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.