Managing your personal finances might not be the most exciting part of your life but it is a very important part. So there is no reason to dread the process because you are unorganized or because you don’t know the proper way to begin to set up a system to track your expenses.
It doesn’t have to be difficult and in fact, it can be easy and enjoyable once you learn how to make a budget spreadsheet and how it can facilitate your financial success.
Why Create a Budget Spreadsheet
Having a budget is important no matter how much money you have. No one wants to waste money so it’s important to have a way to track where you are spending money, why you are spending it and how much you are saving. If you have rather basic personal finance situation, you might think that just looking at your banking website to view your account is all that you need to track your spending.
But being financially responsible is about more than just looking at payments after they are made. Having a true budget means having projections for where your money will be going and then tracking it throughout the process of being earned, being spent and also going into savings. Having a spreadsheet will allow you to project, track and balance all aspects of your financial situation.
The Benefit of a Single Document
Having all of your finances in one location on a single spreadsheet allows you to get an overall look at your bills, your savings and your total debt to income ratio. It also allows you to look at specific aspects of your budget such as the money you are spending on housing or entertainment. It can be very helpful to be able to see the charts and graphs that are included in many applications to see a representation of where your money is going.
Spending 900 dollars a month on entertainment doesn’t sound like a lot but when you see that it represents more than you spend on transportation or maybe even your rent, then you start to see it as one of your larger expenditures. This information and type of presentation can be very helpful when you feel that it is time to reevaluate your budget to find a way to cover an unexpected expense or to plan for an upcoming large expense.
What to Look For In Personal Finance Spreadsheets
Before you select a personal finance spreadsheet, you should explore your options and make the selection based on your personal needs. Not everyone will love the same spreadsheet or even need all of the feature of a given spreadsheet. Making a list of your income sources, bills and savings plans is a good starting point to make sure that all of your information will work into the sheet that you select.
You will also want to be sure that the sheet is easily understandable to you and that you can navigate through the sheet easily. If the sheet is difficult for you to use or understand, then you will be less likely to use it and it won’t really benefit you in your long term financial planning. Also, make sure that the information is presented in a format that you like and understand.
Some people prefer bar graphs while others are more comfortable with pie charts, neither one is right or wrong, it is simply a matter of picking what you like the best. Finally, you will want to be certain that the entire spreadsheet is free. Some versions will be advertised as free but it is really only a free demo and then the actual working spreadsheet is sold for a fee.
Some of Your Best Choices
Now that you know what you are looking for and why a financial spreadsheet is valuable, it’s time to check out some of your options. Family Budget Planner from Vertex42 is a single sheet template that operates in Excel. It offers a wide range of categories and makes it very easy to track all of your spending in great detail.
The easy to read graph will chart your savings, spending and earnings all in one location to have a fast resource to check your finances. Personal Monthly Budget from My Money Shrugged is geared more toward projecting your monthly income and balancing that with your monthly bills. It provides a single page for each month but also lets you compare expenses from month to month.
Personal Budget Template from MyMoneyBlog has a prebuilt sheet for each month and also lets you compare different categories throughout the year. This spreadsheet focuses on highlighting your projected expenses in each category in comparison to what you actually are spending on the category. Family Budget Planner from Spreadsheet123 is very family friendly as the name implies. It offers many categories that apply to family expenses and title loans with no inspection. This spreadsheet offers many different visual illustrations of your finances such as charts and graphs.
There are a few other options available to meet the special needs of different groups such as students. You Need A Budget is a spreadsheet that is not free unless you are a student but it offers great tutorials to help students learn to be financially responsible and to track their finances even when it might seem like there is no need to.
GLBL Budget Spreadsheet is unique in that it is designed to track spending by pay period rather than by month. This can be a great tool and very helpful if you have an unusual pay cycle and monthly budgeting doesn’t work well for you. Another custom budget spreadsheet is designed to assist you when wedding planning is a factor in your future financial plans.
Wedding Budget Template helps you plan for the expected and unexpected expenses for your upcoming wedding, similar when needing a title loan with no job, so that you can account for them in your monthly budget. Learning how to make a budget spreadsheet is an important factor in your financial success. Finding the right tools to make budgeting easy for you to understand and easy to navigate is crucial. Invest a little time in your research and you will be rewarded with great financial planning that will result in financial security for the rest of your life.