Budgeting with Excel or Google Sheets

Creating budgets (and than trying to stick to them) is a necessary evil for those of us without a six figure income or a trust fund from which to live worry-free.  If you are like me, you constantly search for ways to create budgets besides paper or excel spreadsheets only to find yourself coming back to them after a failed experiment with some financial management tool.


I went from using Excel to Microsoft Money (before Microsoft abandoned it) to Mint to Yodlee to Excel than back to Mint to to YNAB (You Need a Budget) and now back to a spreadsheet again (actually via Google Sheets).   I have yet to discover a perfect solution that combines my need to make frequent changes to my budget while still allowing some way to monitor upcoming cash flow.

Outside of a spreadsheet solution using Excel or Google Sheets I have often found myself coming back to Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget) only to change back to spreadsheets yet again.  Both of their advantages and disadvantages:

  • Auto-downloads data from linked bank accounts.
  • Budget tool is friendly but still seemed cumbersome as a whole.
  • Being constantly bombarded with adds for services and credit cards, etc seemed against the ideal of proper financial management.
  • Free – if you ignore the constant ads selling credit reports or pushing credit cards.
  • A paid option with no ads, etc could be really enticing
  • Great application that I want to love but without being able to live by their golden rule of “live on last months income.”
  • I constantly found myself keeping a spreadsheet as well to give myself the ability to forecast my income over the entire month.
  • YNAB is based on the premise of budgeting with only the money you have at the moment with no regard to what is planned to arrive.
  • Includes ledger with ability to reconcile accounts
  • Worth the cost.
  • Great blog and financial advice on their website

YNAB would be my choice for long term financial management because it provides a manual ledger (which I prefer to the auto-pulling of Mint) and the ability to reconcile.  In the meantime, I have created a simplistic but functional spreadsheet that will work in Excel or Google Sheets.  As you can see in the screenshot below, the idea is to seperate bills into the different pay periods. I have two columns since I get a paycheck twice a month but you could easily add or reduce the number if columns if you get paid weekly, monthly, etc.

I took it a step further and created a second column for each pay period so I can forecast and plan what I think my budget will be vs what actually happens as the month progresses.  Feel free to download this template and use or modify it as you see fit.  Hope you find it useful.


Download Link:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *