Plan a Monthly Budget – Money Management

 994012_saving1Personal Expense Tracker – Monthly Budgeting

My Personal Expense Tracker takes a business approach to managing household finances: pay your fixed expenses (monthly bills) first and then tailor your variable expenses (needs/wants) to your level of income.

You must pay fixed expenses each month to protect your credit and keep a roof over your head. You can generally tailor your need/want expenses to fit your income level. Although you can cut some fixed expenses by bundling tech services, shopping around for insurance, or getting the lowest credit card APRs, focus on having enough cash to cover your need/want discretionary spending. If you are low on cash, because your electric bill is more in the winter months, eat-out less or use coupons when you grocery shop.

A few notes:
I regularly use a similar spreadsheet to figure out my cash flow and make sure bills are paid on time.

Saving for an emergency is a must. Emergency fund contributions need to be treated as a monthly bill. You never know when it is going to rain, or pour for that matter. You NEED a household emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses. This line item is in the fixed expenses category. Saving only $35 a month can eliminate expensive credit card finance charges for that emergency purchase.

This tool is not intended for proportional budget analysis (like how much of your income goes to savings versus debt.) This tool is simply to help you “balance” your budget and ensure that you plan to have enough cash to cover all your expenditures each month.

This budget planner is not intended for tracking investment, small business, or rental income and expenses.

This budget planner isn’t a substitute for professional financial advice from a certified financial planner or a certified accountant. If you have legal or tax-related questions please contact your financial professional.

There are formulas in the spreadsheet, but it isn’t password protected, so you can add or delete items if you would like.

Comments and feedback are always welcome! Happy budgeting.

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5 responses to “Plan a Monthly Budget – Money Management

  1. Mint is another highly regarded free tracker.
    Or make your own with the spreadsheet templates on your home computer.
    And don’t forget the graphs. Nothing says overspending like a big hunk of pie chart.
    Happy Budgeting, indeed!
    Neighbor Nancy
    http://kitewrite.wordpress.com

    • Neighbor Nancy, Many thanks for your comment. Mint seems like a very interesting personal finance tool. Thanks for recommending it to my readers! It is nice to know that readers like to see visual graphs. Personally, I don’t feel like they help me improve my spending habits. The percentage of our budget we spend on debt (school, home and auto loans) isn’t going to change much over the next 10 years, and my family will spend more on housing than the national average because we live in one of the most expensive suburbs in the country. My tracking tool is designed for individuals who are on very tight budgets, who have a lot of “fixed” living costs, and who need to know how much they have to spend on everything else during the month. Thanks again for reading! Abbie

  2. Neighbor Nancy

    Oh dear,I hope I didn’t step on any toes.
    (Neighbor Nancy hands Abbiepark a warm blueberry muffin in apology as she removes her foot from her mouth)
    We were excited when my husband got a job last fall that doubled any previous income. We still fall well below the poverty line. So, trust me, we know all about getting by on a tight budget. Perhaps the correct words might have been “disproportional spending.” I just meant that whether you make 6,000 or 60, 000 there is room for adjustment. Sometimes it helps to see those proportions, so you can fine tune.
    Sorry again,
    Nan

    • Nan, Absolutely no toes stepped on. My apologies to you if my tone was a bit rough. I agree that an illustration of spending is a very powerful budget planning tool. I know there are many wonderful budget planners already available that graphically represent your monthly spending. I simply wanted to present my readers with another budgeting philosophy that has worked for my family.
      By the way, I really like your Canning: Where to Start article. I am interested in doing some canning this summer and it is my first time. I’ll definitely look you up again as a reference! Thanks, and thank you always for reading.
      Abbie

  3. Oh, I am just spooked into oversensitivity this week.
    As a newbie blogger, I have committed two apparently major blogging etiquette faux pas in the last 6 days. Crazy things embedded in HTML code that I didn’t even know I had to look for.
    (sigh)
    I would love to read posts about your canning intentions and organization ideas.
    Come visit again anytime. I set up an IM thing in the sidebar and hope to set up a group chat or forum for like minded folks.
    I’ll be back to visit soon. Keep up the good work.

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