Creating Your Personal Budget Spreadsheet

personal budget spreadsheet
  • Share

I don’t need to tell you that the economy is tough, cost of living increases are constant and now that we are nearing the holidays, your budget is really taking a hit. So, what are we to do? I’m here to tell you that setting up your own personal budget spreadsheet isn’t as daunting as it may sound. With basic knowledge of Excel, your statements and a little bit of time, you will have a good foundation to get your head around where your hard-earned cash has been going.

First off, you can do a bit of research and see if one of the many personal budget templates and apps out there suit you, but I like to keep in simple in an Excel spreadsheet.

Start with making a personal budget workbook with several tabs:

  • Income/Taxes,
  • Residential/essential expenses
  • Loans/Debt payments
  • Food
  • Entertainment/Travel
  • Clothing/Grooming
  • Miscellaneous.

The most important parts of your budget are those first three tabs. Gross monthly income should be logged and then the taxes listed and deducted to give you a net number which will be the basis for everything else.  Residential/Essential Expenses should encompass your rent, utilities, car-related expenditures, and all forms of insurance. Loans and Debt obviously track your student loan payments, credit card payments and any other long term obligations that you are paying down. These first two tabs will likely not have a lot of room for cuts or changes so this total will be what you must always accommodate for in your budget.

Essential Needs

Next, I have put the essential need for food in its own tab since this is the easiest place to over-spend. I suggest getting as granular and specific with this category so that you can take a close, well-informed look on what you can cut back on. For instance, scrutinize your statements and be sure to track groceries, take out, and eating out at restaurants separately. If you have a particular habit, like a Starbucks addiction or are known to indulge in a mid-afternoon snack at the hip food truck all the time, you may want to give them their own line item. Seeing your coffee habit aggregated on its own means you can see the magnitude of what it is doing to your pocketbook instead of being lost in a weekly food budget.

Superfluous Expenditures

Now, go back through your monthly statements and sort of all of the more superfluous expenditures like haircuts, waxing, movie tickets, travel and your bill for happy hour. Also be vigilant of anything that has in-app purchases. You may not notice that you are downloading a song here or powering up a game for $1.99 there, and it all adds up. There is a lot of room for trimming in these areas though that is never the fun one to want to cut. Once all of these tabs are sorted, you total out each tab, add them all up and subtract from the net income amount. Are you in the red or the black? Or maybe it’s a bit grey? Now though you have everything clearly organized so that you can drill down on each of the subcategories and see what you can tweak.


By finding cheaper versions of some line items or scratching some entirely, you should be able to get yourself in a place where you have bit of a buffer. That buffer should be put into an interest-earning savings account for emergencies, holiday shopping or more comfort in the future. This total amount of spending will allow for even the smallest but of savings should be your goal budget number. Always have that in mind and to help yourself stay on track, you can even download worksheets from the internet to work out what your next month’s spending was in comparison to the budget number you just calculated for each silo. Were you over-budget this month? Why? Was it a trip for a wedding or some rare occasion or do you need to reign in your online shopping and Candy Crush addiction?

No one likes setting up parameters and facing their bank statements, but once you set up this easy-to-follow foundation, keeping your personal budget will no longer seem intimidating. Your diligence will pay off sooner than you think so that you can save more and have less worries!


Renee Cafaro

Renee Cafaro is the US Editor of plus size fashion magazine, SLiNK and lives in New York City. She started her luxury plus size style blog, Foxy Roxy, in 2010 and has been published in Yahoo! Travel, NY Post, and several other online outlets. Prior to her recent writing career, Ms. Cafaro had a 13-year career in City & State politics, including becoming the youngest member of senior staff for then-Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer.  She then moved on to join New York Governor David Paterson's administration in 2008, the same year NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases diagnosed her with Seronegative Arthritis. This was an additional diagnosis that she wasn't expecting when she went in search of treatment for the Fibromyalgia pain she has dealt with since around age 11. She has worked very hard to find success in her life and career in spite of her chronic pain disorders and a lifetime of bullying, but it hasn't always been easy.

At 17, she was starting her junior year at Stanford University and struggled with misdiagnoses and dismissal about her condition from the administration, which ultimately led her to leave before graduation. Despite this set back, physical hardships and a general lack of support, she has found success and happiness in her life now that she can share her story to help those with similar paths. She toured the US as the Arthritis Foundation’s National Honoree raising awareness for invisible diseases, has lent her voice to countless causes on Capitol Hill, and now spends her career helping others find their beauty and confidence, while combatting the effects of cyber bullying, misogyny and size prejudice. She also uses her voice as a singer in a hard rock cover band to give her much-needed balance and another form of self-expression. Cafaro will always be passionate about speaking out in hopes that other women will never have to feel alone or helpless.
View All Posts
  • Share

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of