Download Our Free Easy Excel Budget Spreadsheet

Back by popular demand after the file on our server got messed up, it’s Consumerist’s easy excel budget spreadsheet! It lets you track your cash flow and expenses, and plan for upcoming purchases and bills. Use it properly and you’ll never overdraft again.

Right-click here to save it to your computer. Here’s the instructions on how to use it.

Do you use an Excel-based system to track your finances? Share your tips, and tumbles to watch out for, in the comments.

Consumerist’s 9-Step Beginner’s Budget

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DangerP’s Sweet Excel Budget Spreadsheet (With Debt Snowball)

Comments

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  1. obits3 says:

    I use Excel to budget and here is how it works:

    Start with sum of all Bank accounts.
    Less Current CC Balance.
    Less outstanding Checks.
    Equals net cash Available.

    Add: Expected Paychecks until the end of the year.
    Less: Expected expenses (like car payments, daily spending, etc…)
    Equals amount of cash I should have at the end of the year.

    • obits3 says:

      Notes: the formula I use for Paychecks is net paycheck (what goes in the bank) X the number of pay periods left. As I get paychecks and deposit them, I decrease the number of pay periods. In the same way, for car payments (or any other recurring expense) the formula is average expense X the number of periods left in the year. As I make a payments (and real cash is withdrawn), I also decrease the periods. If you do it right, then your “ending cash” should not change that much throughout the year.

  2. Harmodios says:

    There is no free lunch!

  3. Necoras says:

    Mint.

    • obits3 says:

      Linux?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I like Mint alot, but they do not support very many credit unions.

    • Kitty Conner says:

      Mint is lovely but doesn’t track upcoming, recurring transactions.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      Mint is great for tracking past spending, however:

      1. it doesn’t track upcoming and recurring transactions
      2. it has terrible customer service
      3. it’s very buggy
      4. it doesn’t support a good number of financial institutions
      5. it promised a lot of items to former Quicken Online users that it never delivered on

    • Macgyver says:

      What if Mint gets hacked.
      They spend all your money.
      Mint is not FDIC insured, so you will be responsible for all the charges.
      And giving a third party you username and password is not safe.

      • dangerp says:

        I’m not even sure where to start with this. Of course Mint.com isn’t FDIC insured, because they are not a bank and you don’t store any money with them. FDIC insured means that if a bank goes under, you don’t lose your money. It has nothing to do with theft or fraud.

        You would be ‘responsible’ for the charges the same way that you would if someone stole your debit card. Same protections (or lack thereof, depending on your bank) apply.

        ‘What if Mint got hacked’ applies likewise to your banking institutions, or anywhere else you conduct sensitive business online. However, if my understanding is correct, Mint.com has a read-only interface, and cannot spend your money even if they wanted to.

        The part about not giving out your username and passwords is a legitimate concern. It appears that they are stored as a non-reversible hash, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies. I decided to use Mint because found that the benefits are great, and the risk is minimal.

  4. mr91mr says:

    I prefer and highly recommend mint.com

  5. Bativac says:

    I feel old-fashioned but I still use pencil and paper…

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      Same here. A quick stroll through B of A’s “My Portfolio” which tracks all my accounts, checking, savings, cc’s, retirement, etc., a glance over my current and previous months debit and cc statement, a peek in the wallet for current cash on hand, and a couple of sheets of paper to estimate what I will need for the next month. May sound complicated but fairly easy. I also have a cute little budget guide I created for a co-worker to get her back on track that I glance over to make sure I stay on track. So far, so good.

    • Macgyver says:

      I used to use pen & paper also, then a couple months ago I’ve found some spreadsheets on here http://chandoo.org/wp/ and that makes it a lot easier to see your debt, your budget, your net worth, etc. all at a quick glance.

  6. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Or, Intuit could just resurrect Quicken Online and get rid of the ridiculously buggy, poorly serviced, and non-financial planning software Mint.

  7. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Try Mint.com. That’s even easier.

  8. Design3r says:

    I have created a serious Excel Spreadsheet for monthly budgeting. It does have some programming in it with macros to hide unused cells and some error checking. We do run the Dave Ramsey allocated spending plan and the second sheet allows you to allocate your spending as well as an area for calculating funds required for the envelope system. If anyone is interested in looking at it let me know.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      I’d like to see it. I use a bastardized version of the Dave Ramsey allocated spending sheet since we have both regular and irregular income. I use Excel but my setup isn’t very sophisticated, so I’d be interested in seeing what you’ve put together.

