This worksheet is for people who don’t like the word budget but still want to get a grip on their finances. Basic personal finance is mostly about managing cash flow which means tracking and planning how money is entering and leaving your real and virtual pockets. This worksheet can be used for tracking your spending as well as creating a budget.
This printable PDF is a two-page worksheet that you can complete by hand. It is free to print and can be useful as a class handout. To download a version that you can edit and customize, download the spreadsheet below.
This worksheet was created to be used as an educational resource for personal finance classes. It includes a fairly comprehensive set of expense categories and was designed to be easy to understand and simple to customize. It’s mainly for people who don’t already use Quicken (you can generate a report like this from Quicken very easily via the Reports menu).
Although there are some really cool things that can be done with Excel to make this worksheet more useful, I have intentionally kept this template simple. Quicken was my personal tool of choice when it comes to personal money management (before they switched to a subscription fee). If you want to use a free spreadsheet with the ability to enter transactions in account registers like you do in Quicken, you can try the Money Management Template.
Keep in mind that spreadsheets allow you to make more mistakes than software like Quicken, because spreadsheets use formulas and calculations that you may mess up by accident.
A Couple Tips for Entering Amounts
Fixed Expenses: To enter expenses that are the same from month to month, you can enter the value, then select the cell and use the drag handle (the lower right of the selection box) to copy the value across to the other months.
Add Values within a Cell: To do some quick math such as adding two values inside a cell, press = to start a formula, then enter a formula like =34+170 and press Enter.
You can edit the labels for the various categories in column B as needed. You may want to add more specific categories or delete some you don’t need. Do this by inserting or deleting entire rows. When inserting rows, make sure to copy the formulas in the Total and Average columns.
The formulas used for the column totals are set up to make it easy to add and delete rows without messing up the template, as long as you insert new rows within the range of rows referenced by the totals. You should still verify the formulas used for the Totals if you insert rows.
Average Monthly Expenses
The Average column divides the Total by the number of columns to give a monthly average. This can be particularly helpful if you have an annual, quarterly, or other periodic expense and want to figure out what monthly amount to set aside for that upcoming expense.
Creating a Monthly Budget that is the same each month requires that you use averages for variable expenses (fuel, food, etc.) and periodic expenses (insurance, tuition, subscriptions, etc.). A yearly cash flow analysis like this one can help you figure out what those averages are.