Creating a budget spreadsheet is easier than you may think. And best of all, you make the budget planner once and can use the template forever. Share the file with your friends or edit the spreadsheet in real time across all your devices. And, it’s free so we are basically saving money already.
You can create an easy budget planner spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Just create your income and expenses tables, and choose colors and fonts. Add drop-downs to make choosing different expense groups easier. Also, add some charts to see the breakdown of your expenses more easily. And you’re done!
If you don’t feel like reading the article, you can check out the Youtube video where I explain the budget template creation step by step:
How Do I Make My Own Budget Planner?
I personally like to use Google Sheets. It’s free, it’s easy and I can share it with all my family members. You could also use Excel or even track your budget in an app. Some people like to keep all of their expenses on paper or just take pictures of their receipts.
I love spreadsheets because I can create charts, filters and simply see how my income and expenses are changes from month to month.
How to Create a Budget Template on Google Sheets?
This time we will start from a brand new spreadsheet but you could always get a pre-made template and simply customize it to your needs. So yes, in that case, you won’t save a couple of dollars. But you will most definitely save yourself some time and headache.
1. Open Google Sheets, go to “File” > “New” > “Spreadsheet”
2. Create your income table
Select the colors for your main headers. I usually choose custom pastel tones because the more eye-pleasing my budget tracker is, the more I want to use it.
In this case, I wrote down my income, prediction, and actual finances. This way I can know better whether I reach my financial goals. But you can always keep it simple and just write down your income.
Also, if you get a fixed salary, you can skip this step altogether and focus on your expenses.
3. Create an expenses table
For my expenses table, I usually choose to add a dropdown menu so that I don’t need to type in each type of expense I have and I can choose it from a dropdown. This is especially handy on the phone.
So the first steps are to add text and I usually have three columns: Expenses, Prediction, and Actual. Again, feel free to customize it to your own personal needs.
To create a dropdown menu all you need to do is this:
Select a cell > Right click > Choose “Dropdown”
Once inside, just choose the colors and expense groups you want to add. I like to have different color codes for all of my expenses.
4. Let’s Make a Chart
I love charts. That’s probably the main reason why I like Google Sheets so much. It’s easier to notice patterns and see where my expenses are going.
How to create a chart in Google Sheets?
Hold an option/alt key and select your expenses and actual cells. In my case, you’ll notice darker blue color for the selected cells.
Then go to Insert > Chart
This will automatically create a chart for you. All that’s left then is to choose the type of chart, colors and other personal touches.
For this kind of chart I usually check the checkbox next to “Aggregate” because it lets me see the categories better.
In case you have a lot of different categories then you will not need it. But in my case I may go grocery shopping multiple times and I will just want to add them separately so that I know how many times I actually went grocery shopping that month.
Want to add more changes to the chart later on? No worries, just double click on the chart and make all the wanted changes. If you click on a specific part twice, you will be able to make changes to it.
Okay, we created the budget planner, now what?
There are different ways that people allocate their budget. For example, you could follow the 50/30/20 rule which is one of the most popular techniques.
For some people it’s enough to just see and track all of their expenses because they feel the guilt if they are overspending on stupid things. I will put myself in this category for sure. I most definitely spend less if I track my expenses because then it puts things into perspective.
It’s a lot harder to justify eating out all the time when that can eat 900 dollars out of my monthly budget.
What is the 50 30 20 rule?
The main idea of this rule is to divide your income into three main categories: needs, wants, and savings.
- 50% of your budget is for Needs: these are usually essential items such as rent, mortgage payments, utilities, food, insurance, transportation, and minimum debt payments.
- 30% for Wants: these are the non-essential expenses, for example, dining out, entertainment, hobbies, holidays, and shopping.
- 20% of your budget goes for Savings: for example, emergency funds, saving for retirement, investing, paying off debt faster, or achieving other long-term financial goals.
Now, this may not work for everyone. Some people prefer to save on other things but love going out to eat and when they count the difference between the groceries and the actual dining out costs, they see that if they choose more affordable restaurants, they can allow that.
But the main goal of a budget planner is to know what’s going on with your finances. It’s not always fun to see where you are spending your money. And it’s not always nice to know that maybe you’ll need to choose a different coffee shop than Starbucks.
However, only by knowing you can make better choices. For example, I normally make my coffee at home. BUT my coffee is amazing because I have a nice coffee machine.
I hope that this article inspires you to help yourself find a more enjoyable budgeting experience and create the life that you want. Because budgeting isn’t just about cutting costs wherever possible. It’s about spending your money on things that you actually want and care about.