What Should A Budget Spreadsheet Include?
Updated: Jun 15
If you’re tired of feeling stressed about money all the time, starting a budget is one of the best financial moves you can make. Without a budget, it’s easy to lose track of the small things - which really add up and make a big difference.
When you track the right information, you can get a clearer picture of your finances and use the data to make smart decisions. It will help you to allocate money to each expense category and avoid spending money on unnecessary fees, services and products that hold you back from your financial goals.
Of course, a 12 month budget spreadsheet is only as good as the data you put into it. You need to make sure you are tracking all the things you spend money on, otherwise the spreadsheet won’t have any benefit.
So, what categories of expenses should you be tracking within your household budget sheet template? Let’s take a look at what every budget spreadsheet should include.
What Every Budget Spreadsheet Should Include
Every household is unique, so your budget will be too. Setting up your budget is a process of thinking about what’s important to you and what you want and need to spend your money on.
However, there are certain universal items that any good personal cash flow budget template should include. Here are the essential basics that your budget spreadsheet should include:
Food & Groceries
Car or vehicle Payments
Irregular Expenses & One Off Purchases
Subscriptions and Software
Prescriptions & Medicine
These are some of the most obvious expenses - ones that you will most likely need to account for. There are some which are monthly recurring expenses, such as your rent or mortgage payments, your utilities and any subscriptions. To get an idea of what these are, look at your recent bank statements. Which payments come out of your account every month?
Then, there are some one-off expenses that occur sporadically. These can be hard to quantify, but the best way is to go back through your spending and see find them. See how much you spend on that particular category in the past year. Then, add it up and divide by 12. This will give you an estimate of how much you spend on average per month.
Commonly Forgotten Budget Items
Don’t forget about some of the less obvious expenses that might slip your mind. These are the expenses that you might not automatically think of when you are making your budget spreadsheet, but they are incredibly important. They might not be on the typical household budget sheet template, but you can always adjust and add them yourself.
Here are some example expenses that are most likely to be forgotten.
Attending Weddings & Funerals
Medical and Dental Expenses
Whether or not these expenses are ongoing or one-off items, don’t forget to include them on your spreadsheet. There are some expenses here that you won’t be able to predict. For example, you never know when you will have car trouble, or will need to call an exterminator, or have a medical emergency.
These expenses can also vary depending on the year. For example, there’s always that phenomenon that happens where all your friends seem to get married within the same year. You’ll have expenses for formal wear, travel, gifts and much more (not to mention the cost of the bachelor and bachelorette parties!)
The best way to budget for these types of expenses is to create an emergency fund for them. For example, when it comes to home repairs, a good general guideline is to contribute 1% of the value of your home into the fund each year. For example, if your home cost €300,000, you should be saving €3,000 per year in your home repairs fund.
You can also create a savings fund for car repairs, depending on the age of your car and how often it tends to break down.
Keep in mind that a major emergency will be a much bigger deal than an occasional expense. Ideally, the goal should be to build up an emergency fund that can cover at least three to six months of living expenses. This will keep you going if you lose your job, become seriously injured, or face any other major setback.
Your Budget Should Be Flexible and Customizable
At this stage you’ve added enough information to your budget spreadsheet to be able to start using it. However, you’ll almost certainly need to make adjustments along the way.
Whenever an expense pops up that you hadn’t included in your spreadsheet, you can make a category for it and start recording it. Also, you want your budget to have enough flexibility to allow for spontaneous expenses, such as going on a trip at the last minute.
This is one of the major advantages of using a spreadsheet. You can start with a Google sheets budget template and then add or adjust the categories as necessary to suit your needs.
This way, you’ll be able to build a spreadsheet that is 100% suited to your complex, unique personal situation. Plus, you’ll be able to adjust it over time according to your needs. If you decide to add or eliminate a budget item, you’ll be able to do so with ease.
It takes time to customize your budget to the specific needs of your household. However, having a clear picture of your financial health will be completely worth the effort - and it will help you on your way to your financial goals!
Although we are not financial advisors, if you need any help with setting up your budget, feel free to reach out to the community at any time.