Welcome back, this is my final post in the budgeting series. For a step by step process to create your Excel based budget please read all posts in this series under the budgeting category on the right toolbar. Now that you’ve worked through the exercises in Jump your mental hurdle, Getting a grip and I spend HOW MUCH on coffee?? you should now have a functional budget, that looks something like this:
- Budget Example – See detailed instructions in prior posts
On a weekly basis I suggest that you spend a few minutes updating your budget, starting with the check ledger. This is the section on the far left that we created in Jump your mental hurdle. Input all of your income and expenses in the increases/decreases columns. The formula will calculate your ending bank balance. You should always be able to reconcile the balance to your bank account. To make life a little easier I suggest that you automate as many of your monthly payments that you can. You can then simply use your online banking website to enter your banking activity.
Once your check ledger is updated and balanced for the week link your actual expenses to the budgeted amounts in the middle column. These are the amounts that are roughly the same each month. Getting a grip.
The final step is to link all of your variable (any expense not included in the section above) to the variable expense column. Every item in your check register has to be linked to one of these two sections. I spend HOW MUCH on coffee??
Your budget is self balancing, so once you’ve completed the steps above you’re done!
A few tips:
- When you’re deciding on your budgeted variable expense total, make sure that you set the amount a little lower than you think you can achieve. This is likely the first area that you want to work on improving. You’ll probably go over at first… But the more you become aware of your spending habits the easier it becomes. View it as a challenge not a restriction. For example, I clip coupons to save money at the grocery store so that I have more room in the budget for eating out. It’s a FUN budgeting game!
- Stay on top of it, once you fall behind on maintaining your budget it gets MUCH harder to get back to it. Create a routine, Sunday morning I pour a cup of coffee, lock myself in the office away from the family and spend 15 minutes drinking coffee, listening to 80’s rap and updating my budget. Daddy time!
- IT’S NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK. It might look daunting at first. Once it becomes routine it literally takes a few minutes each week.
- SIMPLIFY, automate your payments. Use one account for all of your household expenses. Use online banking, etc… This too becomes a fun challenge, how many ways can I simplify my finances.
- Ask me questions, feel free to write me at Financeprollc@gmail.com if you have questions.
Let me know how it’s going, include comments below.