Using budget spreadsheets

When you have got a mortgage, children, college expenses, or other spending to keep track of, then you don't necessarily want to complicate your life even more by pondering online services and mobile apps that look like the answer to your budgetary needs. If you like to keep it simple and are not a huge fan of setting up online accounts or remembering login details, then a budget spreadsheet might be the answer to your organisational needs.

1. General considerations for using a budget spreadsheet

When running a household account book, it's less a matter of how much money you earn than of making the most of what you have. Knowing where you money goes and how much you can expect to have left at the end of the month gives you greater control over your finances. You can tweak your budget or spending habits and come up with a more systematic plan on the spending side.

1.1. Basic fields of application

  • Based on your transactions, adjust your budget with automatic calculations.
  • This budget spreadsheet allows you to forecast spendings for a particular category for the current month and the upcoming months of a particular year.
  • Find patterns in your spending that indicate what your priorities really are.
  • Rather than trying to force a change to your spending priorities, look at how you can tweak your budget to more realistically reflect what’s most important to you.
  • Putting your budget together on a worksheet can help you to make the right financial decisions.
  • Document your financial transactions up close and personal.

Balancing your spending habits and income with a spreadsheet does not come with all the bells and whistles that online budgeting solutions may have, but it is an affordable solution for many private households and individuals, offering flexibility and a simple, hands-on approach for keeping track of your money.

I found digital budget spreadsheets to be reliable and affordable solutions when it comes to planning my finances. That is why I came up with this Excel budget spreadsheet (also see images below), which you can download here; Since I have put quite some effort into creating and designing these worksheets, I have taken the liberty of setting a small price on the download, as a compensation for my work.

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1.1. Some reasons to use Excel spreadsheets for private budgeting

1.1.1. Ease of use and avialability

Companies across the business use Excel spreadhseets on a regular basis for a variety of tasks. Many employees are familiar with Excel spreadsheets or at least have a copy of Excel at their disposal, just like a lot of private housholds - some might not even be aware that they have Excel installed on their machines, as part of Microsoft Office. So it seems more sensible to simply use what's already there than to needlessly spend more money on additional budget solutions and licenses. Even if not all private users are Excel power users, but because of its availability most users are familiar with Excel’s interface and would know how to navigate the program quickly as well as how to perform basic actions like adding or deleting cells and how to do computations and create formulas.

1.1.2. no need to share financial data with third parties

For people who don't want to connect their bank account to an online service or prefer to keep their data offline, budget spreadsheets can do as good a job as any other budget solution. Ultimately, it is all a matter of what you want and what you need. If you don't mind tracking your expenses manually (recurring expenses can, of course, be automated with spreadsheets too), then a budget spreadsheet definitely can help you to organize your finances. Some people even prefer the offline approach of managing their money over online budgeting as it offers complete control over the data you track and how you track it. This also means that with an Excel budget spreadsheet your financial data won't be compiled from different accounts, such as bank accounts, credit card accounts and investment accounts into a single place by means of online account aggregators - if you feel uncomfortable sharing any of your finanicla data with third parties, then this clearly is an advantage. Another advantage is that budget spreadsheets won't come with the ads and promotional offers you typically get with free online budgeting tools and apps.


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