When I first decided to start budgeting before the birth of our first child, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how much money we spent, and I am ashamed to say that I also did not know exactly how much money we had at our disposal each month after taxes and retirement contributions.
Needless to say, I was paralyzed by the thought of analyzing everything! What I did know was that a proper budget worksheet could help our situation.
Determining Monthly Expense Categories & Creating a Basic Household Expenses Worksheet
Because I was used to using Microsoft Excel on a daily basis at work, that’s what I wanted to use to track our monthly expenses. But I first needed to extract all of that information from Quicken. What I did first was sit down with our Quicken reports (at least we had those!…my husband had insisted on purchasing Quicken several years prior) and try to group our expenses into the appropriate categories.
As I examined our Quicken reports, I quickly realized that our categories made no sense. Basically, we had duplicates, and many of the expense categories sounded the same.
For instance, we had “house” and “household,” as well as “yard” and “landscaping.” Expenses were randomly allocated to one category or another, and you had to look at multiple expense categories to get a true picture of total spending in any one area.
How did this happen?! I realized it was the result of my husband creating categories and me coming behind him and not fully understanding his breakdown, then creating categories of my own. What I had on my hands was a complete mess!
Monthly Expenses List for My Microsoft Excel Budgeting Template
It took a lot of tweaking, but I eventually deleted and consolidated expense categories until I was able to have distinct bucket for every type of expense.
For a better idea of how I broke down our monthly expenditures, here is the original list of monthly household expenses I started with then tweaked to suit my purposes.
This might be helpful for anyone trying to go through the same expense tracking process as I did. You can see the final list as it appears in the budgeting template below.
Monthly Household Expenses Budget Spreadsheet Example
I fixed all of our budgeting categories in Quicken in addition to creating an Excel budgeting spreadsheet. My husband thought I was duplicating my efforts (and I was), but because I was so comfortable working in Excel, I didn’t mind doing this. To this day, I still use the budgeting template below to evaluate our household finances.
I want to share this template with my readers because I don’t want anyone to have to start from scratch like I did!
This budgeting spreadsheet might look intimidating at first, but if you are a stickler for details like I am and comfortable with Excel, you’ll probably like it.
How to Use This Income and Expenses Spreadsheet
You’ll see an income section at the top. In this section, earnings are shown as positive numbers and deductions from earnings (like retirement contributions and taxes) are calculated as negative numbers. Then net income is subtotaled before you start looking at expenses. I like looking at my budget this way because I get a glimpse of actual $ available to spend/allocate after automatic payroll deductions.
A few things to note about this spreadsheet:
- Start by entering percentages for retirement contributions, charitable donations, and taxes. The current percentages are simply placeholders.
- Gray shaded cells are calculated. Do not enter values in those cells.
- Other shaded areas represent groups of expenses. Baby = Pink. Household = Peach. Insurance = Yellow.
My budget template separates expenses into mandatory monthly outflows and discretionary costs. Mandatory items aren’t only costs related to living in general; they are anything that will definitely come out of my checking account each month. So that’s why you see Tivo in there. :=) To make this section your own, add or delete expenses as necessary.
“Net Monthly without Discretionary Costs” calculated at the bottom of the worksheet tells you how close you’d be to budget if you didn’t spend money on an “extra” items like travel, developing photos, or making optional home improvements. I separate these sections to make it easier to simply avoid spending in entire categories in tight months.
Can You Improve Upon My Example Family Budgeting Template?
I realize the same Excel spreadsheet won’t work for everyone. Just like I didn’t like viewing my expenses in Quicken, you might not like the way I’ve broken down my categories or even how I decided to calculate certain numbers.
If you download my basic budget template and make improvements in any way, feel free to share it back with me so I can reveal the updated version to other WhatMommyDoes readers.
More Sample Monthly Expense Spreadsheets to Track Household Costs
I would like to point you to a few more Microsoft Excel budgeting templates I’ve found online that are particularly helpful, yet different from mine above.
I am a huge fan of using simple Excel worksheets to track spending, but I realize some people like more advanced features than me, so I’ve provided a variety below.
- I like this basic budget template for its clean design and the way it separates variable and fixed expenses. Another nice feature is the column that compares budget to actual so you can see where your budgeting issues lie. This personal budget spreadsheet is compatible with Excel 2007 or later versions.
- Vertex 42 offers a versatile budget worksheet that can be downloaded in Excel (2002 or later), Open Office, or Google Docs.
- Those who want a more advanced and visually stimulating worksheet may like this official Microsoft Excel budgeting template from the company’s website. It contains a pie chart and a graph to visually demonstrate your spending habits, and it even has handy arrows beside each budget line item to let you know if you are meeting, exceeding, or falling below budget.
I hope you’re able to use one of the sample monthly expense templates in this post to get your household expenditures under control. Revealing the truth on paper (or on screen) is the first step to truly understanding your personal financial picture. Give yourself a head start with a household expenses worksheet that fits your needs.