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3 Easy Steps to SMART Money Management and Free Budget Planner

Usually, at the start of a new year, people make different kinds of resolutions or commitments depending on their issues in life. As discussed in my first blog post this 2020, mastering time management

In this post, I would like to tackle money management (and I'm giving a free Budget Planner printable at the end of this post). It's not that I (or my family) am in some sort of money trouble. People don't need to have a financial problem to be more mindful of handling finances.

As parents or husband/wife, we need to take care of our finances in order to provide for our family's needs. Life is not getting any easier as our children are growing up and having more expenses especially as they go to college.

After many years of being a housewife, one very important thing that I've learned when it comes to money management is to keep track of things. I don't write down our expenses everyday, but I have a pretty good idea of how much money we received and spent. I use an MS Excel file to monitor almost everything. Doing this is good for at least four reasons:

  1. It helps to know how much money we have or don't have so we don't overspend.
  2. It helps to know what are the things we spend our money on so that we can evaluate what we can stop buying or buy less to save some money.
  3. It helps my husband and I know where did the money go so we don't fight over it.
  4. It helps us to plan things that need finances, which is almost everything, right? We could say if we can afford something or not and make a decision about it.

Since I already have this system in place, it's been a great help in managing our finances. But what I'd like to see is how we can save more. 

The first step is to create SMART financial goals.

What are SMART Financial Goals?

SMART goals help in designing goals that satisfy your personal circumstances so you can reach them and live the life you want. This concept is important regardless if you’re making spending, savings, income, or investment goals.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. An example of a SMART goal is I will save P50,000 in the next 50 weeks so I can pay for my next vacation in cash.

You can have several financial goals depending on what you need and want. You can have a goal for saving for your child's education, making investments or buying a home.

SMART goals

The second step is to create a SMART plan.

Make a SMART Plan

When you already have your financial goals, the next step is to create a SMART plan. A plan includes the step of how you can achieve your goal. For instance, I will save P1,000 every week for 50 weeks by bringing lunch instead of buying fast food and Starbucks coffee.

This step includes making a budget plan. If you've never sat down to write one, now is a great time to do so. If you want to improve your finances, you should know where your money is spent every month. Then you can see where you can adjust so you can save more money or pay your debts.

I will write another post detailing the basics of making a budget.

The third step is to stick to your SMART plan.

Follow Your Plan

The last step is to stick to your plan: Put that P1,000 aside every week so you can pay for your next vacation in cash. Be sure to use a Financial or Budget Planner to monitor how you are executing your plans. You can use daily, weekly or monthly logs to know the amount of all your income and expenses. You can use a simple log/notebook or a program like MS Excel or Google Sheets (it's free to use if you can go online).

You can also use a budget planner printable, I am planning to use one this year. If you want a budget planner printable, I have one for you. You can get it for free if you're a subscriber to my blog. 

This budget planner includes pages for writing your financial goals, savings tracker, expense tracker, debt tracker, weekly spending log and monthly budget planner.  Here is a preview of the budget planner.


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