Financial PlanningPersonal Finance

How to Make a Personal Budget Spreadsheet

It’s not as daunting as it seems!

A lot of us plan to start budgeting properly – but not so many of us actually do it, and fewer still find a strategy that actually sticks.

Putting together a simple spreadsheet can be a helpful way of keeping track of expenses, income, savings, and any other important parts of your financial situation.

And, once it has been set up it isn’t difficult to keep things updated; the difficult part, then, is setting something up in the first place! Here is an easy step by step guide for making a personal budget spreadsheet on excel.

Step 1 – The basic structure

The basic structure of your budget spreadsheet will be divided into columns representing individual months, and rows representing income and expenditure.

In the first column, add a title for every income and expenditure type that you’ll be tracking:

Step 2 – Adding in ‘autosum’ totals

Excel can do the maths for you, as long as you add automatic calculations into specific cells. If you want your ‘income’ and ‘expenses’ rows to give the total figure for that category, you’ll need to use the ‘autosum’ function.

Click on the cell that should give the total for a specific month (in our example, January’s income total would go in cell B3). Then, hit the ‘autosum’ button, and simply click and drag over the cells that will be included in the total.

So, for the example above, the January income total would incorporate cells B4, B5, B6 and B7. Repeat this for each month, for both income and expenses.

Step 3 – Calculating the difference

Your spreadsheet also needs to be able to calculate the difference between income and outgoings – letting you know whether you’ll be in the black or in the red each month… and by how much.

Add another row in the leftmost column, representing your final balance. For each month, add a sum which subtracts the total expenses from the total income.

This is done by selecting the balance cell for a particular month, hitting the autosum button, clicking on the income total for the month in question, typing a minus sign and then clicking on the corresponding expenses cell.

Press enter to confirm the calculation, and then repeat for each month.

Step 4 – Keep those figures up to date

Once your spreadsheet is complete, you simply need to keep the figures up to date. You can also play around with the formatting, keeping these fundamental elements in place, but adding additional sections – for instance, you might want to separate expenses into essentials and non-essentials, or start tracking savings for specific goals.

However you choose to use it, this simple spreadsheet can make managing your money less convoluted, and help you to get on top of your financial situation.

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