Use a Spreadsheet to Keep a Monthly Budget

by Tom Harrison in office productivity

A budget is essential for personal financial success. Before you can invest, you need a clear picture of where your money’s coming from and where it needs to go. With a spreadsheet you can be confident that all your monthly totals are correct and up-to-date.

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Click here to download a sample budget spreadsheet for Microsoft Excel.

Income & Expense Columns

Our budget has three sets of columns that list income and expenses: Income, Fixed Expenses and Variable Expenses.

  • Income: This column lists each different source of monthly income that you have.
  • Fixed Expenses: Fixed expenses typically do not change from month to month. This column will hold the amounts that you devote to things like rent, insurance and loan payments.
  • Variable Expenses: Variable expenses are bills that may fluctuate slightly each month. This column contains estimates of ballpark amounts that you devote to certain bills each month. Fixed expenses are things like food and entertainment. You shouldn’t kill yourself updating this column each month – just fill in a good average amount for each expense and be done with it.

Totals

We have a final set of columns to list all of our budget’s totals. First, get together sums of all the previous columns:

  • Income: A sum of all entries in your list of income.
  • Fixed Exp.: A sum of how much your fixed expenses amount to.
  • Variable Exp.: A sum of how much your variable expenses amount to.

Next and last, you’ll want to get a total sum of all your monthly expenses and use that to figure out how much of your net is available after all your bills are taken care of.

  • Total Expenses: A sum of the two total expense columns mentioned previously: fixed expenses + variable expenses.
  • Disposable Income: The amount of money left over after all of your bills are taken care of: Total Income – Total Expenses.

And that’s it. Keeping a monthly budget with a spreadsheet is dead simple. The key to the whole procedure is to use formulas to calculate all of your totals so that each total is automatically updated when you add new income and/or expenses to your budget.

Sources

  • Unknown Author. “Monthly Budget Spreadsheet Template”. Source unknown.
    The spreadsheet linked in this article is a modified version of an excel file that was downloaded from the web some time ago, whose source could not be found as of this writing.

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