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How Do I Make a Personal Budget Spreadsheet?

A broad array of budgeting software packages, spreadsheets, and other personal finance tools are available for free online.
Budgeting spreadsheets can help organize information more efficiently to help highlight trends in income, spending, etc.
Article Details
  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: M. Scarbrough
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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You can make a personal budget spreadsheet by using the spreadsheet software that came with your personal computer or by purchasing an office software package and using the software included with that. Before you can make a personal budget spreadsheet, you will need to determine both your monthly income and your monthly expenses. Some people do this by recording every purchase they make for a month, including any debt payments or bills. Others collect every receipt and divide them into categories, then tally the amounts at the end of the month.

Open the software program. You may be able to find a template for a personal budget spreadsheet online or you can make your own. Prepare one spreadsheet for each month. If you are making your own personal budget spreadsheet, prepare one column for your income for the month. At the top of the column, type "Income." Enter =SUM(A2:A15) in the 16th row, where "A" is the column's letter and "2" and "15" are the row numbers. As you enter your paychecks into the income column, they will automatically be added in the =SUM row.

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Create categories for expenses on your personal budget spreadsheet. Common categories include housing costs, utilities, car payments and other transportation, groceries and personal items. Examine your receipts to see what you commonly spend money on and base the categories on that. Determine the amount for each category based on your recorded expenses. Ideally, your expenses will total less than your net income. If they do not, you will have to figure out ways to cut back on certain categories.

Give each expense category its own column. Type the name of the category in the top row of the column and the target amount several rows down the column. In the row above the target, type =SUM(B2:B20), substituting B with the column's actual letter and the numbers with the actual row numbers. Next, in the row below the target expense, type =SUM(B21:B22), where row 21 is the row with the totaled expenses for that category and row 22 is the target amount. The sum will help you see at a glance how much you have left in each category or if you have gone over in any one category.

If you would like, you can also program your personal budget spreadsheet so that it totals all your expenses for the month as well as your targeted expenses and then compares them to your income. In a column to the right of the other columns, in the same row as the expense tallies, type =SUM(B21:Z21), where "B" and "Z" are the first and last expense columns and "21" is the tallied row. Then in the row with the target expense amounts, type =SUM(B22:Z22), which will total all the targeted expenses. Type =SUM(B23:Z23) in the row just below to figure out the difference between your actual and targeted expenses.

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Discuss this Article

ysmina
Post 3

@burcinc-- If you don't have an idea for an expense at all, then of course, you have to do some calculation. Do you use online banking? The easiest way to calculate expenses is to look at your bank account summary or the transactions on your online banking account.

Just add up the payments for each expense. For example, add up payments made at all grocery stores and restaurants for one month. You could calculate for two or more months and take an average for a more accurate calculation. Then use this on the spreadsheet like the article described.

burcinc
Post 2

@ysmina-- But how do you decide how much to allocate? I mean, I don't even know how much I spend on groceries and eating out per month right now.

ysmina
Post 1

I use a personal budget spreadsheet but I don't keep a record of all my purchases or add up receipts. I basically allocate a certain amount for an expense, like groceries, and make sure I don't go over that amount. This is a very good way to keep a check on what is spent.

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