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Staying on track with your budget is crucial. Your budget is both your financial planner and the tool that tracks your money. It will help you plan how you allocate funds, enable you to plan for the future, and empower you to take control of your finances. It’s one thing to make a budget, but actually sticking to it is another thing entirely. You don’t want your budget to be a static document, so you’ll need to continually track your expenses and income and adjust your budget so it’s accurate and helpful. Below, we’ve created templates you can use for tracking your financial life.

Before we dive into these budget tracker templates, here are a few pieces of advice to keep in mind while using them:

  • Don’t be too strict. When you start using a budget, you should think of it as a guide to begin seeing how your finances take shape. You need to remember to be flexible. You’re going off of estimates when you get started, so set reasonable limits and adjust as needed. Remember, this tool is a framework meant to guide you.
  • Find a system that works for you. We hope the templates we’ve provided below are helpful! You’re welcome to convert them to a spreadsheet like Google Sheet or handwrite your budget out in a notebook, whatever works for you.
  • Schedule time to review your budget. It’s really easy to skip regular fiscal tracking your budget, because there are no immediate, obvious consequences for doing so. Set aside an hour at the end of each month to go over your budget. How much did you spend that month? Were you on target? Do you need to make changes? This time will definitely be worth the investment in the long run! Plus, once you get into the swing of tracking things, you’ll have a great financial habit that will serve you well throughout your life.

Sample College Student Budget Tracker

Expense Type Amount
Income
Parent contribution $100
Work $500
Financial aid (after tuition/fees) $200
Total $800
Fixed Expenses
Rent (if off-campus) $0
Car insurance/payment $100
Cell Phone $20
Total $120
Flexible Expenses
Groceries (in addition to meal plan) $50
Dining out $50
Gas $50
Entertainment $75
Miscellaneous $75
Total $300
Savings $380

 

Sample Recent College Grad Budget Tracker

Expense Type Amount
Income
Work $3,000
Fixed Expenses
Rent $800
Utilities $200
Car insurance/payment $100
Cell phone $20
Gym membership $50
Student loan payment $250
Total $1,420
Flexible Expenses
Groceries $200
Dining out $100
Gas $75
Entertainment $100
Miscellaneous $75
Total $550
Savings $1,030

Categories: Budgeting