  9. aboxoflogic says:

    Who the hell pays $400 for rent? (Look at the article’s photo)

    • earthprince says:

      I have friends in CT that pay less than that. It boggles my mind.

    • 12345678nine says:

      Lots of places around here are 800, so if you had a roommate your rent would be 400.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I pay around that for my ~$70k mortgage. I’ve also never paid more than $400 a month in rent (I’ve always had roommates).

    • Dethzilla says:

      People with limited incomes, or living a frugal lifestyle, or people who feel guilty about doing anything good for themselves/Suzy Orman Fans.

  10. shopalooza says:

    I use a spreadsheet using GoogleDocs and “My Portfolio” from Bank of America

  11. AllanG54 says:

    Or…just balance your checkbook and plan for some unexpected expenses along the way because everything is not cut and dried.

  12. earthprince says:

    I tried this out a while ago – and it was helpful. I planned all my expenses out, with room for extra and buffers for more. Gave me a strong idea as to what I had to work with. Can’t bring myself to update it monthly (or weekly, even) because I just don’t feel like it. Luckily I can do that for now since I have a single/small income and few/small bills. When unexpected things do come up, I always have in the back of my mind a strong estimate of what I have available to work with.

  13. jedifarfy says:

    I use Mint to track my overall info, though I have an excel spreadsheet for my credit cards (and now my cell phone). I use this to know my debt, indicate minimum payment, what I will be paying, due date, and paycheck with which I will pay. I use Mint to track mostly my checking and see what categories I’m spending too much money.

  14. Scurvythepirate says:

    Savings is spelled Saviings in the excel file. FYI

  15. dangerp says:

    I have a spreadsheet that I built to track my monthly budget. It is mostly designed around a personal finance model that is automated. For example, I keep all of my day to day spending and other fluctuating budgets on a credit card that gets paid off monthly. The credit card and everything else is paid out of a checking account with direct deposit. All bills are on autopay (including the credit card), with very few exceptions. This allows me to determine with very high precision the amount of money that will be in the checking account at any given time.

    I’ve made a version of my excel sheet public. Please copy it and customize it for your own use, and send me feedback. Yes, these are my personal finances (for the most part). I feel like being honest to others about my finances helps me stay accountable to myself.

    The last two tabs are for tracking debt, using the snowball method. Very formula heavy. Note that not every institution calculates interest the same way, so there may be some slight differences in your own results, but it is helpful for setting goals.

    Here it is, be sure to let me know if you have comments/questions! You can reach me on google talk using the above username @gmail.com. If you would like to improve the spreadsheet, let me know and I’ll give you access.

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AgLZEdoG5zHtdDRBamZJTjliVGkyTUc2NW1Xc3Vwb0E&hl=en&authkey=CPeEuIYB

  16. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Thanks for this, Consumerist. I was just trying to make one this weekend to track expenses so I could figure out how much more extra money I need to make to cover everything. This is exactly what I need.

  17. Mommy.Ishtar says:

    I haven’t used this, so I cannot comment on it specifically, but I can comment on the concept. 3.5 years ago I created a spreadsheet through Open Office that is pretty much identical to this, judging by the photo. There are several columns: date, credits, several columns for debits, daily totals and running total for the entire period. For descriptions, I just use the ‘note’ function. With mine, I just have one row per day, with all the above mentioned columns available for each day. This way you can see your individual transactions as well as a daily total and running overall total. Anyway – despite the differences, the concept is the same, and I know that having my spreadsheet has helped me tremendously over the last few years. So I would highly recommend giving this a try, or if you’re handy with a computer, make your own. Much better than pen & paper!

  18. damageinc says:
  19. Gromble says:

    This spreadsheet would be nice if I got paid monthly and on the same day each month (like Jan 1st, Feb 1st, etc), but I get paid bi-weekly (every other Friday, specifically) and the date number changes from month to month so it looks more like Jan 7th, Jan 21st, Feb 4th, Feb 18, etc.

    • UncleAl says:

      There’s a simple technique you can use to make this spreadsheet work regardless of your pay dates, though it takes some saving to get started — use this month’s paychecks for next month’s budget. From a budgetary perspective, you then get your paycheck for each month on the 1st.