How to Customize Your Budget Binder Printables

Customizable Budget Binder | Accidental Okie 

I’ve had some requests to provide customizable options for my original Budget Binder Printables

I’m honestly blushing. In just a few short months, my budget binder post has been seen by thousands and thousands of people. It’s on the top page of Google searches for budget binder printables and it’s all over Pinterest! I’m so thankful it’s been a resource for people.

So because the public demands it, I present to you customizable sheets.

Below you’ll find two types of downloads for each blank page: PDFs and PNGs. Here’s the super technical low down on the downloads: PDFs are larger files. They’ll always be crisper, which is why I only have PDFs of the original budget binder printables. The only problem is that unless you’re using Adobe Illustrator, you can’t modify PDFs. Use the blank PDF pages if your plan is to write in your headers by hand.

The next set are PNGs. These are image files like JPEGs, but PNGs work best for images with straight lines and text (JPEGs work best for photos). Use PNGs for creating your very own customized budget binder sheets. But how? I’ll show you below in a step-by-step tutorial.

1. Pick Your Download.

You’ll find a section that looks like this at the bottom of the post.

Customizable Budget Binder 1 | Accidental Okie

 2. Save the File

Right click on the image and select, Save Image As. Save the image somewhere easy to get. I made a folder on my desktop.

Customizable Budget Binder 2 | Accidental Okie

3. Insert Image.

Open a new Word document. Under the Insert tab, select Picture, and then Insert Picture from File.

Customizable Budget Binder 3 | Accidental Okie

4.  Select File.

Use the dialog box to select your file and insert it.

Customizable Budget Binder 4 | Accidental Okie

5. Format Image

After the file is inserted, click on it. Then click on the Picture Tools header that will appear. Next find the Text Wrapping box. It has a picture with a dog silhouette. Select Through (you may have to push More to find Through). This will let you move the picture around the document as needed.

Customizable Budget Binder 5 | Accidental Okie

6. Stretch Image

I’ve already formatted the budget binder sheets with a margin for binders, so all you need to do is stretch out the binder sheet to the edge of the page and it will fit perfectly, margins and all.

Remember to push shift while stretching the image so it doesn’t become disproportional.

If you don’t push shift, the image will get all wonky and distorted within the actual file. You’ll need to delete it and re-insert. And if you were in the design class I taught in grad school, I would take off an entire letter grade…if I was in a generous mood. Otherwise, I would fail you.

So really, push shift.

Customizable Budget Binder 6 | Accidental Okie

7. Under the Insert tab, add a text box.

Customizable Budget Binder 7 | Accidental Okie8. Insert your content.

Move the text box to the bottom of the page and insert your content. I created a budget sheet for school supplies.

Customizable Budget Binder 8 | Accidental Okie

9. Format Text Box

Right click on the text box and select Format Text Box, and select No Color for the fill and line colors.

Customizable Budget Binder 9 | Accidental Okie

10. Format Text

Chose your font and size. I used AlexandriaFLF font from the original post so it would match the rest of the budget binder series. But you can use whatever font you want!

Customizable Budget Binder 10 | Accidental Okie

11. Create Headers

Create more text boxes and format them the same way you did before. Name your headers whatever you want and center them above each section.

You have three columns to do with whatever you want. I decided this budget sheet is for someone in England.

Customizable Budget Binder 11 | Accidental Okie

12. You’re Done!Customizable Budget Binder 13 | Accidental Okie

Below you’ll find templates for everything – binder cover, section covers and budget sheets! If you want ideas for what I did for each item, make sure to look at the original Budget Binder Printables Post!

I would love to know how you use your customized budget binder! Make sure to post it in the comments.

PDF’s

Cover 
Yellow Cover | Yellow Budget Sheet 
Turquoise Cover | Turquoise Budget Sheet 
Purple Cover | Purple Budget Sheet 
Coral Cover | Coral Budget Sheet 
Green Cover | Green Budget Sheet 

PNG’s

Cover 
Yellow Cover | Yellow Budget Sheet 
Turquoise Cover | Turquoise Budget Sheet 
Purple Cover | Purple Budget Sheet 
Coral Cover | Coral Budget Sheet 
Green Cover | Green Budget Sheet 

AlexandriaFLF Font Download

Weekly Meal Plan Organizer (And Free Printables)

If you’ve been following my epic budgeting series, you’ll know this is step three in my journey. First, I had to sort through the emotional junk that comes with budgeting. Next, I created a beautiful and functional budget binder that I made available to you. Now, it’s time to tackle the grocery budget.

The Professor and I realized our grocery budget seemed to be the area where money constantly seeps out. Does this happen to anyone else?  

