Today I want to put you on notice: you have zero excuse not to do a budget. I’ve given you the basics, along with instructions on how to do a budget that works, and now I’m giving you a template that does most of the math for you. I shared a similar version of this Excel budgeting template on my wife’s website and it got rave reviews. I’ve made a few tweaks and I hope this resource will become your go-to whenever you’re ready to simplify your budgeting process.
If you’ve read my book or attended any of my workshops, you know I generally teach folks to do a budget using a calendar. It is very visual and very effective. But it also can be slower than other methods. However, I believe the visual impact a calendar provides is needed as you are getting started. Eventually, once you’ve gotten the hang of making your budget work, I expect you’ll graduate to a simpler form of budgeting (if you want) by categorizing your expenses and being able to flow them without the strict regimen of a calendar. If you’re going to use the Excel template I’m providing today, you should know that’s the approach it takes.
If you’re not into doing budgeting electronically and prefer pencil and paper, there is no shame or harm in that. Stop reading now and just use paper – it will be easier if that’s your preference. For those who love Excel and have it installed on your computer (or are willing to download Open Office or use Google docs, a couple of good (and free) alternatives), this resource is for you.
How to Use
- Download the Excel Budget Template.
- Read the instructions on the INSTRUCTIONS tab!
- Realize this is a template. This isn’t supposed to fit your exact scenario, but instead to give you an idea of how it can work.
- Note there are tabs along the bottom of the spreadsheet: one for each month, one for instructions and one for categories. Fill out the CATEGORIES tab according to the INSTRUCTIONS. Most importantly, only enter data in cells colored with a green background!!!
- Next, go to the tab for the month you’re ready to budget. Remember, spend the money on paper (or in Excel) before you get it in hand. In other words, if you’re reading this in September, you should be working on the OCT tab. Plan ahead! The data you entered from the CATEGORIES tab will be auto-populated into your month’s tab. In the month’s tab, enter any extra income you plan on for that specific month that you hadn’t entered on the Categories tab, then enter the amounts of your various expenses. If you have other one-off expenses for the month, put those in the green cells provided for that purpose along with their amounts. Voila!
When it is all said and done, you should have a 0.00 in the lower right of that month’s tab (highlighted in orange) and your budget is complete. Between savings and expenses, you “spent” every dollar of your income. That’s how a correct budget works.
If something goes wrong with your budget during the month, you can easily come back here and make adjustments. Your goal is to always end up with a 0.00 in the lower right while covering all your expenses with the income you’ve got to work with.
Well, that’s about it. For those of you who like Excel, I suspect you’ll love this form. For those of you who hate Excel, you will probably hate me now too. Oh well. That being said, I’m sure you’ll have some questions. That’s what the comments are all about. Will this make your budgeting easier?
If you missed the link above, click here to download my free Excel Budget Template.
If you’re still stuck, feel free to contact me about coaching.