# How To Make A Budget Spreadsheet That Makes Budgeting Fun!

Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for my third post here on the new CNA Finance. On the old CNA, I wrote a whale post about how to make a budgeting spreadsheet, and readers seemed to love it. It was the most shared post in my website’s history through social channels. It was awesome!

The only problem was that I used hypothetical scenarios to make the post. When I actually made my own spreadsheet, I realized that I needed to include much more data, simplify the process of accessing that data, and make it fun! So, I’ve decided to start from scratch!

The truth is, I haven’t made the new budget spreadsheet yet. This time, I figured I’d use my personal data and, document the process to let you, my readers, in on the entire process step by step. So, without further ado, let’s get started…

## Time To Make The Spreadsheet

If you would like to see any of the pictures up close, click on it and it will open a blown up version in a new tab for you!

Step #1 – Decide Which Program To Use – When it comes to spreadsheets, there are 3 sources that seem to work out best for me. They’re Google Drive (which I’ll be using for this tutorial), Microsoft Excel. and OpenOffice.org Calc. All you need to do is choose the one that you feel most comfortable using. Because I like to be able to access my files everywhere, I often use Google Drive and, it’s going to be my choice for this sheet.

Step #4 – Title Your Cells As I said above, I haven’t made the spreadsheet so I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to include in it. That being said, lets start by making sure we include all monthly bills. We are going to want to add titles to an area of the spreadsheet for this. So, starting in Row 1, Cell A, let’s create title cells to track our bills. In Cell A:1, type in “Payable To”, in cell B:1, type in “Amount Due”, in cell C:1, type in “Pay To Address”, and in cell D:1, type in “Due Date”. If you’ve got it correctly, your spreadsheet should look like the image to the left. Don’t worry, I know it looks a little bland now. We’ll be adding tons of data and color to the spreadsheet in the upcoming steps!

Step #5 – Updating Your Monthly Bill Information – Now, add in

any monthly bill making sure to include all information about that bill that is requested. With regard to the pay to address, you can amend that by placing in Pay by Pone, Pay by Email, ect… You can also add in the website you pay that bill at. No matter how you decide to pay your bill, just make sure that there is a reminder there that shows you what you need to do when it comes time to pay. Also, don’t trust yourself when filling out this page. You want to make sure to go grab your statements. This way, you’re sure of how much money you will need to send to the monthly bill and more importantly that you’ve added all of your monthly bills to the sheet. There are few things more disheartening in budgeting than when you realize that you’ve forgotten a bill and have to move things around to account for it.

Now, don’t stop there. Title cell colors are good but, you want to be able to quickly see the information you need. Color can help with this. Highlight the cells below the titles and choose a couple different shades of your main color to make clear lines of data. When you’re done, your sheet should look like the one in the picture with the colors that you’ve chosen.

Step #7 – Adding A Total To Your Monthly Bills It’s definitely cool to know what monthly bills you have to pay, how much money the bills are individually, who they need to be paid to and when by, but we’re missing one thing. A very useful piece of information that’s missing here is the total amount owed monthly! Underneath your final monthly bill, in the “Payable To” cell, type “Total”. In the cell directly to the right of it, type “=sum(“, click on the first amount due, drag your mouse to the last amount due, and type this symbol, “)”. If you’ve done this right, your cell should look like the one in the image to the left. If so, hit “Enter” on your keyboard and walla, you’ve got a monthly bills total! When you’ve got your total, use what you learned in step \$6 to add color to this data and make it easier for your eyes to target

Step #8 – Add An Area For Tracking Income Into Your Spreadsheet – Tracking your income is a very important part of budgeting. Many people have more than one source of income and, without proper tracking may not know how much money they have available to allocate to their monthly necessities. That being said, leaving one blank cell to the right of your monthly bills section of your spreadsheet, starting in cell F:1, type Income source. Now in G:1 type Net Income Amount. Now, start to list your income sources. For instance, my

income sources are my salary and my blog. Well, my blog isn’t making any money right now but, I anticipate that it will some time in the near future. So, for the total income for my blog, I put 0 and I will update that when I start to get some money in. Now. Below your income sources, type “Total” and using the “=Sum(” trick from step #7, add up your total monthly net income. When you’re done add a bit of color and let’s move on to the next step.

Step #9 – Adding Miscellaneous Monthly Expenses – The fact that you don’t get a bill in the mail for monthly food costs doesn’t mean that you don’t pay for food throughout the month. There are a few expenses that the average household has that they don’t necessarily get a bill for. Let’s take a minute to add those in. To do so, skip one cell below the “Total Income” cell and type in “Random Expense”. In the cell directly to the right, type in “Total Cost”. Now, fill out the cells below. For my random expenses, I have food which is a total of \$400 per month and gas which is a total of \$255 per month. Below the last expense, type “Total”. In the cell to the right of total, use the “Sum” trick I showed you earlier to total it up. Now of course we’ve gotta add a bit of color and, we’re off to the next step. Of course if you want a good size example of what it should look like when you’re done, click the image to the left!

Question #1- Is it best to use a budget spreadsheet or an online service like Mint.com?

Answer – That really depends on what you are comfortable with. Although, I think Mint is a great service as you can see in my review of them over at Modest Money. some people aren’t comfortable with keeping financial information online. As far as capabilities go, services like Mint.com are usually much better than spreadsheets. However, actually using online services depends on how comfortable you are with that information being online.

Question #2 – What information should a budget spreadsheet contain?

Answer – A good budget spreadsheet should contain any information you would need with regard to your financial life. For instance, it should be able to track monthly spending, monthly bills, income, savings, investments and more. If it’s got to do with your overall financial picture, it should be in your spreadsheet.

Question #3 – What Is The Best Service Available For Making Spreadsheets?

Answer – There really is no clear cut and dry answer to this question. The truth is, the program that you use is all left up to use preference. I personally love Google Drive but, you may have the same feelings about OpenOffice.org Calc or Microsoft Excel .

## Great Budgeting Resources

Mint – Found at Mint.com. Mint is an online software that does an incredible job of tracking just about every detail of your personal finance portfolio. They help make budgeting recommendations, track investments and more!