7 Best Budget Planners (That You Can Begin Using Right Away)


Do you have a system in place to keep track of your receipts, bills and savings?  It is incredibly important to track small details so that you can determine where you can save some money each month. 

Budget planners work well for keeping track of earnings, expenses and savings, all in one place. Being able to review everything at the end of the month or year will provide a clear picture of what you have accomplished and where you still need to improve.

This post will go over 7 of the best budget planners to help you along your path to discovering where your money is going and how you can save more money.

Top 3 Budget Planners

     

#1: Budget Planner Bill Organizer Book

This budget planner includes areas to keep all of your receipts and bills in monthly sections, as well as separate cash envelopes to save up money for something special.  No more searching around for receipts and bills, you can keep them all in one handy place!

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 8 ¼” x 6.5” x 1” high 

Item Weight: 1.14 lbs

Manufacturer: Global Innovation Network LLC

Brand: Budgetizer

Pros:

  • This planner is undated, so you can purchase it any time and begin using it right away
  • Pages in the planner are envelopes so that you can store your monthly receipts and bills right in the envelope for that month
  • There is also a two page spread for each month, so you can track your expenses and even use this as your regular planner if you want
  • Includes a section for Christmas and holiday spending, as this is often when we have the most individual expenses and many receipts to keep track of, while trying to stay on budget
  • It comes with an elastic band closure to ensure nothing falls out of the planner
  • The planner is a nice size, bigger than most but not too big
  • Includes a year expense review page, so that you can actually see how much was spent throughout the year and where you were able to save
  • Lots of space to make notes about daily spending habits, one off gift purchases, luxury items, etc….
  • Great quality
  • Easy to stick into your purse so that you can slip your receipts right into the monthly envelope pages

Cons:

  • The receipts and bills storage areas don’t have a full cover at the front of each page, so there is the possibility of these important documents falling out, if you’re not careful
  • If you have a hard time keeping track of small details, you may not fully use this planner, as it is very detailed

Summary 

This budget planner comes with 166 pages and spiral binding.  It is a great option for people of any age. It is detailed enough that somebody just starting out can learn how to properly budget and save and be able to see where their money is going.

#2: Budget Bee Systems Budget Planner

This budget planner is lightweight and small, making it easy to carry around.  It comes with 12 cash envelopes to use for monthly savings, that are each 6 ⅝” x 5.5”. 

There is also the option to purchase another package of 12 envelopes if you need more.  These envelopes can be used for long term savings towards a trip or even just saving for groceries.

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 5.8” x 8.3” x 0.8”

Item Weight: 0.6 lbs

Manufacturer: Guangzhou Xinqicai Printing Co.

Brand: Budget Bee Systems

Pros:

  • Comes with 12 sturdy cash envelopes
  • Has 12 monthly expenses review pages
  • Pages to track holiday purchases and ideas for purchases, as well as your holiday spending budget
  • Comes with a savings tracker, a debt tracker, monthly budget review and extra pages for notes
  • Not date specific, so you can begin using it at any time

Cons:

  • Only comes in two colours
  • It comes with stickers, but they are not very useful
  • The monthly expense pages already have details filled in for specific bills, but this may not apply to everyone and doesn’t leave a lot of space to add different bills
  • No elastic closure to hold everything in place

Summary

This is a simple budgeting book.  It allows you to keep track of most of your financial details throughout each month.  The cash envelopes are handy to create a budget for specific purchases that you are saving up for.  They are better quality than other standard envelopes. 

#3: Legend Budget Planner – Deluxe Financial Planner Organizer & Budget Notebook

The Legend Budget Planner is a planner that I have heard about on many different occasions.  So I was excited to finally review it myself! 

At first glance, it really doesn’t seem all that different than other budget planners.  It comes with stickers, it is undated, comes with an elastic pen holder attachment and an inner pocket for receipts and bills. 

