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I'm Looking for an Excel Household Expense Template
Old 10-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
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I'm Looking for an Excel Household Expense Template

I am going to track every penny we spend for the year 2014 in an Excel spreadsheet. I don't know where to start. Is there a template for an Excel household expense or budget spreadsheet around that people here like? I am a slow learner right now so I would prefer Excel as I have some experience with that already. I think I want to enter the expenditure and pick a column for it based on its category, right? Then add up the columns and show the totals in different ways. It seems trivial in concept but I don't know where to start. I am proficient enough in Excel to modify an existing spreadsheet to be the way I want it but I am having difficulty starting out.

I think I want a template file to get started. Then I would modify it to my way of thinking.

Thanks for any suggestions,
Mike D.
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Here is what I use...
Old 10-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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Here is what I use...

Its simple and easy to use. Hope it works for your needs.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Monthly Budget.xls (43.5 KB, 93 views)
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Hi Mike,

That is exactly what I did. I just Googled "excel budget template", "excel expenses worksheet" and "excel retirement budget" or some variation thereof and found one specifically for retirement on Microsoft's website, which I downloaded and adapted to suit my needs. Since I ERd I have been doing a monthly accounting of all spending. My worksheet is laid out differently to the one Vudu shared. It has a column for each month so you can see the whole year on one page. I also added columns for cumulative YTD spending and variance in each category, which will be helpful in planning next year's spending. I also added categories for taxes and debt repayment, which highlighted for me how important it is to reduce them!
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeD View Post
I am going to track every penny we spend for the year 2014 in an Excel spreadsheet.
Even if you get a spreadsheet template I would question your intent to track every penny you spend. Or if you are going to track every penny then you probably only need to do it for 2-3 months.

After tracking your spending closely for a few months you can then layout a spreadsheet that will capture the expenses that only occur periodically throughout the year (i.e. insurance bills, property taxes, holiday expenses).

I also recommend that you spend as much as possible on credit/debit cards so you have electronic records of most of your purchases.
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Old 10-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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Even if you get a spreadsheet template I would question your intent to track every penny you spend. Or if you are going to track every penny then you probably only need to do it for 2-3 months.
Well, if you don't LIKE doing it then you probably won't. But some of us like doing it and find it interesting to know where every cent goes. I have been tracking every cent I spend for the past two years, and my beloved has been doing the same for several more years. I guess we are numbers nerds.

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After tracking your spending closely for a few months you can then layout a spreadsheet that will capture the expenses that only occur periodically throughout the year (i.e. insurance bills, property taxes, holiday expenses).
I find it helpful to figure out two totals for each month: The actual amount I spent, and also that same amount but with a monthly average for taxes and insurance substituted for whatever I spent on taxes and insurance that month. The latter makes it easier to see how I am doing for the year, so far.
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Android app for cell phone
Old 10-15-2013, 04:50 PM   #6
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Android app for cell phone

The simplest, easiest way I found to keep track of expenses is with my cell phone as I always have it with me. If you have an android phone, go to the Google Play store and search for "pocket budget". It is a dirt simple, free expense and income tracking app. There are not a bunch of menus to go through, buttons to push or other annoyances. All you have to do is set up your expense and income categories and then just enter your transactions as you make them. It will even do separate budgets (joint, husband's / wife's personal account) and has a simple graphing capability where you can specify a date range and will show you how much money has been spent by category.

Where it really shines though, is that you are able to export a .csv file of your transactions that you can then email to yourself and open with Excel or whatever spreadsheet program that you use that you can then use to filter / sort / graph or whatever with the info.

I think a version of it is available for the Iphone as well, but I don't have any experience with it. I just love it. It is dirt simple and reliable.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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Fidelity has one that we used for years. This year we are going to use the free budgeting tool thru our bank - no more monthly data input!!!! The problem I had with excel is that I ended up spending the $ before I new how much I had left in the budget. With an automated tool linked to your CC and accounts your can be notified prior to an expense if your getting close to or over a budgeted item.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #8
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As a point of comparison to some of what's been shared here already, I do actually track every penny we spend in a pretty detailed spreadsheet that has a line item for every budget category we've established, about 40 in all, and have found it both helpful and reassuring that we really can pull this early retirement thing off.

I also add a note to each cell, showing the details behind the spend. For example, if I add a $50 debit to our Dining Out line, my note will show "$50 - Dinner at El Torito Grill." It's interesting to look back from time to time in order to re-evaluate whether we'd do it again, do it again differently, or not repeat it again ever.

I keep a worksheet tab for each budget year, which allows me to compare results looking back, and project results going forward. It took a good chunk of time to set the spreadsheet up initially, but now that it's done I spend perhaps 10 minutes a day keeping it up to date.

I populate the spreadsheet with a years worth of funds on January 1, line by line, and then spend against those funds over the ensuing 12 months. The last column on the right shows "Amount Remaining" for each line item, which provides a powerful incentive to remain on track.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by RetiredAndFree View Post
I also add a note to each cell, showing the details behind the spend. For example, if I add a $50 debit to our Dining Out line, my note will show "$50 - Dinner at El Torito Grill." It's interesting to look back from time to time in order to re-evaluate whether we'd do it again, do it again differently, or not repeat it again ever.
The Add Comments feature is ideal for this. Just move the cursor over the cell to see the comment. Particularly useful for differentiating once-off from recurring expenses.

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I keep a worksheet tab for each budget year, which allows me to compare results looking back, and project results going forward. It took a good chunk of time to set the spreadsheet up initially, but now that it's done I spend perhaps 10 minutes a day keeping it up to date.
This is how I organize NW spreadsheets too. I am in year 1 of the budget. Over the year my spreadsheet has evolved as I tweaked it to help answer my questions, such as "what are my basic lifestyle expenses excluding taxes, savings and debt repayment?".

Another trick I do is to populate every month with the recurring items. For example, I know what my monthly condo fees will be (unless there is an increase) and I know what tax installments I will have to pay every three months.

Below the spreadsheet I have set up a Notes section. For each month I have a commentary, e.g. "Don't forget to send Revenue Canada a check for $X before December 15" or "Airfare and accommodation for December vacation already paid".

At year end I will just copy the spreadsheet to a new tab, label it 2014, adjust the total amount budgeted in each category based on experience and expected inflation, and delete all other numbers (but not formulas). Then it's good to go. I do not open it daily. Instead I save all receipts in a Ziplok bag, and on the first of the month, I print off my bank statement and credit card statement for the previous month. I do all the entries at that time and shred the statements and receipts (unless needed for warranties). Data entry takes about 20 minutes and analysis as long as you want!

I do not download Visa statements directly into a spreadsheet as I find that their assignment of spending categories does not match mine.

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Originally Posted by RetiredAndFree View Post
I populate the spreadsheet with a years worth of funds on January 1, line by line, and then spend against those funds over the ensuing 12 months. The last column on the right shows "Amount Remaining" for each line item, which provides a powerful incentive to remain on track.
I do something similar but I call the amount remaining the Variance. I also have a column that indicates whether I expected a positive or negative variance. It is interesting to compare observed versus expected spending. For the most part it has been within the ballpark, but entertainment, clothing, gifts, groceries and healthcare all have positive variances while travel will have a negative variance by the end of the year (I cut my original travel budget by $2000 but my original instinct was correct).
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