Budgeting can be hard, but sometimes the hardest part is
just starting to keep track of your spending. It can be quite daunting to
actually sit down and put together a (gulp!) spreadsheet to keep track of all
your expenses. That’s why we did it for you!
Here are some of the features of this spreadsheet:
- Progress bars to keep on top of your savings goals
- Charts to help visualize how you’re spending your money
- Reminders when you’re going over budget
- Fully customizable categories
Allow me to walk you through it!
The First Page
One of the biggest reasons to make a budget is to make sure you’re saving enough. But saving isn’t just for retirement! Money’s for spending – what’s the point of making money if you can’t spend it on other things as well?
Once you’ve built your emergency fund – which you absolutely should have – you should work towards saving for other things. That could be a down payment or a new car fund, or it could be savings for a vacation or a cool new gadget.
When you first open the spreadsheet, you’ll be greeted with this page.
First you should rename the categories and enter your savings goals.
Your emergency fund should be between 3 and 6 months’ worth of expenses (I personally recommend 5). If you don’t already know what your total monthly expenditure is, take a look at the bottom of that same page:
You can rename any of these categories to anything you want. If you change it here, it will update the entire spreadsheet.
Once you fill in all the numbers, you’ll be shown your total monthly spending. That way, you can figure out how much you should have in your emergency fund.
Don’t worry too much about the costs in the “Irregular Monthly Expenses.” This isn’t a restrictive budget – instead of setting aside a set amount of money per month you can’t go over, you count up your spending and try to keep it under a threshold. If you don’t know what you’re already spending per month in these categories, leave it blank and start tracking. You’ll soon have a good understanding of how much you’re spending.
Entering your data
When you start keeping track of your spending, either keep your receipts or take a look at your credit card or bank statements. Then, go to the appropriate month’s page on the bottom.
Once you’re there, you’ll see that month’s sheet. Your regular monthly expenses will have already been filled, but your irregular ones won’t have been.
On the right side is where you’ll enter your spending data, like this:
The sheet will automatically sum up all your spending and show you the totals.
You’ll even see the chart that breaks down your spending change as you input more data.
Savings Progress Bars
When you save money for a specific purpose, you should add it to the categories on the far right of the month’s spreadsheet.
As you save money, the “Savings Goals” page will be automatically updated.
When you meet your savings goal, the progress bar will fill up and you’ll get a little congratulatory message!
Keep on Budget
If you entered target values for your irregular monthly spending, you’ll be notified if you go over for that month.
This is useful for making small tweaks to your budget for next month.
That’s all you need to know to use this spreadsheet to its fullest. Happy saving!