how to use a budget spreadsheet

I have TWO budget spreadsheets for you, and both are easy to use. There’s the new one for 2021 with graphs, and there’s the original version which has been mentioned in a few recent books.

Regardless of which budget spreadsheet version you choose, I’ve kept things super simple by listing the biggest budgeting categories and showing you how it all adds up.

Budget Spreadsheet 2021

budget spreadsheet with graphs
Download: FREE Your Budget (2021 version)

Budget Spreadsheet (original version)

budget spreadsheet
Download: FREE Your Budget (original version)

Here’s what you can do:

  • Budget by month: List your monthly expenses, track your income, and see how it all adds up. List variable incomes.
  • Budget by year: Get an annual snapshot of your success. Yearly totals are listed below.
  • Budget for individuals: Perfect for singles and couples.
  • Household budget: Families can budget too. Tally spousal income.
  • Budget worksheet: If you’re not fond of spreadsheets, go ahead and print it out as a monthly budget worksheet. Stick in a binder.
  • Budget calculator: Use the budget spreadsheet as a calculator to show when you’re in the red. Scroll to the bottom and see if your Total Difference is positive (black) or negative (red).
  • Customize: Customize this Excel budget spreadsheet by adding your own categories.
  • Graph it: Build a graph to see your categories in color. Where do you overspend? What can be cut?

Step 1: Download!

Click to download your copy of the new Your Budget 2021 (with graphs) or get the first Your Budget (original). Or get both — I won’t tell.

Don’t fear Radical honesty — that’s the first step in getting your financial life in order. Acting on the desire to remove the blindfold, open your mind to the possibilities, and see your success through the messy and uncomfortable bits is what it takes. YES, you have what it takes.

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 APP 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.

The second step requires you to stick with it. To truly get a handle on your money you must know exactly where your money comes from and where your money goes. Feeling overwhelmed by seeing the numbers is normal. Experiencing stress from debt is normal. But getting past the feels and sticking through the discomfort can lead to greater money confidence, increased financial independence, and less struggle.

[Related: How To Set Financial Goals That Slay ]

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. Here are the columns to consider:

  • Income: Enter your monthly salary, bonuses, and investments to see your total income. Do you need to earn more? Include your partner’s income.
  • Home Expenses: Your housing costs, rent, mortgage, insurance, maintenance, and property taxes.
  • Transportation: Automobile costs, transit passes, fuel, maintenance, and bike parts.
  • Utilities: Cost of streaming services, internet bundles, phone plans, and music. Electricity and water bills too!
  • Medical: Not my favorite category, but we’ve all got something medical. Your prescriptions, dental bills, and health insurance.
  • Financial: Bank fees, interest payments, debt repayment, savings accounts.
  • Enjoyment: The fun stuff! Gifts, holiday expenses, pet costs, entertainment (yes booze), restaurants, hobbies.
  • Routine Expenses: Groceries, clothing, personal, makeup.
  • Family: Childcare expenses, allowances, activities, sports, books, toys, tuition, school supplies, field trip costs. Get kids involved — a financially savvy kid can grow into a financially wise adult.

Your third step is owning it. Wherever you spend, however much you owe — take your new-found radical honesty and categorize it. The Squawkfox Budget Template lists your income and categorizes your expenses under Home, Transportation, Utilities, Medical, Financial, Enjoyment, Routine Expenses, and Family. You will have to balance the money flowing into and outta these categories so there’s something to cover your needed expenses, something to save for the future, money to pay down debt, and cash to place in an emergency fund.

Step 4: Turn it around!

Turning it around is the fourth step. Facing the numbers and looking for ways to cut spending, increase income, or changing spending habits can be a messy uncomfortable process. So get messy. By facing the hard stuff and making changes you’ll turn your money around, rather than turning your back on your money. Now let’s do this because I know you can do it.

Step 5: Repeat, Revisit, Review!

The fifth step is to repeat, revisit, and review. Check in with your spending, earning, and debt repayment. Stay connected to your money. Daily, weekly, or monthly. Little reviews and updates can add up. Make it add up.

[Related: Getting out of debt with the Debt Reduction Spreadsheet]

Get the Series: How to Budget Your Money:

how to budget your money

  1. Your Net Worth
  2. Net Worth Spreadsheet
  3. Financial Goals Worksheets
  4. Needs and Wants List
  5. Budget Spreadsheet
  6. Free Budget Software
  7. Track Extra Income
  8. Gift Giving Worksheet
  9. Holiday Expense Tracking
  10. Windfall Planner
  11. Debt Reduction
  12. Student Budget
  13. Medical Expenses
  14. Emergency Fund

You can do it!
I believe in you.

Love love love,