Reader Lyn sent us a budget system he drafted that has worked well for his household, as well as friends and family.
His Excel sheet has two pay periods for each month and is pre-set up for two people. First, enter both paychecks into the column B. Then, put expenses in their respective categories. Make sure to change the tax formula (line 37) to reflect your income bracket.
The formulas then tabulate how much money you have left over. You can plug and play with the numbers to see the effect adjusting various expenses, like getting rid of cable, can have on your budget. By adding in additional items, you could even set budget goals for different discretionary categories, like movies, music, binge drinking, etc.
It’s nothing fancy, but for a household trying to get a handle on their cash flow, Lyn’s spreadsheet could be a great starting point for building a personal family budget system.