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 5.5” x 8.3” x 0.6”

Item Weight: 0.71 lbs

Manufacturer: Legend Planner

Brand: Legend Planner

Pros:

  • Has pages for financial goals, mind map, savings tracking, debt tracking, 8 pages for each month, Christmas budgeting, bill tracking, annual summary
  • It is undated, so you can begin using it at any point in the year
  • Has thick paper, so the pen won’t bleed through
  • Nice hard cover, made of leather
  • There are no pre-filled areas for bills, which leaves more space to write your actual bills

Cons:

  • Only includes one folder for receipts and bills for the entire year
  • Includes stickers that aren’t overly useful
  • The debt tracking area, where most people really want to focus is lacking space; it would be better if there were dedicated sections to credit card, car loan, mortgage, etc….

Summary:

While this planner is very similar to most of the other planners, I like that there was a place at the beginning of the planner to write your LIFE goals.  This means that you have this goal set in place now and can start to figure out ways to reach those goals by the dates that you have set.

Having the monthly regular bill tracking and then the monthly expenses summary is amazing!  This allows you to add up everything for the month and then add it to these sheets to get a full year view of where your money went. 

This may reveal patterns of which months are often the most expensive or least expensive and where you could potentially improve for next year.

#4: Clever Fox Budget Planner

The Clever Fox Budget Planner comes in 5 beautiful colours and is surrounded by a hard cover. 

It comes with an elastic band closure, which keeps everything in place and there is also a secure place to store your pen so that you don’t have to search around the house before you can write in the planner. 

This planner is for monthly personal finance tracking, which you can begin using at any point in the year, due to the undated calendar format.

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 8.3” x 5.8” x 0.7”

Item Weight: 0.5 lbs

Manufacturer: Clever Fox

Brand: Clever Fox

Pros:

  • They are not just feminine colours, like some of the other planners
  • Includes pages at the beginning of the planner for setting your financial goals, savings tracking and debt tracking, so they can quickly be viewed to see your progress
  • 8 pages are provided for each month
  • Includes Christmas budgeting pages
  • At the end, there are 2 pages to summarize your spending and saving for the entire year
  • Feels nice to hold onto, the cover material is leatherette
  • Provides list of common bills, but also lots of space to write different bills
  • Allows you to track what you expected the bill to be and then what the bill actually was, so that you can see if there are any surprises
  • The savings tracker and debt tracker are a good visual to have to see how close you are to your savings goal and how close you are to paying off a bill (such as a credit card)

Cons:

  • Only has one pocket for all bills and receipts for the entire year
  • Comes with stickers that aren’t overly useful and don’t fit in the calendar boxes
  • It is set up for monthly tracking, but this could make it more challenging when people are receiving income every week or every other week
  • The calendar is small, so not easy to write anything on

Summary

This planner checks off most boxes as far as the details inside of it.  It could be made better by having separate pockets to put in receipts and bills for each month.  It may become overwhelming to have all receipts and bills in one pocket and lead to a person not using the planner.  

Overall, it is a great budget planner and can be used by people of all ages.  It is attractive, nice to hold on to and fits easily in a purse to take along with you, if you want. 

#5: Clever Fox Budget Book

I know what you’re thinking.  Didn’t we just review the Clever Fox Planner?  Yes, we did, but they are actually two different products, both covering personal finance tracking. 

One is labeled as a budget planner, while this one is labeled a budget book.  Let’s see where the differences are…..

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 5.3” x 7.7” x 0.7”

Item Weight: 0.63 lbs

Manufacturer: Clever Fox

Brand: Clever Fox

Pros:

  • 6 different options for the cover
  • Elastic closure for keeping everything in place
  • Has a pen holder
  • Leather hard-cover
  • 8 pages per month, which includes planning and budgeting sheets, monthly expense tracking, monthly review, ideas and notes pages
  • At the back of the book there are pages for savings tracking, debt tracking, regular bill tracking, annual summary

Cons:

  • 4 of the cover designs are different shades of green, which doesn’t give a lot of options
  • Comes with stickers that aren’t very useful
  • Only has one area to put your bills and receipts for the entire year
  • Doesn’t have an actual monthly calendar to fill out, but it does have an area for upcoming bills

Summary:

While there are similarities to the Clever Fox Budget Planner, one big difference is the size of the book overall. 

