How to Create a Killer Personal Budget Spreadsheet
Nothing is more embarrassing than being told your card has been declined while in line. You ask them to swipe the card again … you get the same message. Your face flushes, you get flustered, you leave the store walking in the “walk of shame”.
You are frustrated … you are mad! Where did all of your money go?
At times, it is easy to overlook how much you are spending, especially if you use a credit or debit card for your purchases. To stay on top of your finances, you need to create a personal budget.
But, how do you make a killer personal budget?
Some people go to pencil/pen and paper while others use spreadsheets. We recommend spreadsheets as they make modifications super efficient. Today, we are going to go over three tips to make a killer personal budget spreadsheet.
Look at Other Budget Templates
First off, you need to look at other personal budget templates that have proven to work/help. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel when someone else has already spent time perfecting it. The same can be said of a personal budget spreadsheet.
Once you have looked through a few templates, you can either customize or build a personal budget spreadsheet that is designed for your unique situation.
Use a Spreadsheet Program
Next, this should be obvious, but you should use Google Sheets or Excel for your personal budget spreadsheet needs. These two programs are great for managing your data, making it easy to add new fields, remove fields, enter auto-calculating formulas, make changes to data on the fly, and more!
Using Google Sheets, you can access your data from any device at any time. This is great when you are out car shopping and want to know if your budget can support the new car payment. Instead of having “buyer’s remorse”, you can leave knowing that your budget is safe. With Excel, you’ll be limited to a desktop or laptop … making it a little more difficult to use when away from these devices.
Be Realistic With Your Numbers
And finally, be realistic with your numbers. All too often, we give ourselves too much income and not enough expenses. Doing this will skew the numbers and lead to an unbalanced budget; there is no reason to lie to yourself.
It's not a surprise that you have to pay more for heat during the winter months, or that your electric bill will go up when you run the air conditioner all summer. Your budget should cover every expense you know you will have, and you should work on building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses like your refrigerator going on the fritz or the deductible for an unforeseen trip to the emergency room.
If you are truly looking to create a killer personal budget spreadsheet, then you cannot try to make the numbers look better. Using these tips, you should be able to keep track of your finances, know how much you can truly afford, and avoid the embarrassment of being told your card has been declined.
While a lot of people (i.e. accountants) make a lot of money from people who struggle to manage their finances, you can do most of it on your own. Unless you run a business or have specialized investments, a good personal budget can keep you on the right path.