It's important to make a budget, but it can sometimes be hard to keep track of your budget and make sure you are not going over budget every month. Some people like to use cash to make sure they don't go over their grocery budget, but I prefer paying with my credit card and then paying off the balance each month. Here is how I easily keep track of my monthly spending. This method is also great for tracking your holiday budget.
Start a new document in Microsoft Excel.
In cell 1A, type in what month you are budgeting for. Example: October Spending.
Next, you are going to list what budgets you are keeping track of in this document. I use mine to keep track of Grocery and Baby Expenses. In cell 2A, type Grocery $400.00 (or whatever your monthly grocery budget is). In cell 3A, I have my baby budget listed as Baby $XXX.xx.
Now, starting in cell 5A I begin listing my spending and how much I spent in 5D. So for example, cell 5A says Fred Meyer and cell 5D says 59.98. Every time you buy anything relating to that budget (in my case, grocery or baby) I enter the store in the next cell in column A and the total spent in the same row in Column D. So the next item might be 6A=Costco and 6D=$129.19. Leave at least 10 or so rows empty so you can fill them in as you do your spending.
In cell 15A, Type Monthly Budget. In 15D, I recorded my monthly budget which is the combination of cells 2A and 3A (my grocery and baby budget combined). Example 15A=Monthly Budget and 15D=$500.00
In cell 16A, type TOTAL SPENT. In cell 16D type =SUM(D5,D6,D7,D8,D9,D10,D11,D12,D13,D14). Now, as you type in how much you spent, it will automatically add everything up for you.
Lastly, in cell 18A type something like, "Total Money Remaining". In cell 18D type =D15-D16. Now as you add totals from receipts to your list, it will automatically tell you how much money you have left to spend for the month.
After every shopping trip, you can quickly enter in where you went and what you spent, it only takes a few seconds. Then you just look at the bottom and it will tell you how much money you have left. Entering the name of the store is helpful when you look back and are trying to remember where you spent your money and is especially helpful if you are a receipt saver.
You could also use this same method to keep track of your holiday spending this year. It is so easy to go overboard when purchasing so many different gifts and lose track of your holiday budget.
If you run out of rows, you can always add more by right-clicking after your last entry and select "insert" and then select "Entire Row". Excel will automatically change the formulas for you so the math doesn't get messed up. You can start a new document each month or just make a copy of this document and then change the info each month as needed so you don't have to type EVERYTHING in all over again each time. Sometimes budgets need to be adjusted. You might find yourself constantly under budget, if that is the case, GOOD FOR YOU! You should lower your budget and put that extra amount in savings. If you are trying really hard to stay within the budget but always go over, then you should sit down and evaluate what you can do without and if that is not possible, then increase your budget little by little until you can consistently spend the same amount each month after getting all the necessities.
It's easy to overextend yourself when shopping with a credit card, but the key is to use it just like cash. Creating this document will help you keep track of your money so you can take advantage of the perks of using a credit card, but without the risk of slipping into debt. Remember to pay off your statement balance each month. © 2008 CCROCK. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited