If you don’t have the time to set up your own budgeting spreadsheet or don’t have the skills you need, then you can simply download a free template, worksheet or spreadsheet that will do the job for you. This allows you to simply key your own figures into pre-set slots, giving you instant calculations and results.
In some cases, you’ll find a template that works instantly for you. In others, you might need to add/delete/amend some of the fields that are used to customise them to your own circumstances. Look for options that give you the basics that you need with some flexibility built in in case you decide to expand what you do later.
In basic terms, these downloads will ask you to fill in financial blanks. So, for example, you should enter your income and your outgoings. The sheet will then calculate how that all fits together by subtracting what goes out from what comes in. You could simply use a template to work out what your essential spending is during each pay period (i.e. monthly or weekly). What you have left over is your ‘fun’ cash.
But, you may find that more detail can be useful here. If you are drilling down into smaller spending, you’ll start to build a picture of where your money goes and where you could make additional savings. This kind of health check is good to do as it can help you avoid wasting money, save better and avoid problems with debt. So, it’s worth making a family budget even if you feel you are cash-stable and have nothing to worry about.
You can find various free family budget downloads online. The Microsoft Office site has a range of general and specialist templates that are worth a look as does Google Docs. Some of these may be set up in US dollars but they can be easily adapted to your local currency. In the UK, the uswitch site has some Credit Action templates that are country specific. One is for general budgeting; the other is for people with debt issues.