Do you often feel that money disappears from your account? Leaving you wondering where and how you spent that money or would you like to save an extra £100 per month for something special? Often we spend our money on things that seem trivial, but when added up it amounts to a substantial monthly cost. For instance, buying a cup of coffee or tea at the station every week day, may not seem expensive when it is only £3. However, on a monthly bases this will accumulate to a total of £60. Taking a thermos could save you a lot of money.
Achieving a budget surplus at the end of the month means you don’t have to borrow any money to tie you over until the end of the month. It starts by planning your income and expenses. It is important if you really want to change your expenditures, you follow a pattern of logging your daily and weekly costs. While doing so reflecting on your income and expenditures. This requires willpower but can be very rewarding. We created a budget planner in excel that is easy to download and log your expenses in.
Below is an explanation of the budget planner and how to use it, register for The Budget Club (Facebook group). You can leave any questions, queries or suggestions in this group.
Interested in how the budget planner works? Check out the video!
Step 1, Download our budget planner
- If you are using Excel then use the button that contains the Excel planner.
- Do you not have Excel? Then use the button that states to contain the Google Spreadsheet, to look at the web version of the planner. You do require a Google account for this, if you do not have an account then you must first sign up with Google.
Once you have access to a Google account and are able to use the web version of the planner. You will see at the top left corner in the menu bar “file”, when pressing this you are able to make a copy of the budget planner.
Once you have filled in the budget planner, it should look like the following image:
Step 2, log the date
Log the date you before you start using the budget planner. This is done through the tab of “Income and expenses” You only need to enter the month and the year. For example 11-2017.
Step 3, Chart your income of the previous month
This should not be too difficult, as nearly everyone uses internet banking, allowing you to oversee your income and expenses of the previous month. Open the website of your bank, go to advanced search and select income of the previous month. Giving you an overview of your cash inflow.
If you receive any cash in hand, make sure you log this in the budget planner. If you cannot remember how you received this cash in hand, then in the future note this down as soon as possible in your budget planner.
Next go to the tab “Specified income”. Log your income with the date in the appropriate category. There is space to add a note when necessary, we categorised our budget planner accordingly:
- Income (including a second job income)
- Benefits (Universal credit or other benefits)
- Bonuses and compensation (Received from employment)
- Additional income
If you have any additional or other income categories, then add these accordingly. The names of these groups can be adjusted in the tab “Income and expenses”.
Attention: If you are using the Google Spreadsheet you cannot alter the category names by standing in the cell and start typing. As a result the hyperlink will disappear. The correct way of altering the name of a cell, is by using the second part of the formula, between the quotation marks (“ ”)
When using the budget planner for the first time make sure you log all your income for the first month. If you only log in half a month, your average will be skewed, giving you only a partial overview and an incorrect average.
Step 4, Logging your expenses of the previous month
As explained previously, open the website of your bank and log onto your account. Instead of selecting “income” you now choose “expenses”. This will give you an overview of your expenses.
If you also spend cash, don’t forget to log this in the budget planner. If you are not sure of when and how you spent your money, make sure to make a note of this in the future as soon as possible in the budget planner. It is also possible to create a category for cash in hand.
Select the tab “Specified expenses”. Fill in your expenses according to date and category, there is space for any additional notes. We categorised our budget planner accordingly:
- Essential expenses (Rent, Utilities, etc.)
- Trips and holidays
- Entertainment (Restaurants, Cinema, etc.)
- Commitments (Subscriptions, etc.)
- Care products
- Additional expenses
If you have any additional or other expense categories, then add these accordingly. The names of these groups can be adjusted in the tab “Income and expenses”.
Attention: If you are using the Google Spreadsheet you cannot alter the category names by standing in the cell and start typing. As a result the hyperlink will disappear. The correct way of altering the name of a cell is by using the second part of the formula, between the quotation marks (“ ”).
When using the budget planner for the first time make sure you log all your expenses for the previous month. If you only log in half a month, your average will be skewed. Giving you only a partial overview and an incorrect average.
Step 5, set a goal per category
- Consider what would be your saving goal. For instance, if you want to save a £100 per month, then how could you achieve that?
- Consider from which expenses category you could reduce your spending. Add your goal per category in the blue cells in the tab “Income and expenses”.
Do not be too optimistic as unachievable goals can be demotivating.
Review your plan step by step, you will notice the green column shows any surplus per category.
Step 6, Evaluation
By logging your expenses you will have a good idea where your money is spent, you will be amazed by the accumulated costs per month. A short daily bus journey may cost you £2. However, per month this will add up to £60. Save money by for instance buying a weekly ticket rather than daily, or even using the bike.
After logging your expenses for the first month, consider where and how you could reduce your expenses. Reflect on the categories and the best way to save money for each but also consider whether you are saving enough. In the tab “Expenses graph”. You can easily see the accumulated expenses decrease over time, from the moment you started budget planning.
In our article How to save Money? you will find 101 useful tips that will help you achieve your goals.
Step 7, consider how often you use the budget planner
You must consider yourself how often you will log your income and expenses as well as how you will evaluate this. You could do this daily, weekly or twice a month. We recommend that you should use the budget planner at least several times a month. By doing this, you can budget any surplus to cover additional costs in the present month. Allowing you to take steps to avoid going into arrears.
General information about the budget planner
When opening the budget planner, it is noticeable that the file is rather large. To allow for user friendliness, when navigating through the planner the buttons and links on the left will redirect you to a different tabs and cells. In the tab “Income and expenses” you can click on the blue hyperlink in the category income and expenses to locate the appropriate named category. In the tab “Specified income” and “Specified expenses” you can jump from left to right by clicking the yellow buttons, as depicted below.
When you are logging information into your budget planner for this month in Excel or Google Spreadsheets, the amount will be automatically calculated for you.
The average will be calculated from the first month onwards, up to the present month (the present month is not included in the calculation).
Having used your budget planner for a period of time and you do receive a new source of income or change in expenses, you will not have worry that this would change your monthly average.
Extra, making your own adjustments
To ensure you do not accidently delete any formulas, we have locked all formulas within the spreadsheets. This means that you can’t adjust the actual calculations, only the figures such as your income and expenses. If you are familiar with Excel and would like to make adjustments then you are free to do so. The password to change the formulas is: voucheralarm.com
You can do this by going to the menu in Excel and select remove the security by using the password provided. Next to this is the sheet with all the formulas hidden. This sheet can be viewed by going to “home” in the menu and then click on format which will show “Hidden and Unhide”.
If you find this budget planner useful, share it with your friends and family. Together we can make sure that everyone is saving money.