As we looked at our schedule and our pattern of over spending, we noticed several things were happening. On Saturday, I’d plan our week’s meals and go buy the ingredients. But then as the week progressed, I’d forget what that bell pepper or that can of tomatoes was for. Heck, I’d forget what meals I was planning on cooking period. Then I’d open the fridge to a confusing sea of ingredients and come to the conclusion that we had absolutely nothing to cook for dinner. Logical, right?

Please, please tell me I’m not alone in this vicious cycle!

There were a lot of victims to my failed endeavors: the many bunches of cilantro that never realized their life’s zesty purpose and instead turned to stinky goo.  The salad dressing ingredients that were left dusty on the shelf.  The once-crunchy cucumber that finally succumbed to the moldy pocks covering its skin. But hands down, the biggest victim was our budget.  

Once we realized the first problem, another issue surfaced. I would plan meals – not elaborate meals, but from-scratch, 30-40 minutes prep and cook-time meals.  On nights when we were both busy, those meals were too difficult to make, so we would end up grabbing Thai food or burgers. And it only gets worse from there. I take almost exclusively leftovers for lunches. No dinner means no leftovers, which means eating out for lunch too. It’s a one-two-three punch that left us realizing why all our money kept disappearing down the drain…or to the back of the produce drawer.

Not good for us. Not good for the budget.

The Professor and I decided to go through our weekly routine and designate which evenings needed a quick dinner, which could have a sit-down dinner, and which nights we needed to fend for ourselves. With this schedule, I could more specifically plan meals.

There was also the matter of forgetting what I bought at the store.  I needed to solve that problem. And then, as if through divine intervention, I had an idea. Like all the best ideas, it involved ingenuity, a bit of elbow grease and chevron stripes.

Budget Dinner Plans 6

This is our weekly meal planner. It lives on the fridge. It has a pretty frame. It works with dry erase markers.  And I love it.  After literally dozens of tries in different lighting, I can’t get a great photo of it. Sorry.

The meal planner has helped immensely. The Professor and I both know what’s for dinner during the week. We can quickly change plans and reorder when we need to, and now we know why there is cilantro in the fridge. It also allows me to use a lot of a certain ingredient in different ways. As you might guess, the week photographed here started with a pack of chicken breasts.

It also lets me sneak in some of The Professor’s less favorite meals. He doesn’t like my sushi rice bowl recipe, so I cooked it on a night he was out. I got my sushi salad and lunch for the next few days, and he didn’t have to eat it. 

Budget Dinner Plans 3

For the paper backer, I didn’t want it too frilly, but I also wanted it to be custom and fun and special. With that in mind, I used a script font with fancy glyphs and a simple sans serif font for the days of the week and details. I also wanted it to coordinate with my budget binder, so chevron stripes were a natural choice in a background. Everything is bordered within an 8×10 inch box that can be cut out and used with any 8×10 inch picture frame. 

The days of the week include details specific to our schedules. For the free printables, I left off our details but didn’t adjust the spacing. If you want to add your own details, you have room to either write them or type them in using text boxes. I used Clemente Font for the body text, which you can download for free here.

meal planner | www.accidentalokie.comNext, it was time to find a frame. Hobby Lobby has these gorgeous shaped frames I’ve been swooning over for a while. They’re in the wall frame section, not the stand-up frame section. I got one during one of their many half-off sales, making the frame around $10.

Budget Dinner Plans 2

To hang a big picture frame on your fridge, you need a big magnet. In my first attempt, I hot glued a bunch of those tiny super-strong magnets all over the frame. That was an epic disaster. Luckily I have several Container Store Spot-On Magnet Hooks for such moments in life. This is seriously a great magnet. It. Does. Not. Move.  And it’s pretty cheap. Buy one. No buy three.

Budget Dinner Plans 6

This little project has already saved us so much money and sanity and cilantro. I hope it helps you organize your life and budget, too!

meal planner | www.accidentalokie.com

I’ve created two options for you.  The pink, which has been shown throughout this post, and a very chic yellow and gray version.

Yellow Weekly Meal Plan Organizer Free Printable (PDF)

Pink Weekly Meal Plan Organizer Free Printable (PDF)

Happy {reluctant} budgeting!

Oh, and I showed you several products from several stores, but they didn’t sponsor this post. This is just me telling you all the things that have worked for me!

xoxo,
Sarah…The AOK

Budget Binder (And Free Printables)

the reluctant budgeter

My reluctant budgeting continues.

The first time I met with my budget mentor Pat, we talked about the benefits of the cash system.  Money can seem theoretical when it’s electronically zipping out of your debit card.  A few dollars here and a little stop at the store there, and you’ve unknowingly blown your budget.

