When you decide that it is high time you get some control over your finances, the first thing you should do is to learn more about monthly budget planners. Budget planning tools are easily available on the Internet and they come in various forms: a printable budget planner, an online budget calculator and a personal budget worksheet that works in Excel, Open Office and Google Docs. Many versions of these tools are available for free, but some of the more detailed ones that have graphic and balancing features already built in, usually are not. Still, anyone can afford to take this step toward improving the management of personal finances and all it takes is determination and follow-through. This article will take you through the steps of creating a monthly budget using a personal budget worksheet. While all of the online tools are very useful, budget worksheets are the most versatile ones and the easiest to use.
With a personal budget worksheet you will not only enjoy the benefits of having a monthly budget, but also the extra convenience that comes with Microsoft Excel files. For one thing, all of the addition and subtraction operations needed in the preparation of a budget can be performed easily with Excel features, rather than by hand. In addition, Excel files can be easily stored on the computer or online, making it very easy to analyze old budgets and track your progress over time. Thirdly, Excel features make it easy to customize any budget planner template to suit your personal needs, and then to save this changes for future use as well.
PLANNING YOUR PERSONAL BUDGET WITH A WORKSHEET
Before you can plan your expenses and savings and create a budget in advance of each month, you need to start with the basics. First, you need to find a personal budget worksheet that already contains most of the items you spend money on. All budget planners contain income, savings and expenses as the main categories in a budget, but the items under each category vary from one worksheet to the next. Not all worksheets include items for pet care, child care, frequent trips, different types of investments and other categories that aren’t standard expenses for everyone. Finding a worksheet that fits your lifestyle will make it easier to fill in and follow the budget, especially if you are not a proficient user of Excel.
Once you’ve chosen your personal budget worksheet, you should start by filling in the amounts for all the categories after the end of each month. After you’ve done this for a couple of months, you will have a good idea of how you tend to spend your money when you don’t have a specific spending and saving strategy in place. You might start to think about how you could make interest payments smaller or about why you haven’t even started an emergency fund? This kind of thinking is natural when you see all your expenses, savings, and investments down on paper, and it is the reason why budget planning tools are so useful in improving the state of our finances. They force us to make conscious, deliberate decisions about spending and saving, and make it obvious when we don’t carry out our own plans. That kind of proactive thinking and accountability can make all the difference when it comes to personal finances.
After you gain an approximation of your spending in each category, it is time to analyze your spending habits and find ways to save on some categories. One way to do this is to look up tips on saving money for each category and then choose to implement those money-saving tips that are suitable to your goals and lifestyle. The personal budget worksheet can help you track changes in these categories over time, and show you whether the money-saving strategies you’re implementing are actually working. By this point, you have become an adept user of a personal budget worksheet and you’re whipping your finances into tip-top shape. You should use the extra savings either to lower your debt or to increase savings and investments. The next steps in your journey to financial literacy and prosperity are firstly, to learn about debt management tools and secondly, to learn about investments. Once you become proficient at monthly budgeting, it will be much easier to tackle these areas of finance as well.