types of expenses, incomes, and loans like Life By Whitney.
Therefore, from all the inspiration, this is the spread I used as the basis for my tracker, only adapting it a little to make sections more personalised to my financial situation!
If you would like to try it out too, here's how to set it up!
Supplies you’ll need:
- A5 Dot-Grid Journal - mine is from the Archer & Olive Subscription Box (if you have another journal size, I have options down below)
- A Pen - mine is from Muji, but one of the A&O Acrylograph pens or gel pens would work beautifully here
- A Brush Pen - Mine is a Pentel Brush Sign pen because of the colour, but A&O sell Calliograph brush pens that are to die for
- A Metal Ruler or one that you don’t mind damaging
- X-Acto Knife or Scissors
*Don’t forget to use code VERO10 if you want to buy any of these items!
Creating your Finance Tracker
Step 1 - List your financial categories
List out all of the categories you’d like to track on a separate piece of paper.
In 2023, I’ll be tracking 11 categories under expenses: Groceries, Fuel/Transport, Fitness/Wellbeing, Restaurants/Cafes/Takeaways, Travel/Experiences, Verobujo expenses, Clothing/Accessories, Penpalling, Superannuation (this Australia’s retirement system), Income Tax, and Miscellaneous.
I’ll also be tracking 6 categories under income: Salary, Affiliates, Etsy, Superannuation, Bank Interest, Other.
Now that I know how many rows I need it’s time to start calculating the spacing.
Step 2 - Cutout your dutch door
I’m going to assume you’re using an A5 journal, but just in case you’re using a Letter-sized journal I’ve got options for you at the end of this step.
Starting from the centre of your journal, count 18.5 squares across. This is where your dutch door will end. I include 0.5 squares because I don’t want to cut on the 18th square exactly. The 18 squares will be divided by 3, as you’ll fit 3 months/1quarter per page.
If you are using a larger notebook, I didn’t cut out a dutch door, instead I fit 12 months across two pages. Instead of each month fitting in 6 squares, I used 5 squares per month.
Step 3 - Centre your categories
I’m going to randomly pick a spot to start writing my categories down on the left side of my journal. Do this with a pencil.
Things to think about when you're writing your categories down:
- Space for the titles: Expenses & Income
- Space in between your Expenses Table and your Income Table
- Extra space for any categories you may think of later
- Extra line for Expenses Total line and Income Total line
Based on where my last word ends, I’ll either move things up a line or down a line when I go over it with a pen, just to make it more centred on my page.
Step 4 - Draw your boxes.
With a ruler, draw the boxes starting from the centre of the page. The table starts at the top of your first expense, down to the total. Then i draw an extra line to separate the total line.
I write the first three letters of each month above my table and then add a last total box on the right page.
This last totals box is to figure out how much i spend per category per year. Whereas the total box under each month is my total per month all categories included.
Plan with me and see exactly how I created this spread here:
If you don’t have the time to recreate this spread today, I’ve also created this printable for you to use, it’s a brainstorming sheet, where you’ll fill out all of the categories you’d like to track in expenses and in income. Along with the months of the year so you can fill out each category!
If you’re interested in seeing how I painted the designs around my finance tracker, stay tuned for my 2023 Bullet Journal Plan With Me. You can find it by subscribing to my YouTube channel and turning on your notifications!
I hope this tracker helps you get on top of your financial goals for 2023.