Whether you’re graduating from high school or from college, it can be daunting to figure out your finances. It’s important to start off on the right foot managing your finances. These free printables, the Best Budget Worksheet for graduates and more, will give you the structure you need to plan for and manage your budget and finances when you’re on your own.
It can be a shock to realize how much things cost and how little income you have when you first go out on your own. With some preparation and planning, you can navigate your way through your finances and be in control of your budget rather than the other way around.
We started teaching our children about saving money and budgeting at a very young age with allowances to teach financial responsibility. As they matured, we transitioned them to a comprehensive allowance and budgeting for teens. I feel confident that my children know how to save money and budget, but it’s one thing to budget for clothing and fun activities and entirely another to budget for grownup life.
Why it’s important to budget (and how this best budget worksheet for graduates can help):
- So you can anticipate reoccurring expenses.
- So you can plan for unexpected expenses and emergencies.
- So you don’t have to pay late fees or finance charges.
- So you can save for short-term goals.
- So you can save for longer-term goals
- So you can save for your retirement.
- So you don’t have to worry (as much).
- So you’re in charge of your money, not the other way around.
Best Budget Worksheet for Graduates
Categories for Expenses
- Expenses if you own a vehicle
- Expenses if you ride public transportation
- Medical – Many graduates are surprised at how expensive medical and dental care is.
- Premiums for medical insurance
- Premiums for dental insurance
- Budget for copays and deductibles
- Budget for prescription copays
- Budget for over-the-counter medications that you use
- Utilities – Many graduates have never thought about how many different utilities there are. Depending on your housing and your region you may have to pay these:
- Gas, Oil or Propane
- Water and Sewer
- Internet – This comes as a surprise for many graduates because internet has always been available at home, at school and almost everywhere they go.
- Phone – If you choose to have a landline.
- Emergency Fund
- Short-term Savings Goals
- A trip
- A new couch
- Long-term Savings Goals
- Down-payment on a house
- Start your own business
- Student Loans
- Credit Cards
- Food & Supplies
- Cleaning Supplies
- Paper Products
- Personal Care Products
- Eating Out
- Laundry and Dry Cleaning
- Personal Care
- Gym Fees
- Cell Phone
- Travel – Depending on your budget and your situation, this may fall under Personal Expenses or Short-Term Savings
- Gifts – Many graduates are surprised when this expense comes up and haven’t budgeted for the expense.
- Mother’s Day, Father’s Day
Each month deduct your total expenses from your total income and find your remaining income. If this is a negative number, you need to readjust your expenses or increase your income with a second job. Your remaining income should go to:
- Pay off debt early
- Put into retirement
- Put into savings
With some work each month for the first 6 or so months, you should be able to establish a budget that works for you. It’s important to recognize that it does take work. No balanced budget happens by magic. But if you print out your own copy of this best budget worksheet for graduates and work at it diligently, you will be able to take control of your finances and even save money each month.
But wait! That’s not all you have to plan for when you’re graduating and going out on your own.
You also need to be aware of and plan for expenses involved in setting up your own adult life.
- Rental properties usually want the first and last months’ rent up front.
- Rental properties require a Security Deposit at the same time as the first and last months’ rent.
- Many utilities also require deposits.
- If you’re planning on purchasing a car, you will need to plan for monthly car loan payments.
- There are expenses associated with setting up a new home
- You may need curtains to provide privacy.
- You’ll need to stock up on cleaning equipment and supplies.
- Broom, mop, bucket, dust cloths, etc.
- Multi-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, dish soap, etc.
- You’ll need to stock up on basic pantry and refrigerated items.
- Flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, spices, oil, etc.
- Butter, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing, etc.
- You’ll need basic furniture
- And so much more
- You’ll need bedding and linens.
- You’ll need kitchen equipment.
- Pots, pans, baking sheets, etc.
- Dishes, cups, silverware, etc.
- Mixing spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc.
When you start thinking about how many things you need to set up your own home (and I haven’t even talked about the nice-to-have items, like a TV!), it makes sense to inventory what you already have and what you need. Once you know what you need, you can let family and friends know. They may want to gift you with some of the items on your list. They can also help you be on the lookout for sales or good deals on those items.
Setting out on your own is such an exciting time. If you plan ahead, then it doesn’t have to be a scary time. Use this free printable best budget worksheet plus bonus worksheets for graduates to take charge of your fiances and your future.
More #adulting Free Printable Resources:
- January To Do List
- February To Do List
- March To Do List
- April To Do List
- May To Do List
- June To Do List
- July To Do List
- August To Do List
- September To Do List
- Daily To Do List Printable for Sticky Notes
- Personal Emergency Contact List
- Going on a Trip House Preparation Checklist
- Free Christmas Planner Printables
- House Cleaning Checklist
- Rental Move Out Checklist for Cleaning
- Setting Up Your New Kitchen Checklist
- Setting Up a New Space Checklist