If you are travelling frequently and need to keep track of your expenses on the go, this book would be a better option.  Otherwise, for daily tracking of personal expenses, the Clever Fox Budget Planner would be easier to use.

This budget book isn’t really any different than the other planners of similar size, so there is nothing that stands out as amazing.  It would work fine, but at the end of the day, they are all so similar, that the biggest factor to consider would just be the price.

#6: GoGirl Budget Planner

When I was scrolling through budget planners, I saw the GoGirl Budget Planner and initially thought it was the Clever Fox Planner, as they look very similar. 

I was interested in comparing the two to see if there were any big differences.  Seeing as this is Go”Girl”, it is very female focused and there does not seem to be a GoBoy Budget Planner.  

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 5.3″ x 7.7″ x 0.6”

Item Weight: 0.5 lbs

Manufacturer: GoGirl

Brand: GoGirl

Pros:

  • Comes in 12 beautiful colours
  • An elastic piece to hold your pen, so you don’t have to go searching for a pen each time
  • Nice to hold, hard cover is made of leather
  • There is an elastic band around the planner to hold everything in place
  • Calendars are undated, so you can begin using at any point during the year and all expenses, savings, etc… sheets are not prefilled, so you have the freedom of filling in what you feel is necessary
  • There is plenty of room to track expenses, earnings and savings each month
  • Thick pages, so no bleed through from your pen

Cons:

  • There is only one envelope to hold all bills and receipts for the whole year
  • Comes with stickers, but again they are not overly useful
  • Likely only works well for people who are travelling frequently, it may be too small to keep daily notes in for regular personal finance tracking

Summary:

Like many budget planners, the expense tracking has a column for the budgeted amount and the actual amount, as well as a place to show the difference.  This is great for tracking any unexpected changes each month. 

If you are seeing an upward trend each month, either you need to cut back on something, or if it’s for a service such as your TV service bill, you may need to contact them to see why the price keeps going up.

The manufacturer of this planner really stresses that it’s small and convenient for tracking expenses on the go. 

However, unless you are traveling frequently for business purposes, you likely won’t actually be writing down your expenses until you are at home, comfortable in your jammies.  So the small size may actually be a negative aspect, as it’s harder to write in a smaller book and read the smaller print.  

#7: Monthly & Weekly Budget Planner Organizer

This weekly and monthly budget planner has a very plain appearance and there is only one option for the cover.  This was intentional, so that you can make any changes you want to make it more personalized. It is undated, as with the other planners, so you can begin using it any time.

Product Information:

Item Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1” x 0.6”

Item Weight: 0.65 lbs

Manufacturer: Lamare

Brand: Lamare

Pros:

  • Pages for tracking every day spending, paying off debt, savings tracking, upcoming bills to pay, monthly overview
  • Comes with monthly calendars
  • Lots of lines for writing in different expenses
  • Savings goals and savings trackers included for a visual representation of what you have been able to save

Cons:

  • The space provided to write in your expenses and savings is small, so it may be hard to write small enough
  • Debt and savings tracker are for the full year, not monthly
  • Doesn’t have a pen holder, elastic to hold the planner closed or an envelope to hold receipts and bills

Summary:

If you are looking for a very basic budget planner, that is small and can be taken everywhere with you, this will likely work well for you.  It is missing some of the qualities that are provided with the other budget planners and the price isn’t much lower to make up for what is missing.

Premium Plastic Budget Envelopes with Snap and Monthly Budget Planner Organizer Inserts by Saveyon

This is not a budget planner, but something that can be added to the planners.  They are cash envelopes, which you can use when saving up for something special.  This could include a trip, a gift for somebody, or really anything you want. 

Sometimes having the physical money set aside in an envelope will make it more likely that you will save that money.

