“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
The first stage in getting on top of your finances is to see exactly where your money goes. You can’t do this accurately without a budget.
Yes, we can have a guess at how much we spend each week or month, but with a budget you can know exactly where you money goes.
Since using a budget I’ve found that I spend twice as much each week on food as I thought, and that this amount can fluctuate by as much as 70%!
My Own Budget Spreadsheet – keep it simple
There are many budget spreadsheets and calculators available online, but none of them seemed to quite meet my needs. I tried a few of them, but they all seemed too advanced and feature-filled.
So I made my own.
It took a little while to get used to keeping hold of my reciepts, but I’m now generally I’m now well into the habit of updating it every few days: I just keep hold of my reciepts and input the amounts spent into the appropriate cells.
Some costs or income are recurring, such as rent or salary, so we can easily fill those in in advance.
There are two sheets in this budget spreadsheet file.
The first sheet is for daily entry of income and outgoings. I keep hold of my reciepts and update as I go along.
Incoming money is listed as negative. This makes it simple to work out the balance for the month.
The daily entry sheet is visually separated into weeks, but I keep track of things on a monthly basis.
The second sheet sums all the contributions for each category for the month. This lets me see exactly how much I’m spending in each category, such as food, transport, or going to the pub.
Using this monthly data I can also do some basic checks of income vs outgoings and plot graphs of my expenditure.
The trick: Have Plenty of categories
The trick to really knowing where you money goes is to have the right number of categories or headings in your spreadsheet.
Just knowing that you spend some amount on rent and everything else on ‘other’ doesn’t really help you get a grip of your expenses.
I’ve already included some basic income and spending categories in this file, but you will probably find as you use it that these are not enough. If you need more you can just add rows as needed. Make sure to update the monthly
Download the Spreadsheet File
You can find the budget spreadsheet file here. Feel free to alter and share as you need.
Budgeting Spreadsheet by deparkes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.