Have you been putting off making a budget because you’re too busy or don’t know where to start? Or do you feel like it’s not necessary because you get the “general idea” of what’s coming in and what’s going out? We feel you; starting a new budget or dusting off an old one can seem overwhelming or unnecessary. We completely understand why it keeps getting pushed down on the long list of life’s to-dos. One is here to help you quickly get your finances in order because we already did the heavy lifting for you with our easy to follow budget template. Did we mention we made all the columns automatically add for you? Yep. No complicated math or formulas required. The template is built, so all you have to do is input a few numbers here and there. Let’s get started!
Why do I need a budget?
If you’re on a fixed income, like most of us, you’ll need a personal budget to keep track of your income (paycheck) against your expenses (bills). When your expenses become higher than what you’re earning, it can lead to a financial gap and most likely takes a turn towards accruing personal debt. When a major life event happens, such as a new job, marriage or gaps between work, an up-to-date budget can help avoid overspending by quickly adjusting a column or two.
How do I start one?
Save a copy of our budget template on your computer.
2. Gather Finances
Pull together your recent paycheck stub, credit card statements, and general household bills.
3. Fill It Out
Input your numbers in the rows and delete or ignore any suggested rows that don’t apply to you.
4. Don’t Forget
This budget is for your eyes only. Make it a self judgment-free zone. It’s a great time to be honest with yourself about how you spend your money. If you overspent in some areas, it’s okay, you can fix it by adjusting your spend next month. You’ll only get the true financial picture if you’re accurately reporting.
Our template automatically calculates every month’s total to clearly show the difference between expenses and income, so let’s move on!
6. Pair Down
Check over all your rows to see where you might be able to cut down or cut completely out. A few dollars here and there can really add up in the long term.
Kick start building some savings if there is leftover money. You’ll earn 1.00% APY* in your Save Pocket.
8. Simplify Income
By adding your paycheck direct deposit to your One account you’ll get paid earlier than your co-workers. By having access to your money sooner, you’ll be able to pay bills and get life done while avoiding late payment fees and high credit card rates.**
Need versus want: how to tell the difference
Now that you’ve filled out everything coming in and going out, take a few minutes to check over your list of expenses. If you’re hoping to cut down on spending, ask yourself each row, “is this a need or a want?” You’ll know it’s a “need” if it’s something that’s necessary for basic living or to do your job. A “need” example could be rent, a car or electricity. There are some expenses you can’t cut out. On the other hand, there’s the wants and nice-to-have. You’ll know it’s a “want” if it’s something that isn’t necessary to live or to do your job. We don’t doubt you like having it, but you might not “need” it. A “want” example could be streaming services, dining out, or new trendy clothes. For some, there won’t be anything in the expense column that can be cut out by the “want” label, but we might be able to adjust the amount spent per need. Shopping generic versus brand name labels can help you save in many areas like food and clothes. You’ll still continue to get your needs met but at a lower cost. We suggest reading 20 tips to save more to learn other easy ways to cut down on spending.
How can I simplify my finances overall?
It can be hard to keep track of every credit card, debit card along with the several bank accounts when they’re spread across a handful of providers, many websites, different logins, downloaded apps and physical spaces. It’s really pretty easy to understand why many people avoid pulling together their full financial picture. It takes too long to collect. Thankfully, One is here to simplify your money and that will help simplify your life. We’re one app, one account and one card. Have access to all your finances in a few taps. Check on your spend through our easy to read dashboard or easily switch over to your Save Pocket to check on growth. From your paycheck direct deposit to managing money together through a joint Pocket, One is simplifying the way we merge money and life.
How do I maximize my paycheck?
Your paycheck can do so much more than just appearing in your hand or account on payday. Did you know you can earn more by adding a paycheck direct deposit to your One account? When you add, you’ll unlock a whole new level of exclusive benefits:
- Earn 1.00% APY* in your Save Pocket increased from $5,000 to $25,000.
- Increased Credit Line amount (subject to approval).
- Access to your paycheck deposit earlier with Early Paycheck.**
How do I plan for saving?
If you’re still with us and part one of the budget template was a breeze, let’s dive into how to plan for saving. We inserted a line called “difference” in our budget planner. This line automatically calculates what you’re bringing in each month against your monthly expenses. Take notice of the box colors in this row. Are some months green (you have money left over after all your bills are paid), or are some months red (you spent more money than you earned)? In the green months, you’ll have money left that can go into savings (your Save Pocket). Also, great job! Small amounts of savings can lead to bigger financial cushions later on.
Can I automate my savings?
Absolutely! There are a few easy ways to automatically save the extra money every month because…now you know it’s available thanks to your new budget tracker. Let’s turn your extra cash into an interest-earning savings machine on auto-pilot with:
Toggle your card Auto-Save to “on,” and you’re done! When you use your One card to shop, we’ll automatically round up the total to the next dollar, transfer the difference from your Spend Pocket to your Auto-Save Pocket. There, you’ll earn 3.00% APY* on your savings.
Add a paycheck direct deposit to your account (if you haven’t done it already), then toggle your paycheck Auto-Save to “on.” Based on your budget sheet, you’ll be able to calculate what percentage of your paycheck is left over every month and can automatically deposit that percentage into your Auto-Save Pocket. You’ll earn 3.00% APY* on up to 10% of your paycheck (up to $1,000/month) with paycheck Auto-Save.
We all have different savings goals, and One is here to help get you started. No matter if you’re looking to build an emergency fund, saving up for a down payment, or other long-term savings goals…we’ll help get you there with our Auto-Save features. Compared to other leading digital and traditional banks, One is the industry leader in automatic saving rates. Don’t just put your money away to collect dust with little to no interest earned. Supercharge your savings to earn its highest potential.
Your financial wellness is our mission. Sign up to learn more ways One can help you automatically build your savings while living life.
*Annual Percentage Yield effective as of 9/1/2020 and subject to change. 1.00% APY available on Save balances up to $5,000 and up to $25,000 with qualifying direct deposits. 3.00% APY available on all Auto-Save balances. Maximum contributions of up to $1,000 per month in paycheck Auto-Save and no maximum contribution for card Auto-Save.
**Early Paycheck may post up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. Early direct deposit of a paycheck depends on factors such as timing of the payer’s deposit transmission, and the type of payer transmitting the deposit. Learn more about what qualifies as a paycheck direct deposit here.
Banking services provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.
The One card is issued by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.
Katie is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from building better financial health to credit cards. They are currently based in Sacramento, CA with their puppy Ollie and cat Bagel.