Inspired by Pinkhairgirls blogpost today I felt I should share the method me and Caryn use to keep our household budget in the green and control our spending. Many years ago my grandmother taught me that to do a budget you draw two columns, in one you write your expenses and in the other your income, then you add them up and compare them.
All fair and well but rather limited. It didn't allow for easy projections (if you're saving for something – it doesn't allow you to see how much you will have saved in six months for example). It also doesn't easily deal with two other of life's major realities:
-Sometimes there are unplanned expenses you could not know about, you need to keep track of them so that you can see their impact in the following months
-Sometimes you are forced to spend more than you planned, and other times you are able to spend less- you need an easy way to keep track of these differences.
So I started to set up a spreadsheet that would meet my needs. It evolved over several years into it's current form. The spreadsheet as it stands has 3 columns for each expense: the actual money spent, the planned expenditure and the difference. It also splits expenses into regular and once-off expenses and provides a series of formulas to allow for extensive forward projections. Each month is a tab in the sheet.
I took my own and stripped out all my personal budget data, then populated it with a very simple set of sample data (just enough to show how it is used – but easy to remove/replace). Now I would like to share it with others. Please feel free to make use of it, adapt it or improve it under a share-alike kind of concept.
If you would like to have a look at it, you can download a copy here.