How to Use the Easy Budget Spreadsheet
by Janet Dagostino, Savvy Spreadsheets
So you’ve followed my tutorial on making an easy budget spreadsheet. Fantastic! Now you just need to understand what you’ve just made . For some of you, especially if you’ve used the Super Starter Budget before, this template will be very intuitive and you might not need these instructions at all. For others, here are some very specific guidelines on how to use the budget spreadsheet correctly.
Start with the Setup sheet.
Change the title of your budget if necessary.
Under BUDGET TIME FRAME, enter the month and year of your budget. You can use and reuse this template over and over again for any month. If you want to keep a history of your budgets and actual spending, simply save copies of the spreadsheet for any past months.
Enter your monthly net income. Remember, this is your take-home pay after taxes, for the month.
Enter up to 10 expense categories that you’d like to track. Good examples are HOME, BILLS, FOOD, CLOTHING, TRANSPORTATION, etc. Next to each category, enter your budget (the amount that you’d like to spend) for the month.
You’re done with the Setup sheet!
Log your expenses on the Expenses sheet.
Enter the date, description, and amount of your first spending transactions on the first data row (row 5).
There is a dropdown menu for the category. When you click on the category cell, a small arrow box should pop up next to it. Click on this arrow box, and a dropdown menu will appear. Select the category from the dropdown menu.
Continue to add your expenses as they occur, one right below the other. The table will “grow” automatically as you add data. If the table is not growing, place your cursor on the last category of the table (the bottom right-hand corner) and click the “Tab” button.
This tab is a summary report for you. You don’t need to do anything with it, it will automatically update for you. Check the Month Detail tab whenever you add expenses to see how you’re tracking compared to budget.
You will see how much you’ve saved so far, and the difference between your budget and actual spending.
You will also see a breakdown of your spending by category.
That’s it! Just update the Setup and Expenses, and take a look at the Month Detail to see how you did. To use the template for future months, be sure to use a clean template or clear out the previous month’s data from the Expenses table.