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How Do I Keep a Monthly Expenses Spreadsheet?

Spreadsheets can be used to track, categorize, and monitor budgets.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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To keep a monthly expenses spreadsheet, most people find it easiest to use a computer spreadsheet program, because it makes it simpler to make quick changes and update the spreadsheet as needed. Of course, it is also possible to use paper spreadsheets to track monthly expenses. You may choose to set up a template for monthly expenses; you can create the template yourself, or find one online for free. Then, it will be necessary to determine what you want to include on your monthly expenses spreadsheet.

Some people use a monthly expenses spreadsheet as a type of general budget guide for expenditures. They will determine the approximate amount of money they expect to spend in certain categories each month; for example, rent or mortgage payments, car payments, savings, miscellaneous expenses such as going out to eat or purchasing new clothes, or medical expenses, just to name a few. Then, they will attempt to stick to the allotted amount of money in each category, but may not keep detailed records of the amount actually spent. For people who are already fairly well versed in managing money, this type of monthly expenses spreadsheet can be very effective, and can help keep expenses within budgeted amounts.

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For people who are having trouble managing money, however, a more complex monthly expenses spreadsheet might be necessary. The spreadsheet template might be set up similarly to the first example, with a number of different categories and projected expenses for each, as compared to monthly income. However, instead of just trying to stick to these categories, it may be helpful to write down every expense each month to see where the money is going. This will present a clear picture of how money is being spent, and can make it clear where you need to make changes in order to stick to your monthly budget.

You may even choose to create two monthly expenses spreadsheets; one to track your budget categories, and one in which you'll track the actual purchases you make. This is why some people find it helpful to find free templates online, because they make it easier to organize and update expenses. Some people will update their spreadsheets daily, while others will save receipts to the end of the week and then update it; it is best to find the method that works most easily for you, so you will stick with it. You will then be able to go back through the spreadsheets, and see how your expenses have changed over time.

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