One of the main purposes of a budget is to balance the two sides of your financial life -- income and expenses. For this reason it's helpful to create a budget in a worksheet format. A budget sheet looks like a simple table listing data in columns and rows. Once you have your sheet you can save it and update it whenever needed, which is probably going to be often. You have a number of choices for creating a basic budget sheet.
Download a budget worksheet template for Microsoft Excel from the Microsoft Office template website. Choose a sheet format to open it in your Excel program. Most of these templates already have common categories for expenses, but you can add your own. Some budget templates may allow you to place multiple months side by side within the same sheet. Enter your corresponding amounts, then save and update the sheet each month.
Use Kiplinger's Budgeting Worksheet to create your budget. This tool allows you to add details of individual elements of your budget into boxes in your Web browser. You can enter both your actual monthly expenses and your projected expenses (how much you plan to pay for each item in the future). The sheet separates your budget expenses into two main categories -- fixed and variable. When you're done, total everything up to view a summary at the end. You can copy everything in the sheet and paste it into a spreadsheet file if you want.
Create a budget sheet by hand, as another option. This method only requires good old pen and paper. Buy a journal or composition book containing paper with ruled lines and name it your budget for the year. Come up with an abbreviation for each expense you have (for example, UT for utilities) and list each abbreviation down the left side of each page. Write the amount you pay next to each item that month, total it up and deduct it from your monthly income. Repeat this every month on a new page and carry it with you to make updates to account for all your regular expenses.
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