How I Track My Budget Using a Spreadsheet
For years, I’ve made mental notes to sit down and set up something to track and hopefully trim down my spending. Even more importantly, I’ve needed to just set up a budget and stick to it.
Yesterday, I ran across an article over at Cents to Share explaining how you can set up a budget in Excel (or any other spreadsheet application). I’m a Mac user, and although Microsoft Excel is available for Mac, I prefer Numbers, part of Apple’s iWork suite.
To follow along with the article, you’ll need a basic understanding of spreadsheets, cells, and how to reference cells in formulas. Just understanding the concept is fine – the article explains the formulas in great detail, although the formulas themselves are not complex in the least. That said, I’d like to stress again that although the article is written about and references Excel, the formulas will be identical in any spreadsheet application I’m aware of – it only uses simple =SUM(CELL:CELL) formulas.
I ran across the article, and it looked like a simple task. The hardest part was categorizing everything I have expenses for – the rest was simply following the instructions and logic of how the spreadsheet was structured. Once you have that, it’s a breeze.
I encourage everyone to go take a look at the article. I plan for this to be a simple, but effective financial tool for my wife and me to use to better manage our finances. I even added a chart to give me a picture of how our income looks, compared to our accounts and expenses.
When you’re finished, you’ll have a result that looks something like the following (taken from the linked article – the numbers are not real..oh, and click for full size):