As promised from my previous post, I’ve crafted a Sample Budgeting Spreadsheet; one that we strictly adhere to each month (I’ve deleted our own numbers and notes, and have added in some random amounts. Even though I am open and comfortable talking about finances, I apparently draw the line somewhere).
For your use or reference, I’ve included the link to the Budgeting Spreadsheet, with the option to download. Once downloaded, you should be able to edit and add your own numbers to the spreadsheet.
This plan has worked really well for us. We’ve been using it for six years or so and are happy with the outcome. That said, money is individual. What works for one person or family may not work well for another. Don’t get discouraged. Continue to augment the plan until you find something that works well for you. Then, stick with it.
Filling in the spreadsheet:
Whenever we purchase an item, whether it be a cup of coffee or a pair of shoes, we keep the receipt and log the total amount paid on our spreadsheet (we round up to make our calculations a bit easier). Once the receipts have been logged, we dispose of them. We log other items, too, like the total amount in our savings, as well as the remaining balance owed on our student loans. These numbers get updated at the end of each month to more accurately reflect what we have, in savings and in debt. Items that are consistent or fixed, like our home mortgage, internet and phone bill, and student loan payments are all added in without a receipt. I do this at the beginning of each month so we don’t accidentally spend more than what we really have.
We like to categorize our spending. Our categories were determined based on where we put most of our money. Additional expenses or items purchased less frequently are lumped together under Miscellaneous. Any item that falls under Miscellaneous is accompanied by a Description. This allows us to know exactly what was purchased and for how much. Categories are personal. Feel free to re-categorize as you need. The purpose of this spreadsheet is to be a helpful tool. If it’s not easy, continue to adjust until it becomes habitual, maybe even fun.
We’ve set spending limits on each category and are deliberate about adhering to our allotted amounts. For every entry we make, the total (at the bottom of the spreadsheet) updates accordingly. Then, the sum of each category total is displayed at the bottom, right-hand corner of the spreadsheet, under Total Expenses. We frequently compare this total to our Total Budget (top, right-hand corner of the spreadsheet). If we are under our Total Budget, YAY! If not, we carry the amount we are over to the following month’s budget to account for our overspending. Simple as that.
Again, there are several great budgeting tools out there. I am certainly no expert, I am just fascinated by this stuff.