5 Steps To Review Your Budget Every Week
Read time: 4 minutes.
Welcome to the Friday FinTips newsletter, where I provide tips to simplify how you manage money.
Happy Friday! I hope your week went well.
I’m a big fan of checking your budget every week. Once everything's set up, it should only take you about 10-15 minutes. Granted, if you really enjoy budgeting you MAY spend more time than that (for fun). Who does that? Definitely not me!
Below are 5 steps to review your budget every week.
1. Pick a day that works for you
Any day works - just try to be consistent. I like Fridays because it gives us a good glimpse of everything before we go into the weekend (which is when we typically go out and spend money).
A calendar reminder on your phone helps. Or, if something happens the same day every week you could use that as a reminder (like getting paid every Friday).
2. Use tools to gather your data
Time: 2-3 minutes
I use Mint. Once a week I download all the transactions from Mint and put them into our budget. The Friday FinTips budget has instructions that explain this in detail. If you’re not using Mint, you should still be able to download your data from whatever service you chose.
The goal here is NOT to record all the data yourself. That can take a lot of time and energy. Let a website/app do it for you (preferably a free one, but it's your call).
3. Add the data your budget and update the subcategories
Time: 4-5 minutes
Reminder: subcategories are things like Rent, Utilities, Entertainment, or Clothes. They fall under either Needs, Wants, or Savings (which are your main Categories).
Double check that your subcategories are accurate. This step is important because it’ll affect how much is left in each category.
If you’re using the Friday FinTips budget, you can easily pick your subcategories on the Transactions tab. Reminder for those using the FFT budgets: anything highlighted in red is NOT on your subcategory list. Either (1) change those or (2) add them on the Start Here tab.
4. Check your graphs & remaining balances
Time: 4-5 minutes
If you aren't using a Friday FinTips budget, this step may not apply to you.
But, this is my favorite part (#NerdAlert). This will show you where you are over/under budget. I usually keep an eye on expenses that increase as the month goes on (like groceries, adventures, or transportation).
You want to make sure you’re not getting close to your max budget (or going over budget). But if you DO go over budget, don’t worry! As long as you’re under budget in another category, it’ll be okay! (But what if you go over budget in EVERY category? I’ll talk about that soon, in a future newsletter.)
5. Go enjoy the rest of your weekend!
This is why I do our budget on Fridays. We get a snapshot of where we stand and then go out and enjoy the weekend.
It tells me if we need to take it easy on those dessert adventures or if we can get some more. Fingers crossed it’s the “more” option!
Compare your process to the steps above and see if any particular step is taking longer than I mentioned. If it is, and you don't want it to, let me know and we can try to brainstorm together.
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend and see you next Friday!