Revised version of My Excel Budget Spreadsheet

As an IT manager, I should have known better, but I didn’t effectively test my spreadsheet before releasing it. See, the problem was I made some last minute changes and assumed they wouldn’t cause any problems. Fortunately few of my readers quickly made me aware of the problems.

I’ve fixed the issues reported thus far, which in my opinion where pretty major. I also added a new tab to track the changes/fixes I’ve made so you’ll know exactly what I fixed.

My Personal Excel Budget Spreadsheet

The very first personal budget I ever made was done using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The budget spreadsheet followed the principles set by Dave Ramsey in that it was a zero based budget done month to month. It was a very simple Excel spreadsheet that basically contained a list of our income and expenses. It provided no automation, and no details on transactions, but it worked. As I began to learn more about budgeting and managing our finances, I began to enhance the spreadsheet a little, but it was still very manual and fairly tedious. I also didn’t care for the way I showed all of the months together on one spreadsheet. I wanted to see one month at a time.

What is a budget?

Dictionary page
Photo by: adamjinj

I enjoy reading and spend a decent amount of time each week reading blogs on my blogroll, new blogs I find through and major news sites such as MSN Money Central and CNN Money. I also really enjoy reading the various comments people make about the articles, almost more so than the articles themselves sometimes. One of the interesting trends I have picked up on is that I’m not convinced people truely understand what a budget really is.

What is a budget?

According to Wikipedia, a budget is:

Top reasons people don't budget

Photo by: afiler

One of they things you can do to save money is create and follow a budget. I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say many times that when you start following a budget, it’s like getting a raise. I’ve found that to be very true. When you start tracking and pruning your expenses, you find money that you were previously just blowing.

What I’ve seen is that many people don’t follow a budget. The reasons why vary, but here are just a few I’ve come across:

Finding a budget that works

So many choices
So Many Choices by: dewayne.brooks

When my wife and I started following a budget more than a year ago, I decided to use something straight forward and simple, a spreadsheet. I had used Quicken in the past and found it too difficult and frustrating. I needed something that would budget the way I wanted to budget, something that gave me the flexibility to do what I wanted to do.

A Guideline Budget – How Do You Compare?

Budget Balance

I am currently reading The World’s Easiest Guide To Finances. So far, it’s a good read especially for those that really have no idea where to start. But there is also some great ideas and perspectives for the more “seasoned” personal finance gurus. One of the more interesting items in the book is a guideline budget that is proposed by the authors. I’ll first present the guideline budget and then provide my perspective on it.

The Guideline Budget

The guideline budget basically breaks your expenses into 12 categories and provides a suggested percentage of your income to be allocated to the category. Here is the guideline budget from the book:

How to Save Money by Increasing Your Expenses

Adding Blocks

While we may want things, all we really need are life basics: food, housing, transportation and clothing. Anything beyond that is a want. Granted, it may be a very important want, but it would still be a want. A need is something we require in order to survive, a want is everything else.

Using the concept of life basics, I am going to show you an alternative to reducing your expenses to pay off debt or to save money. I’m going to show you how to increase your expenses and accomplish the same thing.

How To Get Your Finances Under Control – Step 4 Create a Budget AND Follow It!

This article is step 4 of the series called How to Get Your Finances Under Control

One of the most important steps on your journey to getting your finances under control is establishing a budget. While creating an effective budget takes time and a little number crunching, the freedom your budget will provide you is well worth your time.

People in general tend to make a budget more difficult and complex than it really is. A financial degree or expensive version of Quicken is not required. All you really need is a pen, a sheet of paper and the basic ability add and subtract.

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