There are plenty of online tools to help you manage your finances, but finding the one that fits your needs can be difficult. Microsoft Excel offers a variety of templates from which to choose, such as the household budget template. This template allows you to compare your expected expenses against your actual bills to record unforeseen spending each month. In order to use this template, you’ll need to record your expected bills at the beginning of the month, record your actual payments at the end of the month and examine the template’s results to judge your expenses.
When beginning this process, you must go through all your monthly bills to determine how much you plan to spend. Some bills are easy to calculate this way, like car payments or rent, as they usually stay the same each month. Other bills, however, will change each month according to energy usage, eating habits and excess shopping. Some bills may be unforeseen until they are requested, such as medical billing or car repairs, so it might be wise to include an extra category as a buffer for your budgeting needs.
In this Excel template, the expenses are organized by category, but the names of different areas can be changed without affecting the template’s formulas. Make sure to list every bill you can possibly anticipate and clearly label each of them to make it easier to review later. You’ll report the amounts for each bill in the column to the right of each bill’s name, labeled "Projected Amount." If you’re unsure about what a bill will look like, estimate it according to the previous month’s amount.
Once you’ve input each expected amount, you can either update the budget calculator daily, weekly or at the end of the month. The only section that will need input after your initial listing of bills will be the column labeled "Actual Cost." You shouldn’t input amounts for any bills until they have actually gone through, even if they are usually the same each month. This will ensure that you are including any potential late fees, extra charges or fluctuations in cost.
After recording an amount in the "Projected Amount" and "Actual Cost" sections for a bill, you’ll notice that the column labeled "Difference" will automatically calculate the difference between the amounts. If a bill was more than expected, then the amount in the "Difference" column will be negative, recording how much extra will be deducted from your monthly budget.
Income vs. Spending
You will notice that this template also has a section to compare projected monthly income to actual monthly income. These fields are necessary to fill out each month as well to see if your view of your monthly income is accurate. When recording your projected monthly income, be sure to calculate your expected amount after taxes, not a gross estimate, because the amount after taxes is the amount that appears in your bank account. After recording your actual bills for the month, record your actual monthly income. The template will calculate the amount spent that month against how much was earned and report the difference.
Items you will need
- Microsoft Excel 2003, 2007 or 2010
- Save the worksheet with the name of the month each month. Compare your income and expenses as the months elapse.