Ready to get out of debt?
Money. Nowadays, we can’t live without it, even if we wanted to. We use it to pay bills, purchase necessities, and sometimes we use it to purchase unnecessary items we later regret.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased something and later thought to myself- ‘Why did I spend on this?’
We’ve all been there! I hate to say it, but a lot of times, we fall into the ‘Keeping up with Joneses’ trap; I know I’m guilty of that!
You MIGHT be able to get away with these purchases when you’re fresh out of high school, and you’re working at your first job. You don’t have any bills except your cellphone, gas, and possibly rent.
Well, as you’re probably already aware, this all changes when you start accumulating debt. You purchase the nice home, the fancy vehicle, have a kid or two and suddenly you’re stuck wondering how you’re going to pay all your bills and still have extra to support your family.
Does this sound familiar? It sure does for me!
My family and I were getting too comfortable with making a few too many of those ‘unnecessary’ purchases, and it was time to take control of our finances.
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsey
Once my husband and I decided to start a family budget, I turned to no other than Pinterest. 🙂 I purchased a few different budget sheets, but I couldn’t seem to find one that worked for us.
I came across a lot of printables that either didn’t have enough rows, or their categories didn’t fit mine.
I decided to create my own!
Want a copy? You can get yours at the bottom of this page! 🙂
Before creating my own budget spreadsheet, I needed to find out first where our money was going.
So, I created a spreadsheet and included all the information I wanted to track for a whole month.
Date- The date I made the purchase/ deposit/withdrawal.
Account- Whether I purchased/deposited/withdrew from my checking/savings/other bank accounts.
Transaction- Whether I used cash/debit/credit card.
Category- Was it a bill, for entertainment, or food?
Withdrawal/ Deposit- Amount I deposited or withdrew.
Balance- I updated the balance of funds available for the month.
I knew I wanted to track ALL of my spending on one sheet, but I also wanted to be able to differentiate between purchases at a quick glance.
I decided to purchase a pack of pretty highlighters and color-coded the categories; you can see color-codes at the top right of the sheet.
I’m not going to lie, I wanted to skip this step so badly! I was afraid to put a pencil to all the charges I was making, but it was the only way I would know where to start my budget. This step is very crucial and should NOT be skipped!
After a few days of not cheating the system, I was starting to see a pattern. I was using my pink highlighter… A LOT.
Once the month was over, I reviewed my tracking sheets to start putting my budget together. I’m embarrassed to say, pink took up the majority of the sheets.
I realized we were spending WAY too much money on eating out!
I looked back at those days, and a lot of the time I justified buying food with ‘I’m too tired, or it’s too late to start cooking.’
THIS HAD TO STOP!
You hear people say- ‘Well, they have to know where their money is going and why they’re always short!’
Yes, I knew I was spending money on take-out, but once I saw it on paper it’s like a light bulb went off in my head and I needed to make a change!
My goal was to get my finances in control and pay off the debt my husband and I had accumulated over the years.
Now it was time to create my budget spreadsheet!
I put together a spreadsheet that would not only have more rows, but I wouldn’t have issues with the category choices.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post- I couldn’t find a printable that allowed me to customize it the way I wanted.
Let’s go ahead and zoom in to this spreadsheet so you can see for yourself how nice it is having the ability to customize your budget sheet.
I wanted to have the ability to either budget based on the monthly income we were receiving, or a budget amount that I set for the month. You’ll notice there are two options you can select in the drop-down list.
I created a drop-down for the standard fixed expenses to be able to select what I wanted instead of having all ‘possible’ expenses listed in the spreadsheet already.
I wanted to select whether the expense had a certain amount due, or if I was setting a budget amount.
Both of the printables that I’d purchased in the past had the ‘variable expenses’ options already filled out and I was not able to make any changes.
I have quite a few more expenses than just insurance and groceries! For that reason, I added a drop-down with a ton of selections from insurance to tv streaming services.
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My last request for a budget that worked for our family was to be able to calculate the total amount spent for the month and what I am left with. I added a formula that would calculate just that. See below for an example.
You’ll notice that the ‘total income’ I entered is $2000, and I had a total of $1050 expenses which left with me a total of $950 for the month of January. I also added a tab for each month so I would have a workbook instead of twelve different files!
That’s it! It has definitely been trial and error for us, but I’m finally using a budget spreadsheet that works for my family. It has allowed us to really focus on controlling our expenditures and we’ve been able to pay down half of our debt now!
Not only have I seen a lot more of the kitchen now, but we have also been able to support our family with their necessities.
I feel so passionate about the steps we’ve taken to financial freedom after implementing the budget template we created. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so worth it!
I’d love to offer the tools for you and your family to take the same steps to financial freedom!
For a limited time, you can download my Budget Control bundle which includes the same Expense Tracker and Expense Spreadsheet that I use for FREE!
I hope I’ve been able to show you how easy it is to use this spreadsheet and customize it to whatever works for you and your family!
If you’ve been needing that extra push to take control of your finances- here it is!