After showing you how I budget a few weeks ago, I decided to make my customized budget available to all of my wonderful readers! You can download this free excel budget below, and read on to find out how the spreadsheet works.
Once you download it, navigate to the practice sheet and fill in your income information. You will see the percentage cells to the right update to reflect the percentage of your income that each income source represents.
The practice sheet has all of the “changeable” number cells that you can edit outlined in yellow. Those are the cells you can edit without messing up formulas. All of the other numerical cells are filled in by formulas and should not be edited. The category cells you can change to fit your own needs!
Step 1: setting your savings percentages
On the far left of the excel sheet is the “Anticipated” column. This is where you can visualize your spending and play with the percentages to see what a good spending goal is. The percentages are all calculated relative to your monthly income.
We can put in a 5% savings and see that 5% of our income is $210, so now we know how much to put away to meet our 5% goal.
Let’s say I want to save 15% of my income for retirement. I can easily go plug in a 15 in the percentages column of the retirement row, hit enter and see that 15% of my income is $630.
Easy! You can play around with these percentages to find numbers that match your goals and budget. As you change the percentages, you’ll notice that the amount in the green savings category updates to reflect the total dollars and percentage represented in your subcategories. Don’t worry about the remainder column – we’ll talk about that later.
Step 2: filling in your expenses
Expenses are a little different, and they really aren’t beset expressed as a percentage of your budget. In the Expenses section, the percentages are calculated for you based on numbers written in the dollar column. You can rename the sub-categories and categories to fit your own needs.
As you fill in some estimated spending amounts, the percentages on the right will update to reflect the percentage of your income that spending represents (note that the percentages round to the nearest whole percent).
If you find you need more or less categories, you can simply add and delete rows as needed. Note that the best place to add rows is in the middle of a grouping, because that will include that cell in the formula sums.
Once you add a cell, you can simply drag down the formula from the cells above so that everything matches up.
Step 3: putting it all together
Now that everything in your excel budget is filled out, you can see your total dollars and percentages for each category – expenses, savings, and income. Your income will always be 100% . Your goal should be to increase your savings percentages, and decrease your expenses percentages. Our family’s long-term goal is to save 50% of our income!
At the very top of your budget is the Remainder column.
This shows the amount of dollars and the percent of your income leftover after subtracting your expenses and savings from your income.
The sum of the remainder percentage, the savings percentage, and the expenses percentage should be 100. What if your remainder percentage is negative? This is when your spending has surpassed your income.
If this is happening, spending needs to go down or you may need to supplement your budget by pulling money out of savings (or, even better, finding a new income source!). Of course unexpected expenses happen, and that is why we have savings. However, you shouldn’t be living with a budget in the red for months at a time!
If this is all a little overwhelming, you can also find a download for a basic excel budget in my post here. That budget has all the basics to help you start tracking your expenses so you can minimize your spending and maximize saving and investing!