So we’re working on the cash system.  Not for everything.  We’re not taking dollars and exact change to the mortgage company, but we are using cash for everything except bills, charitable giving and gas for our cars.  It’s divided into five categories:

  • Groceries – food, cat stuff, toiletries, household cleaning supplies
  • Clothes & Makeup – including my more expensive hair-care products
  • Entertainment & Eating Out – this how we feed our Thai food addiction.
  • Play Money – a little pocket money for The Professor and me during the week.
  • Gifts – Because we have a lot of nephews and nieces, we’re putting $40 back each month for gifts and hoping that this will cover birthdays all year and Christmas.

Pat told me that I needed to figure out an organization system.  She said a budgeting system has to have two important elements: it must work for you and you must like it.

Translation: make it pretty.

Yes, you heard right…straight from my mentor’s own lips.  Her reasoning is this: who really wants to spend all that time budgeting?  But if you have to do it, it’s easier when you have created an inviting system that you can tuck into once a week.  Now, I’m sure there are accountants out there who just love spreadsheets and feel at home amongst those white and black lines, but I’m not one of those people.

Being me, I couldn’t find paper and organizers that I liked.  I knew I wanted things to be color coded.  I knew that I needed to keep details to a minimum, and I knew I wanted thick paper.  So, being me, I made my own system.

budget binderIt started with a regular-sized, 1-inch binder with the clear front pocket where you can slide in a cover sheet, some plastic binder pouches to serve as money envelopes and binder dividers.  (In case you long to be just like me, I put the links to the exact things I bought.  You know, since everyone wants to be like me.)  Then I designed my system.  Each of the five categories of the cash budget has a section within the binder that contains three items.

budget binder | www.accidentalokie.comFirst, there’s the cover page.  This is important because this where I defined my categories.  When I told Pat my grocery budget, she said it was a little high, but when I explained that it included things like cat litter, cleaning supplies and toothpaste, she said that it was actually  accurate.  (Score!)  Having all these things lumped together works for me because I buy a lot of them in the same place. Also, I knew I needed my system to be as simple as possible, or I wouldn’t use it.

budget binder ledgerNext is the ledger where once again I kept things simple.  It has three categories: date, details and dollars.  I’ve simplified things further by not recording my purchases by date, but by week.  I section off each month and write how much money we’ve budgeted for the category.  Our grocery budget has seen an increase since my sister has moved in, so we’ve been learning how to adjust for a third eater and a second gluten-free eater.

In the details column, I write down notes.  This is especially helpful if my bill was especially high.  One grocery trip, I had to buy allergy medicine and supplies for a big pizza party.  That will be good to remember when I’m reviewing the month.  I also keep track of cat expenses, so I have a better idea what to budget for Charlie and Pippa.

budget money folderFinally, each category has the cash, stored in the convenient plastic pouch from Office Max.  The goal is for these envelopes to accrue cash – for us to not spend to the limit every month but to build a cushion for a rainy day (or when we want to buy rib eyes or other splurges).

I tried the cash system once before and carried all the cash with me.  This didn’t work for two reasons: First, I was stressed about carrying several hundred dollars with me.  But second (and the real reason), I would be like “Oh look how much money I have!  I should get a coffee,” or “We can totally afford eating out again this week month.”

budget binder percentages

Another thing Pat and I talked about was deciding how much to spend on each category.  She gave me the generally accepted guidelines, which I designed as part of my binder.  My hope is to do quarterly check ups of our spending against this guide.

I’ve been on the system for about a month now.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • A cash system does not work if you forget to get cash before you leave the house.
    I’ve had to learn to give The Professor and me our $20 of play money at the beginning of every week so that we don’t use our debit cards for little purchases.  I’ve also had to make sure to get grocery money before every trip.
  • I can afford things.  
    Before I started the cash system, I spent a lot of time being frustrated because I couldn’t afford things.  I’d tell myself it was the plight of a teacher’s wife.  Now that we have entertainment and play money budget categories, I’ve been able to buy little things that I want.  I was at Target last weekend and saw the soundtrack to the Les Mis movie (the only movie I’ve seen twice in the theatre since high school), and rather than feeling sorry for myself, I bought it with my play money.
  • I spend too much.
    I’ve already pinpointed areas of over-spending, which I’m now able to address.  Also, I was spending money on things I didn’t know about.  For instance, I had a Weight Watchers membership.  Who knew?
  • Grace
    Pat told me that it will take about three months of doing this consistently before I’m not overspending every month.  In the interim, I’m remembering to have grace with myself.
  • I feel empowered!
    Maybe this reluctant budgeter is becoming a little less reluctant.

