You can open the Google Sheets budget template we created and make a copy to use yourself.
This template is flexible and can be used with a variety of styles of budgeting. We tend to prefer starting with zero-based budgeting, but we don’t think it’s necessarily the best form of budget to carry forever.
The best way to get started with this template is also outlined in the document on the second sheet, but we will explain below as well.
If this sounds like way too much work, we understand. Signup for the Keepify budgeting app and we’ll help you automate this process and easily share with your family on web, desktop, tablet, and mobile.
- Warm up by playing with the Sample sheet that lets you see the budget in action with sample numbers following the 50/30/20 budget concept. You aren’t required to keep up with this concept, but it’s a great place to start.
- Enter a few fictitious transactions into the transaction log and see how they appear totaled in the transaction totals sheet.
- Copy or rename the Template sheet and begin a new budget for the current month.
- Start with the categories we have provided and don’t bother to update them explicitly until you’ve completed a month of budgeting. Keep it simple. Changing categories now will beg questions you can better answer later.
- Update the income area of the template to see a budget guideline created for you in the 50/30/20 style.
- Adjust the budget guidelines to meet the known expenses you have, but plan to adjust the totals as the month progresses. This is normal.
- Add your expenses to the Transaction Log sheet either as you go or all at the end of the month and copy the column for that month over to your monthly budget sheet.
- After you’ve successfully completed the process for a month or two, think about your spending, what categories you might change or remove, and what you might add to plot budgets for goals that extend beyond a month. You can use the “Month over Month” spending column to help compare how you’re doing on spending month to month compared to your values.