TomorrowMakers

The popular practice of keeping a bullet journal can make a world of difference to your finances.

How can a bullet journal get your life and finances on track

The age-old practice of keeping a diary got a new-age twist with the ‘BuJo’. Short-form for bullet journal; BuJo has begun to pop up everywhere - from Instagram posts to office meetings. In these digital times, smart devices are replacing many of our traditional habits. However, bullet journals are giving a quirky touch to the charm of keeping a diary. Maintaining a bullet journal is a practice where discipline meets creativity. 

What adds to creativity is the fact that a bullet journal is not something you can buy in a printed format. Very often, it is just a journal or notebook with blank pages, or with dot grids. The origin of the bullet journal is credited to Ryder Carroll, who promoted the use of different styles and creative approaches to note down one’s thoughts, goals, and to-do activities.

Related: Have a busy life? Here's how to make time for your finances

How a bullet journal helps

As Carroll suggests, you should be clear about your expectations from a bullet journal. It helps to have a goal in sight. A bullet journal can be used to manage your professional as well as personal life. It is noteworthy that bullet journals are all about bringing innovation and creativity into play while sorting out your daily activities. It acts as a clean slate on which you can outline your plans while adding a meditative effect to the process. You can manage your daily life just as easily with a bullet journal as you can achieve your financial goals.

Bringing your life and finances on track with BuJo

You can undertake both planning and monitoring of your activities and personal finance through a bullet journal. A monthly planning page will define a broad outline for financial planning. In this monthly log, you can note down the income that you expect during the month, categorised under various income sources. This could contain everything from salary, freelance gigs, interest from investments, share dividends, etc. Once you have the expected income, you can take a look at your monthly expenses.

While noting down all your monthly expenses, you can maintain a serial order starting with the expenses that are due first. Rent, utility and telephone bills, subscriptions, and household expenses are some typical monthly outgoings that you must include. The accounting mantra of conservatism is useful here. Do not overestimate your income; be prepared for unexpected expenses or losses in your financial plans. A sudden car breakdown can increase your expenses by a few thousand rupees. Recording all your expenses also prepares you to keep an emergency fund ready whenever needed.

Related: Tired of manually tracking your money? These apps can help

Daily monitoring of finances

Once you have your monthly financial planner laid out in front of you, it is easier to track your daily expenses and measure the progress made against the plan. Your journal can capture a lot of information on a daily basis. It can follow a simple template with the date, name of expense, the amount spent, mode of payment, etc. You can highlight unavoidable expenses and mark the ones you didn’t really need to spend on. A snack every evening before leaving office, only to struggle to finish your dinner an hour later, can be considered an avoidable expense. Noting down these things makes them tangible, as you can see your daily expenses in black and white. 

Related: A millennial woman's guide to saving big on monthly bills

Getting started with a bullet journal

Now that you have a broad idea of what is involved, you would naturally be raring to go with your bullet journal. Here are a few things that can help you keep it result-oriented:

  • It is often said that low goals can lead to sub-par results. However, excelling in keeping a bullet journal can be a gradual process. Try to keep your targets realistic in the beginning. It’s much more than bookkeeping; there’s an emotional quotient involved. Psychologically, capturing easy targets can be a good start, and it can cement a more durable practice of journal-keeping.
  • No practice can be good unless you apply it zealously and regularly. A bullet journal has to be a daily habit. Only consistency can make it a part of your daily life. Regular users vouch that once you follow it through, the results are certain. 
  • Following a system is important to keep the process engaging and consistent. While including your daily, weekly, and monthly goals in your bullet journal, you can devise your own unique notation style and employ colour codes. 
  • Use your bullet journal to block time for tasks that seem to be forever postponed. If you are losing money every year renewing a credit card that you never use, schedule a time to make a deactivation call. If you are monitoring your non-essential expenses, highlight the regular auto-debits towards subscriptions and evaluate their importance. 
  • The typical financial aim for all of us should be to reduce debts and increase savings. A bullet journal can be a natural motivator in this regard. A chart of liabilities with a reducing graph can automatically encourage you by showing you the progress you have made. Similarly, an increase in your savings after identifying and eliminating unnecessary expenses is just the inspiration you need to get your finances on track.

With a bullet journal, you get a fun and unique way of managing your daily life and finances. This is a step up from the tedious task of number-crunching through your daily log. Bullet journals ensure that not only the result but the process too puts a smile on your face. Look at these 5 Ways to make saving money fun

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