Content of the material
How to Make a Budget in Excel Using Premade Templates
Let’s face it: The COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a financial nightmare for many of us. With many people losing jobs and others taking a big hit to their monthly income, creating a solid budget has never been more important.
Using technology can be a huge help. These days, there are dozens of budgeting apps and software programs on the market. However, finding a program that fits your unique needs can be challenging.
Enter Excel. The Microsoft program has long been an excellent way to create a budget spreadsheet. Best of all, if you’re already a Microsoft customer, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started.
The easiest and fastest way to build an Excel budget is by using the library of premade budget templates included in Excel. If you aren’t sure where to begin, I strongly suggest starting with one of the software’s budget templates to get a feel for what you might want to include in your own budget.
When you open up the program, simply go to File>New, then search for the term “budget.” Several Excel budget templates will pop up, such as a family budget, personal expense calculator, vacation budget, and more.
For example, if I went with the family budget spreadsheet, I would get a premade spreadsheet with a Cash Flow chart on the first tab. You can change your family name and budget title in this tab, but don’t mess with anything that has a formula. If you click on the “7,200,” you will see “=Income[[#Totals],[Projected]]” pop up next to the fx input box. Play with the formulas and you will mess with the automatic calculations that make Excel such a breeze to use.
Instead, you will find places to input your data on the other two tabs – Monthly Income and Monthly Expense. These numbers automatically feed information to the Cash Flow tab to keep track of how much you are earning and spending.
Customizing a Premade Template
If you’d like to add to the existing template, simply select where you want to add a box and right click. Scroll down to “Insert” and choose to add either “Table Columns to the Left” or “Table Rows Above.” This should automatically sync the new information with the existing tabs. If it doesn’t, select the small down arrow next to the “Projected” column, and you will be able to include your new column to the calculations.
You can also delete sections you don’t need. For example, if you don’t need the loans row in your Monthly Expenses tab, simply right click the tab, select “Delete” and “Table Rows.”
It’s really as simple as that!
Grab a FREE Budget Template – Need a spreadsheet budgeting template but don’t want to do it yourself? Save time and effort by grabbing our free budget spreadsheet! Get yours here.
What If You Don’t Have Excel?
If you love the idea of using a budget spreadsheet but your computer doesn’t come with Excel, don’t worry. Google offers a free version spreadsheet program called Sheets. The two programs look and work similarly. Plus, Google Sheets works (almost) seamlessly with Excel, meaning you can easily import an Excel budget template you created into Sheets.
About Brian M. Reiser
Brian M. Reiser has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management with a concentration in finance from the School of Management at Binghamton University.
He also holds a B.A. in philosophy from Columbia University and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of South Florida.
His primary interests at Investment U include personal finance, debt, tech stocks and more.
Getting Started With a Personal Budget Template in Excel
Now that you’ve made a list of your goals and started tracking your expenses, you can begin creating your actual budget using a personal budget template.
Begin by downloading the personal budget template, and inputting your income, savings goals, and expense amounts for the first month. This template is made up of two sheets, one for your budget breakdown and the second is your dashboard.
Within the first sheet, you will find three sections, including income, savings and expenses. The categories of the income section are:
- Interest Income
The next section is where you will input your savings goals. These goals may include both your short-term and long-term savings goals that you listed earlier. This section includes the following categories, but can be changed to fit your goals:
- Emergency Fund
- Transfer to Savings
- Retirement (401K, IRA)
The last section of the personal budget sheet is for expenses. This section has various primary categories, with multiple sub-categories associated. The primary expense categories include:
- Daily Living
Once you have input the individual amounts for each of the income, savings, and expense categories, you will see that the total for each month is calculated at the bottom of each column. Additionally, totals are calculated at the end of each row, representing your year-to-date total for each budget item, category and section.
On the second sheet you will find your budget dashboards. Dashboards are helpful to provide a quick visual into the summary and health of your budget, and will automatically update as you make changes to your personal budget sheet. The dashboard sheet included in this personal budget template has the following four distributions:
- Potential to Save Summary This summary calculates your potential savings, on a monthly basis, after you have met your current savings goals for the expenses incurred. The potential to save amount is calculated by subtracting the Total Savings and Total Expense amounts from Total Income.
- Income to Expenses Chart The bar chart provides a quick look at the difference between your total income and expenses on a monthly basis, which is helpful to provide a high-level view of the health of your budget.
- Income-Expense-Savings Pie This pie chart is helpful to determine the breakdown of your budget, providing a visual of what proportion of your budget goes to income, savings, and expenses.
Aggregate Template Sites:And if you STILL can’t find anything good…or you’re just addicted:
- Google Docs: Handful of Budget Templates
- Microsoft Online: Top 25 rated templates! (excel – out of 100+)
Business Budget Management Template Set
Help your departmental teams track monthly actuals against budget goals so finance can tightly manage corporate financial performance and ensure business stays on track.
Track monthly actuals against budget goals
Receive automated budget and spend approval requests
See a real-time overview of your financial health in a dashboard
The Pros of PearBudget
First and foremost, the PearBudget spreadsheet is free. That's a huge benefit to anyone, but especially to those who are struggling to stick to a budget. If you're falling behind on bills or just need to improve your financial health, this free tool will come in handy.
Since it's a standalone .xls file, PearBudget's spreadsheet is versatile. It'll work with most spreadsheet software, and with either Mac or Windows. It's also fairly easy to set up. Most users have their budgets figured out within 20 minutes or so (though it does require weekly data entry).
Despite being free and simple to use, PearBudget offers an extremely detailed look at your expenses. The analysis tab automatically pulls from past months to give you a clear sense of your spending goals, and how you performed. You can really dive into the minutia of your spending habits and create plans based on the data.
- Your budgets will most likely turn out to be a little bit inaccurate, as there is almost always an expense that you’ll forget about or have to add in later.
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