Raise your hand if finances stress you the heck out?! *Stands on chair to raise her hand as high as possible*
A few weeks ago, I asked on instagram if anyone would be interested in having me share a budget template that I use to track how much I’ve spent each month and on what, and the response was overwhelming! So, I’m finally sharing and just in time for holiday spending!
Honestly, money stresses me out SO much. LIFE IS SO DANG EXPENSIVE AM I RIGHT?! But I find that when I actually sit down and look at where I’m spending my money, I have a better understanding and therefore game plan of where I can cut back, or where I have money to spare.
At the bottom of this post, you’ll find the link to the google sheet that you can make a copy of for personal use, but first I’m going to quickly walk you through how to you use it! Feel free to skip to the bottom if you already feel like a google sheets whiz!
Your Budget Template:
This is what your google sheets budget will look like. There will be two tabs — the budget tab and the transactions tab. Each month, you can change the headings to reflect the month you are budgeting for.
Your Budget Tab:
This is what your budget tab will look like. This is the tab that you will project what you will be spending, where you will see what you have ACTUALLY spent (more on this in a bit), and the difference between those two values.
Let’s go through some of the different cells and values you see in the budget.
- Project and Actual Income: These are both manual entries. Typically they stay the same, but of course if you have less traditional means of income, that may change more frequently. Just check your direct deposits to see how much you’ve actually brought in each month! *Note* I base my budgets off of what is actually deposited and available to me – NOT a salary. Then you would have to worry about entering taxes and such and ain’t nobody got time for that.
- Projected, Actual and Difference Balance cells: These are all formulas that will update based on what you enter in your budget sheet!
- Projected Cost columns: Each month, you will want to manually enter your projected expenses. Often times these will be the same for fixed expenses, but some areas of spending will change! Take time each month to reflect on the past month and adjust for the upcoming month if necessary.
- Actual Cost columns: This is probably the most important column to look at when tracking your spending. If you click the cells, you’ll see that these cells actually have formulas – these formulas will pull transactions or expenses you track in your transactions tab to the appropriate budget cell. MAGIC.
- Budget areas/headers: The budgets in pink and the titles going down the first column within each budget are TOTALLY up to you. These are what I use, but you can alter and change them to fit your needs and spending! If you do change them or add lines, just be aware that you will have to make some changes to both the budget page and the transactions page (more on this in a bit).
- Projected, Actual and Difference Total Cost cells: These are all formulas that will update based on what you enter in your budget sheet!
Your Transactions Tab:
This is what your transactions tab will look like. This is the tab that you will input transactions or expenses that have happened within that month. I list everything: rent, utilities, groceries, i.e. everything I have listed in the budget tab!
Typically, I’ll take some time on Sundays and just go through my spending from that previous week and enter it all in.
Now sure, there are apps that “track your budgets”, but the hard thing is when you go to a store like Target, and you buy groceries, beauty products and cleaning products, the apps will only attribute that total expense to what you have Target listed as. So if you have Target listed as a Grocery budget place, it will say you spent that entire total on groceries, which may not be accurate.
This is why manually tracking is helpful, especially when you are trying to stick to clear budgets. Keep your receipts, and go through them each week and track them manually!
When you enter an expense, you’ll enter the date, the venue (where you spent your dollars), the payment source (which credit card or debit card used or if it was cash), which budget it falls under (there is a drop down with all your budgets listed!), the cost, and any notes associated with the expense.
The magic part? Every expense listed here will AUTOMATICALLY be entered into the “Actual Cost” cell of the associated budget. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Adding/changing budgets and formulas:
- Adding budgets:
- If you want to add new budget areas, you can do that pretty easily! Insert a row where you want to add the budget, and format it as needed. Once it’s added, you’ll want to make sure the formula for the transactions tab is copied the the “Actual Cost” cell for your new budget. All you need to do is select a cell with the formula, hit copy, and paste it into the new budget “Actual Cost” cell. Easy! The formula will automatically adjust to be the correct version for the cell to which it is copied.
- For your reference, this is what the formula is:
- Once this step is complete, you’ll want to make sure that the transactions tab knows about the new budget. To do this, head to that tab and select the Column E drop down menu, and click “Data Validation” as pictured:
- In the Data Validation box, you can add your new budget name to the list, separating it by a comma. This is also where you should delete any budget titles that you removed from the budget tab or change any that you altered.
How to get your google sheets budget template:
When you click the link below, it will take you to a view only version of the template. Simply go to the File menu, select “Make a Copy”, and that copy will save an editable version to your google drive!
Each month, I just make a copy of the the previous month’s budget and adjust. I keep all of my monthly budgets in their own folders for future reference.
Fun tip: You can OF COURSE change the colors to suit your personal style, but ya know your girl was gonna go with pink 🙂
If you have ANY questions or need any help, please let me know! Also let me know if this was helpful and if there is similar content you’d love to see from me.
Happy Spending and Saving!