Budgeting and keeping track of your finances can seem impossible. Using Excel to create a budget worksheet will make budgeting easy!
No matter your financial situation, a budget worksheet will be useful to you. I am going to share with you how to make a budget and enlighten you on how easy it can be. Then, you will be convinced that it is a useful tool for you to possess.
Where is my money? I swear I left it here somewhere!
Making a budget can seem like a daunting task especially if, like me, you look at your paychecks and bills each month and wonder if it will even be possible to get through the month unscathed. At this time, it seems hard to even face what your potential budget might look like. You feel like the numbers will bury you in an unmanageable amount of stress or debt. Then, you think you might just wait until you have a little more stability before you face the truth. Well, stop! What if I told you making a budget will actually relieve the stress and is even more vital to those of us who are just faking it till we make it every month? I am going to share with you the help that was given to me when I made my first budget worksheet. It was fast, easy, and I already had access to all the tools I needed right in Microsoft. Whether you spend more than you make or make more than you need to spend, each month it is necessary to know where the money you make is going, where to direct the money you have left over, and prioritize your spending if you don’t quite make enough to pay your bills at the end of the month.
Making a budget using Excel.
I can’t take much credit for making my first budget. I did, however, use the resources I had available to me at the time. The main one being my financially responsible boyfriend. I knew he budgeted his income each month because I would hear about it every time I wanted to spend money, like go out for dinner or buy something new for the house. He would check his wallet for his daily allotment of spending money and sometimes break it to me that it just wasn’t in his budget. When ever I would complain about money, he would tell me I should budget. But, that just seemed like a good way to be told I couldn’t buy everything I wanted. When, in fact, it turned out to be a good tool to allow myself to buy the things I wanted using money that was actually available to spend.
So, one day, I was so stressed about paying my bills that I finally gave in. He told me for the last time “you should really make a budget”. He sat down with me and pulled up his budget, which was just an Excel document, dolled up a little by his computer savvy, but still a pretty simple budget worksheet. There were basically two categories: income and expenses. Both of which had three columns; listed sources of income or expenses under the designated category, projected earnings or cost, and actual earnings or costs.
In the first column, under income, he had me lay out all of my sources of income. Each paycheck, whether biweekly or monthly, and for each job, cashback on credit cards, you even need to include financial aid, or other allowances, each of them in their own row.
In the next column, “Projected Income”, I listed what I expected to make from each of these categories. Some of them may change each month and some of them will be consistent, depending on your financial situation. In the last column, “Actual Income”, you will enter what you received and when you received the earnings. You are already halfway finished!
Now go to the expense category. You fill in the expenses the same way you filled in the income: the projected cost of each item and the actual cost after receiving the bill. This category will most likely have many more fields to fill in. This is where you have to collect all your bills. Start with the big ones: car payment, mortgage or rent. Make a section for each. Then, move on to credit card bills, insurance, groceries, daily spending, gas, desired savings, gym membership, cable, phone bill, Netflix, everything! Fill in the cost of each of these fields. On Excel, each column can be automatically totaled. Once you have the totals, you can compare the two numbers and, assuming your income exceeds your expenses, you are doing great! All you need to do is distribute the money left to either savings, miscellaneous spending, start a retirement fund, or maybe a vacation fund. Any goal you want to work up to. See, now you can dream even bigger than you were before. You knew how much extra cash you had and you put it toward something important to you.
If your expenses came out to more than your income, you will have harder decisions to make, either what to cut out of your spending or how to generate more income. This was the boat I unfortunately boarded but with all the information in front of me, I had the tools I needed to see where I could improve my spending habits. Cut out what was frivolous, outside is basically the same as a gym anyway. Decide if I really couldn’t live off $15 a day instead of $30 and I had to put a zero in my savings box for a while. But, eventually, I was able to reach all of my goals. I picked up some more hours at work and I made my budget worksheet work with the money I had into the life I wanted.
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