In this series, like to talk about and recommend the best budget spreadsheet for use this coming year! If you’re ready to truly take control of your finances this coming year, you need to utilize a household budget spreadsheet to do this. This super-small document is going to seriously rock your budget! It’s a one page sheet of word processing goodness that can keep track of all of your spending for any month. Here’s how it’s done.
First, you have to open a brand new document in your word processor, like Microsoft Word. You can also use other word processors like Macbook OS X. Once you’ve opened up your word processor, you’re ready to make your first set of budget sheets. These are all budget sheets – individual, monthly budgets for every household member.
The next step is to download one of those free excel systems that comes with your word processing program. I prefer Microsoft Excel, simply because there are so many functions available within Excel. This means that you can customize spreadsheets like never before. One of my favorite functions is the ability to create subplots and insert photos within the budget spreadsheets.
Next, it’s time to choose a budget spreadsheet app. There are tons of different apps out there, but two of the most popular are Numbers and Sheets. By now, you should know exactly what type of budget you want. If you want a more visual appeal, then you might want to go with a spreadsheet app like Numbers. If you want something that’s more intuitive, like a spreadsheet that automatically updates every day or week, then I would suggest using a spreadsheet app that uses the Numbers template engine.
There are also spreadsheets for just about everything else. For example, think about how much you spend on food every month. Then how many days per week do you eat out. Once you plug those numbers into a template, you have an instant budget for what your family eats out on a weekly basis. It’s easy to see how your expenses could skyrocket if you eat out every day!
Now that you have your budget, it’s time to set your financial goals. In addition to being able to see where your money is going every month, you should also have a sense of what your fixed costs are. These are the expenses that you won’t see in your monthly budget. Things like insurance premiums, cell phone payments, utilities, and even rent are fixed costs that are in the budget each month. Setting a monetary goal for fixed costs helps keep your finances on track.
Once you know your fixed expenses and your budgeted income, it’s time to set some goals for your spending habits. The best budget spreadsheet will let you compare your current spending habits with your goals. If you have too many bills or are wasting money on unneeded purchases, change those now. Or if you need to increase your emergency fund, list out how much you want to increase your emergency fund and how much money you currently have.
As you can see, budgeting your finances is easier than you think. With a spreadsheet, all your financial responsibilities are laid out before you. You can easily see where your money is going and where you need to tighten your belt. Once you have your budget spreadsheet, be sure to always have enough money in the account to cover all of your expenses. This is the only way to effectively manage your finances.
The most important thing to remember when budgeting your personal finances is that there are no magic rules. No matter how many budgeting tools you have at your disposal, you are ultimately responsible for all of your spending and saving decisions. The best budget tool is simply a good one. Choose a spreadsheet that is easy to use and that allows you to keep track of your expenses. Don’t rely on the budgeting software for your work at home job likely uses. The chances are that it’s too complicated and it doesn’t allow you to customize the way you want your expenses to look.
Look for budgeting templates that focus on your own lifestyle and your spending patterns. Some focus on monthly expenses, while others focus on yearly expenses. There are also budgeting templates designed specifically for students, seniors, couples and families. If you need additional help, there are even ones available for men and women who want to manage their finances better. Regardless of who you are, there’s a template that is just right for you.
If you are interested in learning more about the best budgeting spreadsheet for you, I highly recommend checking out the Prohibited Spending App. It is an iPhone and iPad app that will allow you to manage your own personal finances so that you can set and forget your spending habits. Check out my blog for more information about the app and other budgeting tips.