The Debits & Credits of Bullet Journals

Bullet Journals

Bullet JournalsFor some, budgeting is an exciting journey, exploring where one’s money goes each month. Others, well… let’s just say they’d prefer cleaning their bathroom over creating a budget and reviewing it each month. A bullet journal may be the way to turn those debits and credits into a healthy and helpful game. Let’s take a look at what they are, what they do, and the different types available.

What Is It?

In essence, a bullet journal is a simplified way to organize things. You can organize everything from to-do lists, a diary, inspirational quotes, or a budget. In our ever-technologically connected world, a bullet journal is an appealing way to get back to basics by actually writing things down. Yes, with paper and pencil!

A Productivity Tool

Sketchnote-Bullet-JournalWhile some of us love to use virtual tools like EverNote, Google docs, or an online journaling site, others prefer using an old-school journal. Yup, that’s what a bullet journal really is. Imagine a notebook where you collect your to-dos, brainstorm a multi-part project, or doodle an idea. Business gurus like David Allen, Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar have written about the importance of writing down goals and ideas to make them tangible. Here’s why bullet journals work:

  • Ideas are elusive. If you don’t write them down, they can be lost forever.
  • Clarity & focus. By listing what you want/need to do, you’re able to organize your mind and schedule to complete the most important and pressing items.
  • Reduce stress. Studies show that much of our everyday stress is related to small things that occupy our minds. Pick up milk. Mail that birthday card. Jotting those items down calms our mind.

Bullet Journals for Budgets

Use Your Mind Quote by David AllenMy job as a daily money manager is to help my clients organize their finances in a way that supports their goals. Bullet journals for budgeting come in all sorts of designs and formats. Apartment Therapy highlights 11 tracking journals that will inspire even the most budget-phobic person. And, here’s an added bonus: the simplified format is ideal for teaching children about money, how they can save their birthday money and allowance for a specific goal (like a new bike or video game), and track how they spend it.

Here’s a bit of advice when looking for the right bullet journal to tackle your finances:

  • Feel like your spending is out of control? Then choose a format that where you write down where your money is going. Look at the type of transactions from previous months so you stay honest with budget-zapping expenses like eating out.
  • Have multiple accounts for different purposes? Many of my clients have separate checking accounts for household purchases, personal debit cards, and those designated just for business-related expenses. Choose a design — or make one — that really fits how you really live your life.
  • Too much structure makes you crazy? No problem. Your bullet journal is a personal tool. Consider adding color (like creating a saving chart where you color each time you make a deposit). Or, leave blank space to draw or make to-do lists.

Do you use a bullet journal? What’s your favorite feature?


Photo credit: Distelfliege, Sacha Chua

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