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Organize Your Finances With a Budget Spreadsheet

Keeping your finances in order is not the most fun activity in the world for most people! In fact, many people would rather do just about anything than spend time poring over their income and expenditure. However, if you want to be financially stable and free, then you will need to learn to either like it or lump it when it comes to your finances! The most important thing that you need to do when you are trying to created some solid financial stability is to keep a very close check on where your money is going. If you get paid and all of a sudden are asking yourself “where does all of my money go?” then you are definitely not paying enough attention! Many people do not bother to track their money from pay to pay, and this is how they end up with little (or no) savings and the inability to be financially free.

What Do You Need to Do?

If you are serious about being financially stable and you want to start organizing your finances, the first thing you need to do is to make yourself an honest, comprehensive budget. Budgeting is something that will take some getting used to if you have never done it before, but once you get the hang of it, you will find it hard to live without one! When you are making a budget, you will need to take some time with it. Your initial budget will take a fair bit of thought and so you should allocate a couple of hours in order to get it right. When you decide to make a budget, there are several tools that can help you. One excellent tool is a budget spreadsheet. Almost everyone who has a computer has Microsoft Excel installed. This is a spreadsheet program that allows you to easily sort information such as lists of names and numbers. Excel is also a great program for budgeting!

Where to Find a Budget Spreadsheet

If you do have Excel on your computer, you will be able to download a wide variety of budget spreadsheets that will help you to take hold of your finances. If you do a quick Google search you will likely find quite a lot of sites offering budget spreadsheets for free downloads. Try to find the most comprehensive and well-rated one from the list and download that. When you have downloaded the budget spreadsheet you should be able to open it in Microsoft Excel. Alternatively, if you do not have Excel, you can look for a website that offers budget spreadsheets that can be filled out and maintained online. This means that you will not need any specific program to run it, and there is the added advantage of being able to access it from wherever you are, not just at home.

How to Use a Budget Spreadsheet

When you have your budget spreadsheet up and running, it is time to fill it out. This is the part that takes time. You will need to fill out all of your income for the pay period – this includes all of your wages, any interest on savings, income from investments and so on. This should be a fairly straightforward step. Next, you will need to fill out all of your expenses for the pay period. Having a pre-designed budget spreadsheet is very handy here, as it will remind you of things that you spend money on that you might otherwise have forgotten. Good budget spreadsheets will be laid out in an easy to read manner, usually with your expenses listed in categories such as home, living and entertainment. You will find expenses there such as rent, insurance, electricity, water, food, dining out, clothing, toiletries, gym membership, transport and so on. When you are listing what you spend, be honest! This budget spreadsheet will show you where all of your money is being spent and if you are honest then it will help you to identify any areas in which you overspend.

Managing Your Budget

When all this is done, you will have a final figure – your total income minus your total expenditure. If you do not like the number that you end up with, then you are not alone! Many people spend everything that they make, sometimes even more than they make. So the trick here is to try to make that total of leftover money as big as possible so that you can put it into savings. Look at where your biggest expenses are and see if you can reduce them. Can you spend less money on shoes, clothes, going out or food? Wherever you can cut back, do it! Start putting that money into a high-interest savings account instead so that you have money that you can use towards something more meaningful such as a house deposit or an overseas holiday. Whatever you choose to use your savings for, you will be glad that you took the time to manage your finances and give yourself some financial stability.