Having a way to track your spending and savings is crucial in helping you reach your financial goals. Whether you’re saving for an upcoming trip, paying back a loan, or simply looking to get organized, spreadsheets are the easiest way to visualize your bank account. This tutorial will show you how to create a simple and effective spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
Since I first started repaying my student loans, my spreadsheet has saved me thousands of dollars in interest. It has given me complete confidence in my finances, and helped me build budgets for traveling! I have tried apps like Mint before but found them difficult to use. This is because they only account for transactions and spending made on credit cards and not in cash. Using your own spreadsheet gives you complete flexibility over what is put into your spreadsheet. That way no dollar goes unassigned or misplaced.
Here is how to create your own finance and budget spreadsheet:
I like to use Google Sheets for my spreadsheet. It is extremely easy to use, and I can access it on my phone! If you don’t have a Gmail account you can also use Excel, but I highly recommend looking into Google Drive and all of the great tools they have to offer.
Google Sheets does offer a pre-made “Monthly Budget” template, but I felt like there were some key components missing from it. This spreadsheet will fill some of those gaps and make it easy for you to organize your money!
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN FINANCIAL SPREADSHEET
First, you’ll want to open up a blank sheet. At the top of your spreadsheet moving left to right, list each of the twelve months of a year. I started my spreadsheet in January but feel free to start with whatever month you are currently on!
The first section on the spreadsheet will be your Income. It should include 5 rows (to account for 5 week months) and one additional row for any extra income you may acquire outside of your paycheck. It should look something like this.
To calculate the total for your monthly income, enter the following equation into the spreadsheet. Here I only used cells C4 through C8, but you can adjust accordingly.
The second section on your spreadsheet will be for your “Monthly Expenses”. Here you will list your monthly bills and things like your groceries and gas. It should look something like this:
Beneath that will be your first calculation: Income – Expenses. You will do this by entering the equation: =C9-C18. This will take the sum of your income, and subtract the sum of your expenses to determine how much money you have left after paying all of your bills. Your spreadsheet may be different and include more categories than this example, so make sure to use the appropriate cell numbers.
Next will be your “Miscellaneous Extras” section. Here you will list any additional expenses you may have throughout the month. This could include eating out at restaurants, new clothes, concerts or events, etc. I also like to make a section for birthday presents, holidays, and donations to charity.
To calculate the sum of your miscellaneous expenses, use the equation: =SUM(D23:D34). Again, if your cell numbers look different, be sure to adjust them accordingly!
The last section of your spreadsheet will be for your debt. This means things like student loans, car loans, and house payments. Here you will input whatever your minimum monthly payment is on each of these debts. Instead of calculating the sum of these debts, you will be using a new calculation. It should look something like this:
This money left over at the end of the month can be used in whatever way you’d like. In the past I would transfer it into a separate savings account to save for a trip. I also use it every month to figure out the extra payment I can make on my student loan debt.
As you continue to add and adjust your spreadsheet throughout the month, your calculations will automatically adjust. I usually enter all of my numbers in at the end of the month. If you use cash more often than a credit or debit card, be sure to save your receipts.
I find that is extremely useful to know exactly how much money I have left over at the end of the month! Putting a monthly extra payment towards my student loans has made paying them back move even quicker than I could have ever imagined. I hope that using a spreadsheet like this can help you with your own debts, or simply keep you more organized in your financial endeavors.
If you have any question or comments, be sure to leave them for me below!
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