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A budget book helps you keep track of what you spend your money on. But don’t worry – you don’t have to be an accountant to keep your household budget under control and check easier your wins from

A budget book documents your income and expenses. Especially if you want to monitor and control your financial situation over a longer period of time, a budget book will help you:

You can directly read what your major cost blocks are in the month.

You can see whether your expenses are in line with what you want to spend your money on.


Such findings can also mean disappointment for you at first. But then it is even more important that you stick with it.

Over time, you will become better at handling money and can better control your spending.

Each month, you’ll see your progress in your budget book and be motivated to keep going.

With an overview of your monthly income and expenses, you can set a savings rate. You can set this aside each month and invest it, for example in an ETF savings plan.


It is important for a budget book that you note down all income and expenses. This also includes the little things you buy in passing, such as the pretzel from the bakery or the coffee-to-go. It takes a bit of discipline to collect all the receipts and really write everything down.

You can collect your receipts in a box first and then enter them into your budget book periodically. Depending on how many receipts you have, you can transfer the data weekly or monthly into your budget book. You can also use your bank statement, if you pay a lot by card, you will also have an overview of your transactions.

In the budget book you write down all your expenses.

Your income is:

  • Salary
  • child benefit
  • other social benefits
  • interest on capital, which is really at your disposal
  • other income

Special payments such as vacation pay are simply entered in the month in which you receive them.

Your expenses include everything you spend money on:

  • Rent with all additional costs or credit
  • Costs for energy and water
  • Insurances
  • Savings amounts
  • Monthly tickets or gas bills for the car
  • Groceries
  • Drugstore items and cosmetics
  • Clothing
  • Hobbies, sports club and leisure activities
  • education or studies
  • other expenses like vacations

To have a better overview of your expenses, you can group them into categories. You can use the categories mentioned above or others that fit better to your expenses.


The scheme of the budget book is always the same, no matter if you create it on the computer or analog in a notebook.

Tip: With a digital document in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere and it can’t get lost.

1) Each month you record your expenses and income with the respective date in a table.

  1. The date is written in the margin.
  2. In the first column on the left you enter your income, usually you only have to enter these payments at the beginning of the month.
  3. The second column you reserve for the sum of your expenses.
  4. In the following columns you enter your categories for the expenses.
  5. At the bottom of the page, you add up each column and enter the total expenses in the second column. Each column of the categories is thus a partial sum of your expenses.
  6. Under the total row you calculate the difference between the income and the expenses. This is the amount you have saved in the month.

If the difference slips into the minus, you have spent more than your income in the month. This can happen with larger expenses, for example, a vacation or a repair. As long as you had more left over in other months, this is no reason to worry. You can quickly find the “culprit” by looking at the totals per category.

2) At the end of the year, you add up all the months and get the amount you saved during the year.

Budgets make it easier to reach your financial goals.

After you know where the money is going, you can budget your spending. If you see from the budget book that you spend (too) much on one category very often, consider whether the amount of this monthly expenditure is what you want. If you find that you spend a lot on cosmetics or clothing, for example, and therefore can’t afford that long-awaited vacation, control your spending by setting a fixed budget for these expenses.

A budget is a monthly upper limit for your expenses. If you stay within the limits of your budget, you will also have the amount left at the end of the month. This allows you to better manage your spending according to your priorities and achieve long-term savings goals.

The longer you work with the budget book, the easier it should be for you to shop according to plan and to resist impulse purchases.

Budget limits support you especially with expenditures that you want to control. These are expenses that you can influence directly in the month – the variable expenses:

By eating seasonal fruits and vegetables or a minimalist lifestyle, you can save money and protect the environment.

Other costs that stay the same, such as rent, insurance and energy costs, can only be changed in the long term:

You should check your insurance policies every few years to see if there are newer and better offers, or if you can cancel duplicate insurance policies.

You can reduce your utility costs by being careful with the electricity you use for your electrical appliances and heating.

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