Because I love all my followers and because I hope this is helpful for you, I’ve created printables so you can have a beautiful budget notebook, too!

budget binder printables | www.accidentalokie.com

Below are PDFs so you can create your own budget binder.

binder cover
percentages
cover groceries | groceries sheet
cover clothes | clothes sheet
cover entertainment | entertainment sheet
cover play money  | play money sheet
 cover gifts | gifts sheet 

If you want to make your own modifications to the sheets, I used AlexandriaFLF Font throughout the budgeting sheets. It’s a free font you can download here.

Update: July 2013

Due to popular demand, I’ve released a series of completely customizable budget sheets! You can see them here:

Customizable Budget Binder | Accidental Okie

Dont’ miss Reluctant Budgeter Post 3: Weekly Meal Plan Organizer and Free Printables

The Uncomfortable Budgeter

the reluctant budgeter

Several weeks ago, I was the guest blogger at Lark and Bloom.  I wrote about my adventure into the world of budgeting and my journey of becoming a budgeter.  Well, a reluctant budgeter.

After a month of trial and error, I have some things to share in the coming days, but in case you missed it, here is the guest post, which served as an unofficial kickoff to the series.

Go to Lark and Bloom to read my original post, or check it out below.  Well, go to Lark and Bloom anyways.  You’ll find it to be one of the most genuine, kind and all-around interesting blogs written by an equally genuine, kind and gosh-darn interesting person, Elizabeth.

 * * * *

Everyone, meet Sarah Warren! I am beyond happy to share the first of several guest posts for An Uncomfortable January. Sarah has been a friend of mine since college. We were freshman who were equally obsessed with Jane Austen, fine china and bowls of pad thai.  She went on to get her masters in writing and now writes at The Accidental Okie.  This means that she sees the hundreds of grammatical mistakes I make on my blog & loves me anyway. Sarah also is the one who did the design for Lark & Bloom, for which I am eternally grateful. Give her a big Lark & Bloom welcome & join in her discomfort.

Sarah- The Accidental Okie and Uncomfortable Budgeter.

I’m on an uncomfortable journey: learning to budget.  Let’s not mince words.  I hate it.  I’m growing to embrace it, but I still mostly hate it.

A combination of being a stereotypical creative right brainer, not excelling at numbers, and hanging on to hefty emotional baggage led me to pass off budgeting responsibilities to my husband.

Last semester he started teaching a college class for extra income. That’s on top of being a high school science teacher.  He didn’t have time to do the budget anymore.  It was ignored for a few months and gross overspending ensued.  I needed to take something off his plate and we realized the person spending the money really should be the one setting the budget.  Since I do all our shopping, I was the natural, albeit reluctant, choice.

I’ve already had a few successes and failures, which I’ll be documenting on my blog over the coming months, but here is a preview of what I’m learning in this uncomfortable journey.

Tackle Demons

For several years of my childhood from middle school to the first year of high school, we were poor.  To this day, thrift stores and canned soup literally cause my heart to beat faster as I momentarily relive those meager days.

Most people walk into a thrift store and think about cool vintage finds.  I remember the year I had to buy my new school clothes at a thrift store and nothing fit my awkward mid-puberty body correctly.  I remember having to work three weeks of babysitting jobs after a friend stole my graphing calculator because she thought it would be funny.  I remember my friends asking why we always had the exact same groceries, and me never telling them that we stood in line for our box of groceries every week at the food bank.

For me, budgeting equaled counting pennies, which equaled feeling all those things again.

When I think about budgeting, I think about my parents arguing about money.  Any time my husband brought up the budget, I was sure he was mad at me.  Our monthly budgeting meetings consisted of him trying to talk and me defensively evading every question.  Not super productive.

The practical steps of setting up a budget are important, but for me identifying and dealing with my own junk and establishing new ways of thinking have been equally necessary.  In my soul searching, I realized I’ve been more secure overspending than budgeting because if I could overspend, it meant I wasn’t helpless like before.

Seek Wisdom

I’m not doing this alone.  Once a week I meet with a mentor at Barnes and Noble.  Pat and her husband’s life story revolves around coming out of major debt, and now they enjoy helping young couples avoid the traps they found themselves in.  We drink coffee, pore over my budget, look at spread sheets and share tips – well, she shares tips with me and I write them down.  Bottom line – if I was doing this alone, I probably already would have given up and gone back to my old ways.

It seems that no matter the uncomfortable journey you find yourself on, there is someone who has wisdom to share.

These days, I’m a reluctant budgeter.  Maybe someday I won’t be so reluctant.  It seems the only way to get from here to there is to continue on this uncomfortable journey.  I might even go shopping at a thrift store by the end of it all.

****

If you have any budgeting tips, I’m all ears!