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Our Excel planning worksheet – a gift for you!

Happy Holidays y’all!

Recently, I’ve had a few new readers ask for my Excel file that I love to write about. Now – I’ve already got my investment planning worksheet here, so today I’m giving you all my budgeting spreadsheet – just in time for some new year planning with your family.

First off – here is the link to download my budgeting spreadsheet right here —  ssc_budget2015_web

OK, now for the nitty gritty. Obviously, I have simplified this from the spaghetti mess that my real spreadsheet is, but this should give you a great starting point.

First tab – PLAN GOALS
These are our financial rules and goals. Some of these we set years ago… like “Allowances are important – adjust as needed”.   We have rules regarding how our bonuses are spent & saved.  This just helps us be on the same page.  Our savings goals we have adjusted through time.  For instance – our retirement goal was 2.5 million – yeah, we’ve cut that in half, mostly through understanding our needs and risk tolerance.  This tab is just a place to record what you and your family thinks is important.  You can reference it when you and your spouse get in a fight about what to do with that unexpected bonus you get!


Second Tab – 2016 BUDGET PLANNING
The fun stuff. This is where you sit down with your loved one(s) and think about the year ahead. A glass of wine may help.  Since we have been tracking for a while, these numbers are easy for us.  For those of you who have no idea what you spend – well, you may want to track for a few months to get a baseline, maybe use a cool tracking tool like Mint – that’s my favorite.

If you fill in your Monthly Income & Costs – the spreadsheet will populate your yearly expenses. There is also a place to add in any one-time costs  for 2016 – like vacations, HOA fees, house repair/upgrades.  You will likely find you will have to edit the text and add categories to represent what your family spends money on.


You can play with the “invest goal” green box, to try and zero our your leftover money in the blue box.

Column E is a great place to start thinking about your monthly FIRE costs. We’ve talked before about how we expect our costs to go down when we ‘retire’.  So, here you can fiddle around and start thinking of how your budget may change in the future… if its less than you spend now then that is less you have to save to be financially independent!

OK, I like to record our balances so I can watch them go up. I know Personal Capital will do this for me, but this way I can watch the numbers move up and see how it relates to our goal.


Also – in this tab I like to keep track of how much we are saving each month – this is from Column O and onwards. It seems more tangible when you can see the numbers grow and add up. Put your yearly savings goal in P1… the 2016 BUDGET PLANNING tab should help you calculate this.

Fourth Tab- 2016 BUDGET TRACKING
The fun nitty gritty. Here is where you will input your monthly costs throughout the year.  Again, you will have to edit text to better represent your family’s categories.  I don’t like to have too many categories because it makes tracking a pain in my rear. I’m more of a lumper than a splitter.  This is where I use   Tracking these numbers may be a pain – but it will be worth it. Knowing what you really spend is critical in understanding what you need to be financially free.  Plus, looking at this every month will help you see patterns, or realize if spending in one category is getting out of control (our weakness is groceries).   Whatever is “leftover” at the bottom should be what you are investing each month.


So – plan a date with your loved ones and fill out your PLAN GOALS and 2016 BUDGET PLANNING. Then, my advice would be to put a monthly reminder on your calendar – I prefer the 1st Monday of each month – and it should only take you an hour to populate your BALANCES MONTHLY and 2016 BUDGET TRACKING tabs.  Easy peasy.  Let me know if you have questions!!!

Oh – and because I get all paranoid – remember, I’m not a financial person. I’m just a regular person who wants more freedom in her life , so while I don’t think there are any errors in the spreadsheet, there may be.  Let me know if you find any and I will fix them up!

Happy Holidays!!!!!!

14 thoughts on “Our Excel planning worksheet – a gift for you!

  1. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    Awesome! Thanks for the spreadsheet. Being a bit of a spreadsheet nerd, I love seeing the tools other people use to plan! I’ll have to check this out to see if there are things I can add to mine because I’m always trying to evolve it ?

  2. Fervent Finance

    Happy Holidays! I try not to run a spreadsheet tracking a budget for every expense because I feel I spend too much time as it is reading and writing about financial independence, on Personal Capital, and if I tracked where every single dollar went, it would be overkill since i have a plan and stick to it. But I think I’ve decided to track things better in 2016. I hit exceeded my savings goals for 2015 and spent less than I projected, and that was with not tracking expenses, so maybe if I put in the effort in 2016, I’ll exceed my expectations even more! Nice workbook.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Yeah, I get where you are coming from. I lump stuff together too (ie shopping). I’ve got better things to do to track every dollar, but it is nice to have a general sense of where every dollar goes.

  3. Dottie

    Thank you for sharing!
    This may not be the place to comment, but in my experience with 2 boys in college, I believe 1) You will need more than $240/yr for kids clothes and supplies, even shopping in the upcycle places like Goodwill. I laughed when someone said when my children were young, “wait until you pay over $100 for shoes”. Yep it happens and one of mine wears a size 15; 2) I find that folks may have monthly HOA fees that I don’t have currently in my community. This would be especially true in over 55 communities, and other large developments. 3) If you don’t have HOA fees, you may want to up the House, Misc. line to account for roof, windows, HVAC, repairs, etc. 4) Your car insurance may double when your children start driving; and lastly 5) I don’t see a “kids extracurricular” line that may accommodate such things as scouts, sports, dance, music, etc.. and all the supplies and outfits that go with those extra things outside the classroom. If you want to know what we spent in travel baseball, PM me! No, don’t. ( We counted baseball travel those summers as mini vacations.)

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Thanks for the info on kids. For age 12 and up I have budgeted I think $200/kid/month for food, clothes, activities. I am hoping that covers most of it. That doesn’t show up in this spreadsheet since it is a few years down the road. I also increase medical at a certain age… so those costs get added on on top of our base ~$55k.

  4. Our Next Life

    We have spent years refining our own spreadsheets, and have never really seen anyone else’s, since most of us have sort of been wandering in the wilderness before we found each other here on the blogosphere. 🙂 But I LOVE seeing yours! Thank you for sharing it. I want to take a closer look and see if there is anything we want to “borrow” from you.

    Hope you guys are having wonderful holidays!

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Thanks! We are having a wonderful holiday! I think so many of us use spreadsheets – and it is fun to look at other people’s since we all tend to think and calculate a little bit differently. I mean, our main concern is what will be spend raising kids when we are FI and how can we calculate that number the best so that we can calculate our FI number. Other peoples is how frugally they can live, or how to get out of debt… we all have hte same goal, but since we focus on different aspects, I think that shows up in how we track and budget.

  5. Hannah

    I once spent hours on a spreadsheet complete with VBA and macro updating, and Rob told me he liked the old one better. Cest La Vie or whatever the french say.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      That is funny. I have yet to incorporate VBA into any of them yet – I try to keep them somewhat simple. I think because my husband is always questioning my numbers… sometimes he still questions my numbers. I think the idea of FI still sometimes boggles his brain.

  6. Prudence Debtfree

    I would not call you a “regular” person. You are highly organized, detailed, and clear with regards to your FIRE goal and how you plan to get there. I’m struck by the fact that you only have monthly budget meetings. We’ve been trying to operate with weekly meetings – but we rarely go through a month in which we actually do meet weekly. Perhaps a monthly meeting is a more attainable goal. All the best in 2016 in making your way to that $1.3 million!

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Thanks! We try not to discuss finances too much because we don’t want it to be the focus in our life, so monthly works best for us 🙂 Happy New Year!

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