Being broke and struggling to pay bills is not a welcome feeling. Putting a budget chart together is necessary in these tough financial times.
You need it to help you keep track of our expenses, curb unnecessary expenses and pay bills.
Whether you use a computer program or an old-fashioned poster board to create your budget chart, it is addictive. It gives you a sense of pride to see your earnings accumulate. The most satisfying part about creating a budget chart is to see your income increase and spending, decrease.
Those who are not familiar with creating budget charts will find these pointers on using Microsoft Excel useful. The less computer savvy may want tips for putting a simple household chart together on a poster board.
Creating Budget Charts with Excel
Microsoft Excel is a convenient tool for throwing a basic budget chart together. It makes keeping track of expenses easier. Monitoring earnings and savings is less daunting too.
Simple formulas will help you cut expenses and prompt you to save the money instead.
a. Keeping Track of Expenses
This tutorial allows you to track your expenses. It works on any Excel spreadsheet.
Before creating it, however, note your income and expenditure for one or two months. Gather this data for your spreadsheet.
- To start, open a new spreadsheet using the Microsoft Excel program.
- In the first row, type in what you want to track (eg. Earnings, Expenditure and Savings), using one word per column.
- Under the first label, eg. Earnings, select the formula area and type =sum(A2:A30)”.
- Do the same for the other columns eg. For Expenditure and Savings, type “=sum(B2:B30) and “=sum(C2:C30).
This basic formula generates the total of each column. You may add dates for each row, but it is easier to use their default values.
Delete unnecessary rows to make the budgeting process less confusing.
If the spreadsheet has 300 rows, delete 268 so that there are 32 left, one for each day of the month. Each month has 30 or 31 days, so leave the last row to type in your total earnings, expenses and savings for the month.
A benefit of using excel is that each time you add new information, these totals update automatically. You do not need to recalculate everything.
Besides automatic updates, excel programs are compatible with most computers and mobile devices. Excel also has a range of helpful data analysis functions.
b. Monitoring Spending and Saving
One of them is monitoring percentages. The formula above generates totals for different rows. But what if you need information on the percentage of income you save?
This formula will help you check the percentage of income you put aside.
- In the formula area of your spreadsheet, type “=sum(A32/B32), assuming that you have keyed in the total of your earnings in A32 and the total of your expenses in B32. You may have typed the totals in other columns.
- Then, right click on the percentage label.
- From the drop down list of formatting options, choose to format the cell as a percentage.
Viola! You have put together a simple, functional spreadsheet for Excel.
Creating a budget chart using a poster board
If you are not Excel savvy, a poster board will serve the purposes of monitoring expenditure and income.
- To begin, write your major financial goals at the bottom of your poster board. Use a fine point marker to prevent fading and loss of information.
- Next, divide the board into rows and columns for each day of the month. Have an extra row to write the totals.
- Label each column Earnings, Expenses and Savings. Use terms you are comfortable with.
- Update the expenses and savings section of the poster board each time you spend or pay a bill. Change the totals.
Poster boards are large and eye-catching. Their drawback is that you need to update them manually.
Benefits of Using Budget Charts
A computerized or manual budget chart helps you cut expenses and save the money you need. It keeps your finances organized and gives you a quick overview of your monthly income and expenditure. Tracking your expenses and savings is less of a chore.
It also serves as an encouragement to save. No one wants to see their expenses increase.
In all, by prompting you to save and cut expenses, budget charts enable you to build your income.