You have to be able to keep track of both your incomings and outgoings to achieve financial health. The problem is that it’s far too easy to get yourself into trouble when you’re not paying attention and a budget should be part of everyone’s financial tool belt.
Whether you are new to the working world, an entrepreneur or freelancer, creating a budget is a simple way to stay on top of all things related to your spending and earning. Having all this information in one place can help you manage your expenses more efficiently. If you don’t want to use Excel, then you can use Google Sheets - which also allows you to work from anywhere collaboratively. Don't be afraid of formulas and functions.
We walk you through the entire process and offer you some handy Google Sheets tips and tricks to help you create your own free budget template:
It’s important to remember that because this Google worksheet is a template, it can be customised and used as a budget calculator for any purpose you want.
Set Up The Template
Step 1: Open Google Docs and click on a new spreadsheet. Decide what title you want to give your document and then give it a name which will automatically save in the cloud (all changes you make automatically save). If you are calculating your expenses weekly, monthly or yearly you can give it the name ‘Weekly Budget’, ‘Monthly Budget’ or ‘Annual Budget’. In this example, we chose to calculate finances per month.
Step 2: Create columns and divide your income into categories. Start with your salary or any other sources of money you may have. Think about earned income (from work, business, consulting or gambling), portfolio income (capital gains – trading, buying/selling real estate) and passive income (benefits, rent, affiliate or multi-level marketing).
Step 3: Add the numbers that correspond to each source of income. These numbers should reflect your income after tax.
Step 4: Add a TOTAL cell at the bottom so that you can see how much you are earning each month.
Start Using Formulas
Step 5: Select the cell you want the TOTAL to appear in, go to ‘Insert’ and click on the ‘Functions’ icon that is located on the right-hand side of your screen and has the Greek symbol ‘Σ’. Select the SUM option from the drop-down menu.
Step 6: Then hold down the control key and select the columns which will make up the TOTAL number. When you do this the numbers accounted for each source of income will automatically update and give the overall result.
This is how the sum amount should appear on your screen.
Let Google Do The Math
Step 7: Now, this is where it gets tricky. To make the automatic savings section work, you need to organise what portion of each paycheck you are going to set aside for savings, retirement fund and your safety net. This example shows 20 per cent of monthly income going into savings, 5 per cent for the pension fund, and 10 per cent into the safety net.
*Note that the percentages and numbers used in this example are completely random.
Step 8: We need to calculate the percentage of your gross monthly income you are going to save. You can do this by clicking on the cell where you want the total to appear and hit the “=” sign. Then, select your gross monthly income, hit the “*” key, which stands for multiply, and put in the percentage you want to multiply it with. This formula can determine how much money you need to put away to meet your savings goals. We have out the whole process side by side for you below.
When you finish, do the same for every category of automated savings you want. You can also create another TOTAL cell where you can see what those numbers add up to using the SUM function as shown in step 5.
Step 9: Now, you are ready to subtract your take-home pay from what you have portioned out for savings. To do this, you need to create a ‘Remaining Total’. Click on the equal sign symbol (=), select your first TOTAL and hit the minus symbol (-). Then select the total saved number to see how much money you have left like the following examples show.
Step 10: When you have calculated your take home pay it’s time to determine your monthly expenses. This could include rent/mortgage, car, utilities, taxes, health insurance, dog food, mobile phone bill, shopping etc. If it helps, keep the receipts you get for every purchase and check your credit card/debit statements as a reference of how much you are spending.
Here you will need to use the SUM function again to see the total of your monthly expenses.
Step 11: Finally, you need to calculate the money you have leftover. Create a final cell labelled ‘Surplus’, hit the equal sign and select the remaining total and the total expenses. This can show you the money you have leftover each month to spend on random purchases like nights out with friends and going out for meals.
As you can see using Google Docs to prepare a simple budget planner is quite easy. Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean following a restrictive spending plan that allows no room for fun. Quite the contrary, they are an excellent way to gain control of your finances and track where your money goes – so you still have some money left to have fun.
Is it time to create your own budget template? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…