Updated Oct. 22, 2018: It's Money Resolution 101: If you want to [insert financial goal here], you need a budget. And, if you have a budget, but are still seeing red, well, you need a better one.
So we made you this spreadsheet.
It's a simple "money in/money out" budget template that measures income against expenses. You can download and make the sheet your own.
When it comes to budgeting, everyone's situation and priorities are different. But here are some basic recommendations for how to use it:
- Enter your cash-on-hand, monthly take-home pay and any other income.
- Add your fixed expenses (like rent, utility bills or life insurance premiums) and estimate how much you spend on unfixed but must-pay expenses (like gas, groceries or credit card bills.)
- Below that add spending levels for wants like clothing, travel or nights on the town.
- Track & tweak as you go. Are you blowing your discretionary spending goals? If so, how can you curb back? Is there a way to lower a seemingly fixed expense? (Spoiler alert: There probably is.)
- Set a savings goal. This template is designed to help with cash-flow, not investments, but there is a line for savings contributions. You can use it in two ways: (a) to track how much you manage to put away each month in light of your current spending and adjust accordingly or (b) to pay yourself first by automatically allocating some of your take-home pay to a rainy day fund.
You can find a few more DIY budgeting tips here.