This Budget Spreadsheet is part of a financial planning series called How to Make a Budget. To start this series from the beginning, read the introduction.
I’ve been thinking a lot about budget spreadsheets. I don’t stay awake at night dreaming of Excel cells and mathematical equations — because that’s weird — but back in my days of student debt I did lose sleep over accounting for my missing money. What a nightmare!
I turned things around when I started a simple budget to track my spending, income, and expenses. Knowing how much I earned and spent on a monthly and yearly basis helped me catch those needed Zzzzs and find my financial way. If you’re losing sleep over missing moolah or can’t account for your expenses, then getting on track with a budget may be the secret to a six-figure slumber. Ka-ching!
|How to Make a Budget:|
What is a budget? A budget is a financial plan for tracking the flow of money into and out of your life. A simple budget can expose where you’re leaking money (the outflows), plug those drips, and find ways to save more of the inflowing cash for the stuff that matters. A budget can also highlight the spending habits you’re not aware of and help you better plan for future spending. The hard part is getting started. After a bit of practice though budgeting becomes easy.
How to use the Budget Spreadsheet
The Budget Spreadsheet is pretty darn easy to use. I’ve kept things super simple by listing the biggest budgeting categories and showing you how it all adds up. Here’s what you can do:
- Budget by month: List your monthly expenses, track your income, tally your monthly averages, and see how it all adds up. Helpful for those with variable incomes too.
- Yearly budgeting: Get an annual snapshot of your success by entering all the monthly budget details. Yearly totals are listed below.
- Make a personal budget: Single and loving it? No worries. This budget spreadsheet works for individuals too.
- Household budget: Families can budget too. Just tally your spousal income and set your total household budget.
- Budget worksheet: If you’re not fond of spreadsheets, then go ahead and print it out as a monthly budget worksheet. Stick in a binder and keep track of your moolah by writing it all down.
- Budget calculator: Adding everything up can be a pain in the purse. Use the budget spreadsheet as a calculator to show you when you’re in the red. Just scroll to the bottom and see if your Total Difference is positive (black) or negative (red).
- Customize like crazy: Go ahead and customize this Excel budget spreadsheet by adding your own categories.
Download: Free Budget Spreadsheet
Step 1: Download!
Click to download your copy of the Budget Spreadsheet.
Step 2: Track your spending
Tracking every cent you earn and spend sounds like work, but it’s easy to do if you carry a notebook with you or save all your receipts. The idea is to track your cash, credit card, and debit card purchases to identify the costly culprits.
- Get a notebook. Place a small notebook and pen in your purse. OR carry an iPhone, iPad, or iWhatever with you.
- Write it down: Every time you spend money — write it down. Make a note of each and every purchase (grocery, coffee, shoes) and add the date. Ask for a receipt.
- Add it up: Tally your expenses during the month and add them to the Budget Spreadsheet under the right category. See where your money is really going. Results may shock you.
Step 3: Get budgeting!
Grab your receipts, sort your bills, and check your bank accounts. It’s time to fill in the blanks and account for your cash in the budget worksheet. Here are the columns to consider:
- Income: Enter your monthly salary, all bonuses, and investments to get a grip on your total income. Did you make enough? Do you need to earn more? Be sure to include your spouse’s income too.
- Home Expenses: Doesn’t matter if you rent or own. Enter your housing costs, insurance, maintenance, and property taxes.
- Transportation: Enter all your automobile costs, transit passes, fuel, and maintenance. If you’ve got a bike that needs a spare tire, enter it under Other.
- Utilities: There is no mystery in this category. Go through your bills and find the REAL costs to surfing the internet, watching TV, and chatting on the phone. Enter your electricity and water bills too!
- Medical: Not my favorite category, but we’ve all got something medical, right? Add up your prescriptions, dental bills, and health insurance.
- Financial: Tally all your financial bits and pieces, including: bank fees, interest payments, debt repayment, and various savings accounts.
- Enjoyment: Yay! Time for fun stuff! Keep track of all gifts, holiday expenses, pet costs, entertainment (don’t forget your liquor), restaurants, and hobbies.
- Routine Expenses: Groceries, clothing, and all anti-wrinkle creams need to be listed here. Yeah, wrinkles happen. Grumble.
- Family: Get the kids involved by showing them how the money is spent. List childcare expenses, allowances, activities, sports, books, toys, tuition, school supplies, and field trip costs. A financially savvy kid is likely to grow into a financially wise adult.
Phew! It seems like a lot, I know. But budgeting gets easier as time goes by. So get downloading, tracking, and take the time to see where your money goes each month. You may just find some lost loot.
Squawkback: Does minding a budget help you manage your money?
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