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7 Steps to Creating a Monthly Budget Spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel

Presented By: EJ Cooksey | Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | , , , | Comments

Microsoft Office Excel 2007Image via WikipediaWant to create a monthly personal budget but don’t know where to start? By using a simple spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel you can create a budget in a few minutes.

Here’s how to get it done!

Step 1: Open Excel or your favorite spreadsheet program, open a new spreadsheet and give it a name. If you want to lighten up the personal budgeting process, give it a positive name like
“The Best Life Budget.”

Step 2: Create four columns and name them: Category, Monthly Budget Amount, Actual Amount and Difference. If you want to really track your personal budget on a closer basis, add a column for each week of the month. It will look like this:

Category - Monthly Budget Amount - Week 1 Spending - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Monthly Total Spending

Step 3: Begin creating your rows and main categories. Under the caption of Income, consider the following sub-categories:

Interest Income
Investment Income

This information is generally found on your pay check stub and monthly bank and investment account reports.

Step 4: Your next category is your income after taxes. Consider the following sub-categories:

Federal Income Tax
State and Local Income Tax
Social Security/Medicare Tax
Income after taxes

Step 5: Now we start taking a look at expenses. It is helpful to break your expenses into categories that fit your lifestyle. Some category options are:

Investments and Savings

Step 6: Within each of your expenses categories you’ll want to have descriptions. For example, under the category of Pets you could have:

Veterinary Expenses

Step 7: Your very last two rows will be something along the lines of:

Total Investments and Expenses
Spendable Income minus Total Expenses and Investments

That’s it in a nutshell. Spend some time working with your categories so you have a personal budget that works for you and encompasses all of your expenses. The last thing you’ll want is your indefinable miscellaneous category to be your biggest expense – that won’t help at all! Once your categories are defined and listed, it will take a few minutes to create the spreadsheet.

For ease of use, consider printing out your personal budget and placing it in a location that is easy to access. Keeping your spreadsheet on your computer is excellent for archiving the information, and Excel certainly makes it easy to compile the data. However, it will likely be easier to stick to your personal budget if you can see how much you have to spend.

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