I want to say a BIG thanks to everyone of you that read my family budgeting post on BellaNaija and sent me a mail. You gave me just the push I needed to see that there is immense joy in sharing. And till today I keep getting mails.
Unfortunately, I was more concerned with making a Budget sheet that will capture any expense type you make and give it a descriptive category. For the very Excel savvy ones, you would have noticed that I edited a very generic Excel template to make this budget sheet. So, it's more like an output of several people's efforts.
Back to the unfortunate part. Some of you were immediately overwhelmed by the amount of information (expense categories and items) and didn't know how/where to start. I considered making a simpler version, but I realized that it would only look simpler than this, but in the long run, this one would be more beneficial and intelligent.
The truth is most useful things take a little effort to get used to. Some of you will remember how you were frustrated while typing your first document in Microsoft Word. Then how you avoided using Microsoft Office 2007, as you found it a pain to use compared to the Office 2003. Well, that's how most things in life are. And I am better off making a useful tool than just a fancy tool.
With just a little effort on your part, you will find it very easy to use and more importantly, very intelligent. It puts you right on top of your income and expenses, gives you all the valuable details you need to make informed personal finance decisions.
It is automated, so all you need is to fill for the expense categories that apply to you. Leave the ones that do not. The summary parts at the top of the sheet will automatically calculate. It's only the Projected Monthly Income and Actual Monthly Income you need to fill in the top segment.
Here's how I recommend you use it
- Download the Family Budget Sheet here. It will also work for single guys and girls, just that you'll have to ignore more expense categories (especially children)
- Fill in your estimated/projected income for the month. You'll see the section on the top right.
- Fill in the current month. You'll see the part for this on the top left.
- Fill in the budgeted cost for all expense items you find relevant.
- As the month progresses, fill in the actual cost for those items. Keep them updated till month end.
- At the end of the month. Ensure that the actual costs are updated.
- Then fill in the actual income you got for that month.
- Voila! All the other parts will automatically calculate.