How to Use the Super Basic Budget

by Janet Dagostino, Savvy Spreadsheets


Read below for step by step instructions on how to use the Super Basic Budget. The Super Basic Budget is a straightforward 12-month budget, that lets you track your spending for up to 20 categories. If you want to budget by categories with subcategories, check out the Super Deluxe Budget.

Setting up your Budget
Logging your Expenses
Analyzing your Monthly Spending
Checking the Annual Summary
Frequently Asked Questions

Setting up your Budget

Start with the Setup tab.

It takes five steps to set up the Super Basic Budget.

Step 1: Enable your macros. For details on how to do this, check out this FAQ.

Step 2: Enter the month and year of when you want to start budgeting. The template will track your spending for a 12-month period starting with this month. There are dropdown menus for the month and year. When you put your cursor on the cell, a small arrow box should pop up next to it. Click on this arrow box, and a dropdown menu will appear.

Step 3: Enter your monthly net income (your take-home pay after taxes).

If you earn a regular paycheck, click the orange Income Calculator button to help you determine your monthly net income. Enter your paycheck amount in the form that pops up. Then choose your paycheck frequency. The Monthly Net Income result is the amount you will enter.

Note: If you earn irregular income, check out the Super Deluxe Budget.

Step 4: Enter up to 20 expense categories and the amounts you want to budget each month. Use the PLUS and MINUS SIGNS to add or remove category spaces. Use the UP and DOWN ARROWS to move categories.

Note: If you need subcategories, check out the Super Deluxe Budget.

Step 5: Click the “Set Budget” button next to the title.

After your budget is set, you should see blue navigation buttons at the top of the sheet.

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Logging your Expenses

Click the blue “Expenses” button to go to the Expenses tab.

On a regular basis, log your spending on the Expenses table.

Type over the example with the date, description, and amount of your first expense.

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.

Enter your next expense right below the first one. Continue to add expenses as they occur, one right below the other. Click on the PLUS SIGN to add additional rows as necessary. Click on the MINUS SIGN to delete a row if you need to.

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Analyzing your Monthly Spending

Click the “Month Detail” button to go to the Month Detail tab.

After logging your expenses, check this tab to see how you did for the month.

First select the month you want to view, by clicking on a grey button towards the top of the screen. You can also view the Year-to-Date by clicking “YTD,” or the Total for the year by clicking “Total.”

The top section is a summary of your savings and spending for the month.

The bottom section is a breakdown of your spending by category.

On the right-hand side, you will see two pie charts.

Budget Spending Pie Chart: The first pie chart represents your budget spending by category.

Actual Spending Pie Chart: The second pie chart represents your actual spending by category.

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Checking the Annual Summary

Go the Annual Summary tab by clicking on the “Annual Summary” button.

Check this tab for a month-by-month view of your savings and spending.

The top two sections summarize your savings and spending by month. All the way to the far right, you can see your Total, YTD, and Averages.

The bottom section shows you your spending vs budget by category. If you are consistently over or under spending in a particular category, you may want to adjust your budget.

That’s it! Just keep logging your expenses, check your Month Detail and Annual Summary tabs, and watch your savings grow

Have an unanswered question? Feel free to post it in the comments below!

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