Creating Budgeting Worksheets that Work

Creating Budgeting Worksheets that Work

Setting up a budgeting worksheet isn’t a hard chore. In fact, if you like using spreadsheets it can actually become quite enjoyable.

The beauty of a budgeting worksheet is that you can see all your numbers at a quick glance in an easy to read format. It’s instantly editable so changes can be made on the run and will save considerably on white-out. And perhaps the best feature, is that you can always keep a history of your transactions (depending on your hard-drive space).

I’m a fan of MS Excel – my apologies for those who have issues with Microsoft – because I find its powerful calculations are easy to manipulate to help me better understand my finances. It doesn’t really matter though which spreadsheeting package you use so long as you are able to calculate your amounts effectively.

There are commercial budgeting worksheets available but if you want to create your own its a simple process.

I’ve found that when creating a budgeting worksheet the best way to start is with a set up like this;


  1. Firstly, place your pay dates along the top (shown from A1 to G1). These can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly or any period that you normally work from.
  2. Then list out each income source and the amounts you receive from them. For irregular payments such as Christmas bonuses etc set up a row specifically for this and maybe name it “Other Income”.
  3. Your next task is to identify all your expense areas whether they’re irregular or not. Set up two columns for each pay period (as shown below); IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE HERE The first column called “Bdgt” is the portion of your income that each expense area will be assigned. The total of this column should never exceed the income you receive for that period. The second column “Used” shows a negative amount and is a record of what has been spent from that period. The beauty of this system is that it will always give you a running balance.

  4. This column is where this system stands out. It is just a simple SUM(B13:G13) formula which picks up the totals of every expended amount and subtracts it from the total of each budgeted amount. It then shows how much you should have available in each expense area. IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE HERE For example, you will notice that each income period $25 has been going into the electricity account. Your electricity bill is charged every 60 days so you need to accumulate these funds for when the bill arrives. This account is now showing a total of $75 held.
  5. Finally, you need to total that last column so that you can reconcile it with your bank account. IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE HERE This amount should always equal your bank account precisely. If it is then you’re doing well.If it doesn’t then you know you’ve missed some source of income or some expenses haven’t been included in the “Used” column yet.