Budgets are the modern man's best friend. They are an essential tool for your finances. Did you know you can make one in Google Sheets? We can't all afford the newest, fancy budgeting software whenever it arises, who wants to budget in their budget? So why not make your own, interactive budget using the power of Google Sheets?
This is a pretty basic budget, and there are definitely more sophisticated tutorials out there, but that isn't the point of this article. The point is to show that you can create a budget with relative ease in Google Sheets, and if I made this budget super complicated, you and I would be lost by the end of this article.
A budget can be best described in two parts:
- Income vs. Expenses
- Surplus Money Organization
Part 1: Income vs. Expenses
The first part of a budget is recording your cash flow in the month. That includes:
- Recurring Expenses
- Miscellaneous Expenses
Note: These numbers used in the sample budget are made up, and I just created random cash amounts for income, rent, and all other expenses.
(I'm not crazy or stupid enough to share my actual financials ha-ha)
First, you will state your weekly income for the 4 weeks of the month. Alternatively, you can just enter a flat sum for the month, or if you get paid bi-weekly you could say something like:
pay period 1
pay period 2
This and the other stats will be used to help calculate your budget location.
Next, you will enter any recurring expenses that you pay consistently on a monthly basis. Things like:
- Utilities & Groceries
If you pay it on a monthly basis, put it in this table.
This is where you can log your intended miscellaneous purchases for the month. These are things like:
- Irregular supply runs (Office Supplies, New Appliances, Clothing, Etc.)
If you know that the expense is coming, but it isn't a regular/consistent monthly expense, then you should put it under this table.
Part 2: Surplus Money Organization
Now that we have our cash flow recorded, we can calculate all of our statistics.
Note: These aren't all possible stats, but you will see them in every budget.
It will be easier to simply share what the equations are for each stat:
Total Expenses is simply the sum of the recurring expenses plus the sum of the miscellaneous expenses.
in Google Sheets, that looks something like:
=SUM(Range of Recurring Expenses) + Sum(Range of Misc. Expenses)
This is simply the gross initial sum of your monthly income. In Google Sheets, that looks like:
=SUM(Range of Income)
Net Earnings is used to help you know how much money you have to play with after the initial expenses. Simply put it is your Monthly Income minus your total Monthly Expenses.
=Monthly Income Cell - Total Expenses Cell
For this part, you will want to know what percentage of your net earnings you would like to put in your savings. For this article, I said 30%. That means you need to calculate 30% of your earnings.
That looks like this:
=Net Earnings * (percentage saved / 100)
In later months, you will need to add the savings on top of each other, because the assumption is that you're not gonna touch your savings
Everyone should have an emergency fund put aside for freak expenses (Accidents & Emergencies, Termination/Unemployment, Etc.). That could be as low as $500 for teens and as much as thousands of dollars for adults. Essentially, you want enough money put aside to cover your basic expenses for at least 3 months.
The function behaves much like the savings function. I chose a percentage (%15), and every month, 15% of the net earnings go into that pot.
In Google Sheets, it looks like this
=Net Earnings Cell * (percentage put into your emergency fund / 100)
Surplus cash is essentially your true net profit after your expenses, savings, and fund contributions.
Simply put, in Google Sheets it will look like this:
=Net Earnings Cell - Savings Cell - Emergency Fund Cell
In other words, this is your disposable income, the money that you can do whatever you want to with.
Expanding Your Budget's Timeline
The beautiful part about budgeting in google sheets? you can copy and paste all of the cells and budget for the next month. You will need to ensure that all of the cells are properly referenced, as some of them will rely on variable references.
Budgeting is a super important skill to have, and in today's economy we all need to be responsible with our money. The beautiful thing about Google Sheets is that you can budget without having to put your budget into your budget.
Again, this isn't. a perfect budget, it is just supposed to serve as a good example for you and hopefully steer you in the right direction.