Creating a Budget in Excel

by Louise Balle, Demand Media

    You can use Microsoft Excel for creating a budget. It allows you to record each point of your budget in its own separate cell so that you can reference the information quickly. It also automatically performs calculations for you. If you have Excel on your computer, don't let it collect dust on your hard drive--put it to good use by setting up a budget worksheet.

    Step 1

    Examine your blank worksheet to get familiar with the setup. The columns are labeled with letters and the rows are labeled with numbers. A cell is the intersection between a column and a row--the cell ID is the letter of the column combined with the number of the row (for instance, cell A4).

    Step 2

    Label the columns of your budget worksheet first. Place your cursor in cell B3 to start. Enter "Expense," in B3, "Amount Monthly" in C3 and "Amount Weekly" in D3 (the last column is optional).

    Step 3

    List the names of you and your partners' bills under the "Expense" column. For instance, "Electric," "Rent" and "Car Payments." Write in the estimated amount you have to pay for each bill every month next to the name of each bill.

    Step 4

    Go to the "Amount Weekly" column (if you decided to add this column). Move your cursor to the first available cell under the "Amount Weekly Column" (should be cell D4 in this example). Type in the formula "=C4/4" (no quotes). This formula divides the monthly cost (cell C4) by four to calculate the weekly estimated cost automatically.

    Step 5

    Click and hold the small square on the lower right-hand corner of cell D4. Drag your mouse down the column--this copies the formula to all of your other bills automatically.

    Step 6

    Total all bills under the "Amount Monthly" and "Amount Weekly" columns. Simply enter "=Sum(" (no quotes) into the first available cell under "Amount Monthly" (let's say it's cell C18 in this example) after all your bill amounts. Click and drag your mouse down the "Amount Monthly" column, which selects all of your bills. Enter closed parentheses to close the formula and then click "Enter." Repeat this action for the "Amount Weekly" column.

    Step 7

    Type "Monthly Pay" in an available cell next to your list of bills, such as cell G3. Go down to the next row (G4 in this case) and type in your combined monthly income (take-home pay). Go to cell H3 and type in "Weekly Pay" if you wish, then go down to cell H4 and type in the formula "=G4/4" (no quotation marks) which just divides the monthly pay by four.

    Step 8

    Go down a few rows to cell G8. Enter the formula "=G4-C18" (no quotation marks), which just deducts your total bills (in cell C18) from your total monthly pay so that you can see how much money you have left over at the end of the month , if any. You can repeat this action for your weekly pay in cell H8 ("=H4-D18").

    Step 9

    Analyze your worksheet and establish your budgeting goals based on the information. For instance, if you find that you have a deficit each month (listed in cell G8 in this example) you can then start making plans to either make more money or cut down on some of your bills.

    About the Author

    Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.