Passion Advising: Invest in Yourself

Hey Hun-Tee,

Summer is right around the corner. And I don’t know about you, but I like to explore in the summer time. I mean when the weather is nice, my hair is laid and my sunglasses are poppin’ – I want to be seen. So I’ve learned how to put myself on a budget to track my funds all year round, to ensure I have the coins to always to what I want to do. I like to shop, but I’m a bargain shopper. So if it ain’t on sale or doesn’t have some type of value deal, I most likely won’t buy it. But when comes to concerts, road trips, parties, and amusement parks – there is not much bargaining you can do there. And balling on a tight budget when you’re trying to have fun can be ignoring. So, today I’m going to walk you through this budget tracker template I designed to keep my finances on track.

ScreSample Budget Tracker

The photo above is a Yearly Budget Tracker, I developed to track my finances to ensure that I am being financially response and making smart decisions with my money. For this blog, I have changed the numbers around to guide you through the template and how it works. I designed this template from my knowledge of Accounting and use of Microsoft Excel and Google Docs. That’s right you can build this same tracker yourself with Microsoft Excel. This template shows 5 months of expenses and income as a month to month guide. The set up of this tracker is based off an annually salary of $45k (before taxes and benefits), shown in cell A3.

If you look at rows 5 and 6, this is where the monthly income is housed. Many salary- paid individuals are paid twice a month. Some are paid once a month (rare). And hourly- paid individuals are mainly paid every two weeks. Either way you can still take advantage of this template. You’ll just need to alter the information in rows 3-6 to best fit your pay situation.

The core of this template is based of all your monthly expenses. See Column A, starting at row 8 I have listed the fundamental expenses a young adult may have on a month to month basis. Some of these may or may not apply to you. If you choose to build this template for yourself, you will need to alter this list and list all the expenses and monthly pay out specific to your financial situations.

In row 7, there are three columns dedicated to each month: BUDGET, ACTUAL, and OVERBUDGET. The budget column is where you set a number value of how much you pay, expected to plan, or plan to pay for each specific expense. Seeing that I am visual person, I choice to mark this column in BLUE.  At the bottom, you want to be able to see your total. Take a look at row 22, Monthly Expenses. The total of you budgeted expenses should be shown in B22 – across each month. In this sample the total budget expense are $1940.00

You can develop a formula to calculate the total of budgeted expenses: =B8:B21

Now let’s take a step back, the monthly income is $2,603.00 ($1301.50 + $1301.50) after taxes and benefits have been taken out. The monthly budget expenses come out to be $1940.00. So do the math, that leaves $663.00 (or more) for FUN! The whole point of this tracker is to keep up with your finances so you know what you have left to spent and play with. So according to this sample, after bills are paid and money is put into your personal savings account, there is $663 left for dinner with friends, taking your boo on a date or getting in your car and taking a road trip to the cabins for the weekend- WHATEVER you want to do.

To keep track of everything, you must remember to fill in the ACTUAL column every month. This is where you record the actual cost of every expense. Some of your expenses will be the same each month, like rent or car payment. Others like the water bill or electricity bill may change month by month. That’s why its important to record all expenses in the ACTUAL column. Again, in C23 you can see the total of all your actual expenses. In this samples, the total ACTUAL expenses are $1822.13.

You can develop a formula to calculate the total of actual expenses: =C8:C21 

The OVERBUDGET column is where you can see how well you did with staying under budget. This column will also help you determine over time, if you need to adjust your budget for specific expenses. For a visual effect I made this column RED.

You can develop a formula to calculate the total budget of each expense: =C8-B8 be sure to enter this formula for expense. 

If the number in red has a negative sign(-) in front of it, congratulation you stayed under budget for that expense. If the number in red doesn’t have a negative sign (-) in front of it, you went over your set budget. This is not always a bad thing. If you save money on other expenses, your tracker may still balance out. In D23, you can see your total over budget amount. Again if the number is negative, that’s good. That’s the total amount you have saved for the month based on you budget. In this case, $117.87 was saved this month. So instead of having $663.00 to play with this month, you have $780.87.

I don’t know about you but I like to save money. I’m not the best at saving, that’s why I have to plan to save for something. In this sample, you’ll see that the budget calls for a monthly savings of $100. So this samples show how you keep track of the progress of savings just like the monthly expenses. Take a look at row 24 in GREEN, I have a total amount of the savings account. Let’s be real- We don’t always save every month or save the expect amount every month. In cell B24 you’ll see the starting amount of the sample saving account ($86.00). After adding $100 to the saving account (See cell C22), the monthly savings total is shown in cell C24 ($186.00). To maintain the tracker, you’ll have to keep it updated and repeat each progress each month.

As the months so by and you continue to track your expenses, you’ll begin to find trends that allow you to make the best possible decisions with your personal finances. So go ahead and build your Budget Tracker. For further questions or a copy of this template e-mail me at