Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Simple Way I Track My Budget

Budgeting is something that has always fascinated me.  I love seeing where I can cut costs and how to make my savings grow.  I also love reading about how others budget and seeing if I can incorporate any of those ideas myself.  I've blogged about budgeting a few times in the past - making it a goal to improve on what I already do and pinning specific ideas.  While I haven't changed things up too much from when I first started keeping track of my budget, improvements have been made, which I really like.  I do recognize that how I do things may not work well for you, just the same as how you do things may not work for me, but since it is a topic I am interested in, I thought I would share!


To start off with, I came up with my budget.  I wrote down my income, fixed expenditures (including savings), and then various other things I spend money on like clothes and entertainment.  Once I had those categories all broken out, I created an excel worksheet to track my actual spending, as pictured below.  I put all the categories across the top, with the days of the month on the lefthand side.  Each category is totaled at the bottom, then totaled across to show if I am under/over spending for the month.  I create a tab for each month and throughout the month, I will fill it out with my actual spending.  I keep all my receipts and go through them, adding to the spreadsheet, as well as compare to my bank statements.  This allows me to track my spending in one central place.


I used to only do that, but it wasn't giving me what exactly I wanted, which was a quick look compared to my budget for every month in the same tab.  I decided to create one and thus, the tab below was formed.  I have my budget on the left, then for each month, I pull in what I actually spent from the corresponding month tab (shown above) and compare expected vs. actual.  For the variance, I also use conditional formatting and set it up so that if I spent less than budgeted, it pops up as green, or vice versa if I spent more than budgeted, the variance will be red.  This let's me see which places I may be under / over spending, and adjust my budget as appropriate.


I think the reason I choose to use excel for budget tracking is because of my background in finance.  I have used it for work for so long, it's just something that I am comfortable with and am able to control and customize the tabs to my specifications.

That's what works for me - if you have any great tips or tricks, please share!

Linking up with Annie.
      

8 comments:

  1. This is great! Dustin does something similar and he's obsessed with it. Y'all would get along perfectly haha!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  2. I am the worst at budgeting, patrick on the other hand has everything in a spreadsheet and can tell me what I spent on gas last month. I should take these tips you shared and put them to use for me hah

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  3. I still need to get so much better about budgeting! I try and just fail every month. I love the idea of using excel, I'm going to really put an effort it and use some of your tips!

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  4. We've had a pretty casual budget for a long time and by nature we are very frugal people so I always figured it's been fine. But lately I've been wanting to see exactly what we are spending and where, and where we can cut down, so I created a spreadsheet this weekend. It's not as fancy as yours though, I may need to borrow your idea! I was an English major so Excel is hard for me!! :)

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  5. Oh budgeting, such a beast. I hate it, but i need it.

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  6. Looks like a great budget spreadsheet and super useful. Have you heard of mint.com? It's free. =)

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  7. Girl, this is SO perfect. It makes my Type A heart skip a beat. I used to have a similar Excel spreadsheet when I was single. Once B and I got married he took over all of the finances because surprisingly enough he's even more organized than I am when it comes to that kind of stuff. He created an Access database that contains every single bill we pay and how much we have in our 401Ks and IRAs and all that. It's so nice to have in case we ever need to look back on it and it also ensures that we never forget to pay a bill. This is really great, Emily!

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  8. Oh man, I hate the word budgeting but it is definitely worth putting the time in. My husband works in finance and we started with Dave Ramsey a couple years ago when we bought our first house. There may have been some tears involved but it helped us pay off my student loans and both of our cars. He's super OCD about the budget and would absolutely love seeing this spreadsheet. I have a love-hate relationship with it. If I had my way, we'd be over every month in food and entertainment!

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