The online calendar has done wonders for productivity. But believe it or not, calendar apps can help you do much more than merely manage your time. Here is how to use an online Calendar for budgeting.
One creative use for your online calendar? Budgeting. Taking care of your finances is just as important as making the most of your time. The top calendar apps can be used to plan spending, schedule savings and investments, and more.
Get Creative With Your Calendar
An online calendar is exactly what you’d expect: your old-fashioned, 365-day scheduling tool adapted to a digital platform. Its digital nature allows for many more features than your average calendar.
Consider how those can be used for budgeting. You can schedule your spending, just as you would a meeting with a friend or client. If you forget to move money into savings periodically, a calendar event is a great reminder.
For business and for personal budgeting, there are all sorts of creative ways to use your online calendar. Here’s where to start:
Track Your Bills
These days, you probably make most of your recurring payments online. While this is convenient, it also makes things like utilities and credit card bills easy to forget about.
Late payments can badly hurt your credit score, affecting your ability to take out loans in the future. This could hinder you from getting a new car, upgrading your home, or going back to school.
Although some institutions let you set up an autopay feature, many do not. Regardless, it’s your responsibility to stay on top of them.
Online calendars let you set reminders to pay those pesky bills efficiently. This way, your phone will notify you the day it’s due. If your bill is due on the same day each month, you can set a repeating reminder. Stick the URL of the payment portal right in the invite so all you need to do is click and pay.
Schedule Your Savings
Saving money is important. It’s what allows you to retire, take calculated risks like starting a business, or keep buying groceries if a financial emergency strikes.
Without a regular reminder to save, it can be easy to forget your nest egg. By the time you’ve balanced your checkbook, the thought has disappeared. Months pass without so much as a dime being stored away, which can quickly come back to bite you.
At whatever frequency you desire, use a calendar app to notify you when it’s time to put some money into your savings. Take a “good, better, best” approach: Calculate 5%, 10%, and 20% of your monthly income.
When you see the notification, you’ll automatically see your targets. That can motivate you to save more, or at least spend less of your next paycheck.
Make Space for Non-Essentials
What’s life without a little fun? Your online calendar can help you get a “goldilocks” amount of fun: enough to keep you happy and motivated, but not so much that you blow all your money at once.
Start by thinking through the key experiences you want to have. Maybe it’s a vacation to Tahiti, or perhaps you want to hike the Appalachian Trail. Planning out your events can help you accomplish them without breaking the bank.
Put the event itself on your calendar, of course, but also add milestones. A good way to do this is to attach them to your existing savings reminders. Maybe 5% of your paycheck goes to your emergency fund, while 2% goes to your experience fund.
What if you struggle with impulse spending? A good tactic is to schedule days on your calendar when you can afford to loosen your wallet a little. Maybe you let yourself splurge at the start of each month, for example, right after you’ve been paid and work tends to be hectic.
Plan Periodic Reviews
Budgeting time and budgeting money are similar in a lot of ways. One is that both require regular review to make sure your habits still align with your goals.
Many business owners and CEOs sit down with their financial planner once a quarter for this very reason. They recognize that conditions change, and so should their budget.
The same principle applies to your personal finances. Scheduling a time to sit down with your significant other to review your accounts is a smart idea. Do it at least once a quarter, if not once a month. Ask whether what you’re spending is sustainable and whether your savings are appropriate for your goals.
Calendar apps are so much more versatile than paper ones. Think of them not just as a way to organize not just your time, but your entire life. Your finances deserve to be scheduled, updated, and collaborated around just like your other priorities. Get creative, and you’ll have more money — and time — for the things you really care about.