Each envelope is 3.25” x 6.5” and they are tear resistant plastic.  Each envelope has a snap closure to keep the bills safe inside.  It comes with 24 sticker labels so that you know what the money inside is for, 12 double sided expense tracking sheets and 12 monthly budget sheets. The envelopes can also be used to hold bills and receipts.

If you are wanting to put these envelopes into your wallet, they may not fit well because of the snaps.  However, I imagine most people would use these at home and store them in a safe spot.  Having them with you everywhere you go could result in an envelope of money getting lost.

What are Budget Planners?

Budget planners are designed specifically to keep track of expenses, earnings and savings for the week, the month and the whole year. 

It allows you to see where you could make improvements in your spending habits and begin saving for future enjoyment.

What is the best budget planner?

The best budget planner is hands down the Budget Planner Bill Organizer Book by Budgetizer.  It is the largest budget planner, includes 12 separate spots to store your monthly bills and receipts, allowing you to truly organize by the month and it even comes with cash envelopes! 

Compared to the other budget planners, this is the only one that dared to do something different.  The rest of them are all very similar and therefore the only thing separating them is the cost. 

How do budget planners save money?

Budget planners are a place to store all receipts and bills and keep track of every little detail. 

If you don’t keep track of what your true earnings are each month (after taxes have been removed) and then subtract your bills and other expenses from that amount, you will never truly know where you stand financially.  

It is best to find a planner where you can keep track of your daily or weekly spending, so that you can spot any issues before it becomes a big problem.

With the right budget planner (whether it be in book form, online or on a spreadsheet), you will get to see the bigger picture and can then figure out where you could cut costs. 

This could be limiting how many times you go out for dinner each month, or not going on multiple trips per year or even not buying your kids as many new toys and clothes!  It could even be getting rid of Netflix or changing your phone plan to a more affordable one.

Budget planners may also provide a space to keep physical money in envelopes to work towards a specific purpose. 

You may be saving up for a special trip and need $3000 and you are hoping to go in 2 years.  So from there, you figure you will need 3000 / 24 months = $125 per month.  If you are putting $125 in this envelope each month, you are much more likely to save it.

Whereas, if you try to set money aside in your bank account, it’s more tempting to just use your debit card and spend more than you should.  The methods to set some money aside in your bank account isn’t as simple as having the actual money in your hands (envelope).  

save money with a budget planner

What is the best online budget planner?

The best free online budget planners are:

Mint

BudgetPulse

BudgetSimple

The best paid online budget planners are:

QuickBooks

Freshbooks

Buxfer

The best budget planner apps are:

Mint

YNAB

EveryDollar

Other Options:

Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets – Spreadsheets are effective for tracking your expenses, you can use this expense tracking spreadsheet to get started

Regular planner – Use the calendars and note sections to track upcoming bills, expenses, savings, and more

Finances notebook – Use a plain notebook and turn into your own finances notebook

5 Key Benefits of Budget Planners

  1. Being able to see all of your savings, expenses and earnings in one place
  2. Keeping track of your short and long-term financial goals
  3. Identifying unnecessary expenses that you can get rid of
  4. Keeping yourself accountable 
  5. Allows you to see your debt going down each month

Conclusion

So, as you can see, there are many options out there for keeping track of your income and expenses.  They all have their benefits and downfalls but the ultimate goal of any financial tracking is to help you succeed for life. 

As with any planner, you will only reap the benefits if you actually put in the time to use the budget planner often and correctly.  

Being able to see exactly what your income is and where that money is going can be a real eye opener! 

You may be throwing money away to interest payments that could be avoided if you saved properly.  Or you may be depending on the bank to properly enter your income and expenses, and just accepting that your bank statement is accurate.  This may be incorrect though and you wouldn’t know unless you took the time to track the money yourself.  

If you aren’t taking the time to track everything, you are missing opportunities to save money and live the life you truly want.  You possibly don’t have to struggle month to month. 

Financial planning is definitely worth investing some time into.  Once you are consistently tracking your earnings and expenses, it will no longer feel like a chore, and will just be something that you do automatically!

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