How to Create a Simple Budget in Microsoft Excel

Tracking your budget, whether for yourself or your entire household, is essential to managing your money. If you already use Microsoft Excel, you can easily create a budget by using a template or by creating one from scratch.

7 MICROSOFT EXCEL FEATURES FOR BUDGETING

Use an Excel budget template

You can start building your budget using a template. Microsoft offers several budget templates already in Excel or through the Office Template website.

To see budget templates in Excel, open the app and select “More Templates” from the Home section.

More templates in the Home section of Excel

Enter the word “budget” in the search field and you will see many options.

Excel Budget Templates

Choose the template you want to use to see more details and click “Create” to open the template.

Create a budget with the template

You are then on your way to budgeting your money with pre-made sections and built-in formulas. For more options, visit the Budget section of Microsoft’s Office Template site. You can then choose a template to download and use in Excel, or open it online and use it in Excel for the web.

Office budget templates

Use a third-party budget template

If you’ve browsed through Microsoft’s budget templates and don’t see one you like, you can choose a third-party template. Sites like Vertex42 and Spreadsheet123 have nice collections of budget templates.

This option from Vertex42 is ideal for managing your own finances. This is a personal monthly budget template with slots for all the income you receive, and expenses are grouped by category. At the top, you’ll see a summary section of money in and money out, with the net amount, totals, and averages.

Model Vertex42

Spreadsheet123’s template is a good option for a family’s monthly budget. Similar to the personal budget template above, you have slots for income and expenses, but also for estimated and actual amounts. The top section shows you the estimated and actual totals, as well as the differences by month.

Template Spreadsheet123

Create a budget from scratch

If you can’t find a template that suits your needs, want something simple, or have special circumstances and needs, you can create a budget from scratch with Excel’s helpful budget features. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will establish a basic monthly budget.

Open a new workbook, select the sheet, and give your budget a title at the top of the sheet. Next, create sections for income and expenses, labeling them as desired.

Title and labels for a budget

If you have more than one source of income, for example if you have more than one person earning money, multiple jobs, or dividends from investments, you can list them separately in the income section.

Revenues in the budget

Next, list all of your expenses. Be sure to include all bills, loans, and miscellaneous expenses.

Spending in budget

Then go back to the top of the page and fill in the months on the second row, starting with the second column. If you prefer a weekly budget, you can enter the week numbers or, for a daily budget, enter the days of the week.

Budget month

You can then start adding income and expense amounts starting with the current month. If you want to insert these amounts for previous periods, it will be useful for you to have an overview of the year.

To format currency amounts, select the cells containing the amounts. Next, go to the Home tab and choose “Currency” from the Number drop-down list.

Currency formatting in the budget

To get a clear picture of money coming in and going out, you need to add totals to your income and expense sections. It will also allow you to easily see how much money you have left at the end of the month.

Go to the first cell under All Earnings for the First Month. Select the Sum button in the Editing section of the Home tab and choose “Sum” from the list. Confirm the cell range and press Enter or Return. Then, do the same for your expenses.

Total the income using the SUM formula

You can then copy the two total formulas to the rows for the remaining months. Select the cell containing the formula, use the fill handle to drag it to the other columns, then release. Although some months show $0, you will have the formulas ready to use when you add the amounts later.

Use fill function for SUM formula

Then you can include a remaining money section at the bottom, as mentioned above. You can do this easily by subtracting the cell containing your total expenses from the cell containing your total income.

Go to the bottom of the first month column, under expenses. Enter the subtraction formula for the two total cells. For example, our total income is in cell B6, and our total expenses are in cell B19:

=B6-B19

Subtraction formula for remaining money

Hit Enter or Return and you’ll see your remaining money at the end of the month. Remember that you can use the fill function to copy the formula to other months. If you wish, you can label this amount in the first column, along with the income and expense totals.

Labels for totals and remaining money

Once you’ve established this basic budget, you can use Excel’s formatting functions to spruce up the sheet if you wish. Here we simply increased the font size for the title and added font colors and bold for income and expenses, totals and months. Visit the Font section of the Home tab for options like these.

Budget formatted font

If you want to create a more detailed budget, take a look at our list of Excel budget functions to see if any appeal to you.

Here are some examples :

  • Use the COUNT function to count the number of expenses you have.
  • Use the MAX function to find your most expensive expense.
  • Use the TODAY function to always see today’s date when you open your sheet.

With these simple methods of creating a budget in Excel, you can stay in control of your cash inflows and outflows. It’s also a great option if you’re a Money in Excel user looking for a replacement for the vanishing service.

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