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!
Third tab – BALANCES MONTHLY
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 Mint.com. 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!