A 33-year-old who paid off $30,000 of debt is sharing 3 worksheets to help anyone be better with money — for free

Cait FlandersCait Flanders.
  • “The Year Of Less” author and podcaster Cait Flanders has made her popular ‘mindful budget’ templates and downloadable for free on her website.
  • Flanders advocates for spending less and spending more consciously, a practice which helped her save up an emergency fund and pay off $US30,000 worth of debt.
  • She made the worksheets available so anyone could access them to “take control (or at least take stock) of [their] finances right now in this time of uncertainty,” she wrote on her blog.
  • Read more personal finance coverage »

Spending less was a game-changer for Cait Flanders, who wrote her book “The Year of Less” about living with less consumerism and fewer things. In the process, the 33-year-old Canadian author and podcaster has changed her financial habits and life. Now, she’s sharing the worksheets that helped her do it for free.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, especially around money,” said Flanders in an email to Business Insider. “I made the templates in 2015, so never had this situation in mind. But I know that tracking your spending is one of the first steps to empowering yourself and feeling like you have some control of your money.”

She continued: “I created these templates after tracking my own spending and writing monthly budgets on paper for years.” With them, she paid off $US30,000 of debt, built a $US10,000 emergency fund, and saved for retirement, she wrote in the instructions for the worksheets.

Her worksheets, which are part of her “Mindful Budgeting” planner, are meant to not just track spending, but also prompt reflection. “The templates also have reflection questions you can ask yourself monthly and quarterly, and I’ve never seen an app do that,” she told Business Insider.

Along with reflection, the three worksheets in the downloadable print templates track expenses and income on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis, to help keep track of long-term goal process and accomplishments. “These templates are what I used on a weekly basis to reach all my financial goals,” Flanders wrote in the instructions.

Flanders adds that the templates, and her reflections on them, helped her limit her expenses. “Once I knew I had to write it down, I noticed the number of transactions I performed each month went down, and I began to realise how little I needed to get by and be happy,” she wrote.

She paid off her debt in 2013, but is still a rigorous budgeter. “At the end of each month, I compare how much I budgeted for to how much I actually spent, see where I went over or under, and adjust my budget accordingly for the next month,” she wrote in the instructions.

With all the economic uncertainty in the markets today, Flanders wanted them to be available to anyone. “If the templates can help a few people do that right now, I’ll be glad I still had them,” she told Business Insider. Flanders has made the printable worksheets available free on her blog, and recommends printing them for the easiest use. Her Mindful Budgeting Planner – a printed and bound version of these worksheets along with more budgeting resources – is now available at cost for $US17 on her website.

Download the mindful budget worksheets for free »

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.