There are a million different budgeting tools and apps out there to help you automatically track spending and savings. Despite all the tech-savvy options, I’ll confess that I’m a little old-school. It’s too easy for me to ignore budgeting unless I do it myself, which is why our family uses this super handy and completely customizable spreadsheet!
We’ve been using a version of this design for years and it has changed our lives. It helps us track everything from income to taxes and savings, which definitely keeps us honest and focused on paying ourselves! I’m so excited to help you get organized and take control of your finances. Stick with me for a brief breakdown of how to use your template, and then get moving!
Monthly Net Income and Tax Rate
Consider this section your financial report card:
- The Monthly Net Income cell is where you’ll find money gained or lost after entering all your information. A green box means you have money to spare; a red box means you spent more than you earned. This box updates automatically, so NO touching!
- The Federal Income Tax Rate cell is where you enter how much federal tax is withheld from your paycheck each month. You can find your 2017 tax rate here.
- The State Income Tax Rate cell is where you enter how much state tax is withheld from your paycheck each month. You can finds your 2016 tax rate here.
Gross Monthly Income
This section tracks how much you earn each month and their sources. Feel free to change anything in this section besides the percentage column, which will automatically update as your income values change.
This section covers everything from utilities to student loans. Some of these costs are difficult to predict from month-to-month, so we estimate a maximum amount for variable expenses. Don’t forget to compare your bills to the maximum estimates at the end of the month to learn how much you saved!
This section updates automatically after you enter your Tax Rate (e.g., 25%) at the top of the sheet. Consider this a useful reference as you file your annual returns in March.
The final section tracks your investment savings, including stocks, 401(k)s, 529 savings plans, IRAs, etc.