Building Your Monthly Budget Report
In this blog we look in to simple ways you can keep a better track of your monthly budget allowing you to control your finances more easily.
Our day to day expenditure, in comings and outgoings can be tricky to keep track of, even for some of the most financially stable of us. It’s also easy to slip into spending habits that don’t always benefit your cash flow situation as well.
With this in mind, we’re going to embark on a two part plan on getting your budgeting sorted out, or at least help you build a spreadsheet which you can fill in at the end of the month and start the process yourself.
Once you begin collecting data there’s also a few things you can do with it using maths to work out what to do in the future… read on to find out.
Why It’s Important to Budget
Budgeting is the practice of allocating money over a set period for certain things and trying not to spend it all if you can help it. Ideally using this spreadsheet you’ll be able to look at how much you spend on something like food over a few months and be able to allocate funds for the coming months based on your figures.
It’s also useful in keeping track of the money you have available to save out of your paycheck and put that in the same place as your expenses. Additionally, money you allocate in cash that you don’t spend can be used over the next month, helping you build your savings.
Building and Using a Spreadsheet
When you build your spreadsheet it’s important to be as specific with your individual spends as you possibly can. Everything should be accounted for if you want your budget to be accurate. Things like travel expenses, dining out, drinks, food – it should all be included.
Make sure you put a row for all your bills, travel expenses, even include an extra space for things you haven’t taken account of. Remember you can come back and edit this later, but if you do it might not mean your sheet stays similar to previous entries that you have on file.
Here’s One We Made Earlier
As you can see, we’ve built an example sheet which goes into the level of detail every budget sheet should. Although the figures are imaginary, we’ve used easy spreadsheet equations to calculate percentage of total income used. The equation is the cell containing the individual expense divided by the total income displayed at the top.
By filling this sheet in every month, you gain a valuable record of your finances which you can refer back to at a later date. The best way to fill it in is to open your online bank statement, get out the calculator app, and work out how much you spent with each transaction.
Your sheet doesn’t always have to be as complicated as this sheet – for example, you may want to lump in ‘toiletries’ with your regular food or grocery shop in order to make things simpler. But there are a lot of ways your budget sheet can look.
In our next article we’re going to look at how multiple budget sheets can be used to make graphs or charts as well as strategies for saving money you can come up with by looking at your backlog of sheets.