Well I have had some of you ask me how I got started.
What do you do? Where do you start?
I asked the same questions. I was totally lost. I started small…
…like to the point where I go back to my first template & I laugh out loud at it. Poor little template. But hey – it was my starting point! It’s why I am where I am! So I’m so thankful for it!
So first… the budget. Here’s what you need
(and there will be pictures!):
(and PS: this is based off what worked for ME so when I say “what you need”… it’s what you need according to doing it my way. Do what works for you! Always!)
First: here’s what my Budget looks like (this is a template so you won’t see all my own data but i’ve used the same keywords). This budget works best when using formulas but you can always add the math manually.
– If you need a tutorial on how to do formulas, please shoot me a message! –
You’ll create two tabs for your templates. Mine look like this:
This is the BUDGET tab.
This is where you’ll list all income and expenses and bills, etc.
This is the Monthly Expenses tab.
This is where you’ll insert every single receipt, money spent, whatever. Eating out, groceries, spending, car washes, Thumbtack expenses, whatever you have as an expenses, it will ALL get written down here!
It looks daunting but don’t be afraid!!!! Here are 6 of the categories most important for the Budget Tab:
- Income (money coming in)
- Total Money Spent
- Money for Expenses
List all of your bills. I list my bills in what order they’re due. Remember, a lot of bills change monthly so this will be something you update BEFORE the next month rolls around.
TIP 1: I color code mine black or blue as you can see in the template. This is because black is what bills pull automatically from my bank and blue is what pulls automatically from my Amazon Chase Visa card.
TIP 2: Any bills that can pull from a credit card, I have them charge to my visa because I earn money towards Amazon. I end up earning about $40-60/month which gives me $480+ at the end of the year (unless I use it month to month.) Same goes for Discover IT card. They actually give you cash back. Who doesn’t want $500 in cash? But always pay that card off per month. I pay mine off weekly.
List all of your expenses. (feel free to check out my template for ideas.)
TIP: I wouldn’t bother putting in any money yet at this point. You have to finish your Income section before you have any idea of what you can spend.
List all of your income. If you’re someone with a w-2, look over your past few statements and see how much you make based on hours after tax. If you’re not sure on the exact amount and need to guess, it’s better to underestimate than to overestimate.
Self-employed folks like me: if there is ANY steady monthly income, write that sucker down to the best you can. Otherwise, what I do is look at the month’s calendar and anything on there that is income, it goes on the list.
TIP: Whatever you do not have as a concrete “I know for sure this is coming this month” income, it does not go on the list. If anything, it can be extra money that rolls over later if it does come in.
Total Money Spent
You’ll have one row and it will be say “Bills & Expenses”.
If you know how to add formulas in a spreadsheet, then you’ll want to add a formula here. If you don’t, you can manually add it up every month.
You’ll simply add the Total Bills section to the Total Expenses section so you know how much money is leaving your pocket every month.
Money for Expenses
This one will have two rows.
Row 1 – Money for expenses: this one is simply your bills subtracted from you income so that you know exactly how much money you have to spend on your expenses this month.
Row 2 – Leftover expenses: SO IMPORTANT. This section needs to ALWAYS ALWAYS either be at $0.00 or it needs to be in the positive where you have extra money. If it is ever in the negative, you HAVE to rearrange your expenses (or bills) and take something out (if you can). If you are in the negative, you are going into debt.
Budget / Spent
This one is where formulas are the heaviest. So beware 🙂 It will connect your Monthly Budget tab (the first picture listed above) to your Monthly Expenses tab (the second set of pictures listed.
This is a very quick way (without extra work) to know where you’re at in your spending anytime you want to take a look.
1 – So basically I took my most important expenses that I need to keep an eye on regularly and added them to this chart (it’s the one in the top left of the screen).
2 – I made a column for Budget, Spent, and Left To Spend.
(here’s where it gets really confusing. I will do my best)
3 – Budget column, you connect that cell to the matching cell in the Expenses column for each row (all still on the Budget tab)
Spent Column (this one is a tad time consuming but you get really fast at it) you have to create a formula that links from that cell on that budget tab, to the TOTALS cell on the matching monthly expenses tab. (so groceries, as you list them on your 2nd tab (monthly expenses), the money you enter as you spend it will show up in this cell on this tab). Confused yet?
Left To Spend, you enter a formula that subtracts what you have spent from what you have budgeted and will show you a nice running total of what you have left (or what you have gone over).
I have a few extra charts as you can see. They are as follows:
(d) Emergency Spending
You don’t have to have them. I just think it helps when I’m working on the budget.
Well, I hope this was written clearly as it took me many tries! The formulas can get pretty involved and it’s very hard to describe in words so if I have managed to confuse you, PLEASE do not hesitate to ask me to send you a tutorial.
Please comment below if you have any suggestions or comments and as always, please feel free to share! Remember, this isn’t for everyone. This is what works for me (and I have a lot of fun with it. I’m a nerd) but I don’t expect anyone to feel its the best way or the right way for you!
Take care, lovelies!
PS: STAY TUNED!
Meal Planning Like a Boss is coming out this week!!!