As someone who had a five-year plan that literally imploded three months after graduation, I know what it’s like to not know what the f*ck is going on in your life. Post-grad life is NO JOKE and the financial stress that comes with it isn’t a joke either.
You know know that this past summer I change my entire life plan and decided not to pursue what I went to college for. You can read allllll about that here, in case you missed it 😉 In that time of constantly not know what was happening next, I learned the very valuable lesson of living on a budget. Before this time, I had never really needed to budget. Honestly, I was making money and spending it however I wanted without a second thought. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t throwing my money away or spending it at every opportunity, but I definitely wasn’t budgeting my life like I am now.
This last summer I was literally making $500 a month and nothing more. I was living off of my measly paychecks and life savings when I came to the realization that I needed a better system. I was sucking my savings dry and trying to find any extra source of income I could find. That’s where this beautiful thing call Excel comes into play…I realized I needed to set a budget with myself and stick to it. When I came to this decision, I dedicated myself to it entirely and still to this day follow the same protocol.
I spent next to nothing that wasn’t essential to my survival, and I tracked every. single. penny. I spent. I created a spreadsheet labeled Life Spending Tracker and looked at almost every other day. I set financial goals for myself and looked at how much money I would need to make in order to stay afloat. Luckily, I have Lucas in my life and he could help pick up some of the slack when I needed him to; but I was determined to be independent of him as much as possible.
SO! When setting up my excel sheet I sat down with myself and really thought about the things I spent my money on. Then, I tried to categorize everything into about 10 different sections. I built my excel sheet into three smaller sheets: Budget, Expenses, and Revenue. This way, I could set a budget for myself each month, track my spending, AND track my income all in the same spot. Doing this allowed me to compare everything with one quick look across all three sheets. My little excel sheet worked for me, but thanks to the cute blonde boy and his magical excel loving brain, he made me a new one that is all sorts of beautiful, and I am so excited to share it will all of you FOR FREE!
His excel sheet does the same thing that mine did but the biggest perk is that it is fully automated to compare all three sheets on a ‘Summary’ page. This ‘Summary’ page allows you to compare your budget to your income and spending, and see how much you are spending vs. how much you budgeted and how much you are making. It comes with 15 category spaces where you can insert your personally determined spending categories and allows you to input up to five sources of income! As long as you don’t change any of the coding, it should work seamlessly! I have shared it here, and all I ask is that you add it to your Google Drive and download it to your computer or make a copy of it and work off of the copy. That way, the original file doesn’t get corrupt.
Some quick tips on how I set mine up:
My ‘spending’ / ‘budgeting’ categories match. There shouldn’t be anything on my budget sheet that doesn’t also appear on my spending sheet and vice-versa. My categories look a little like this: rent, gas, groceries, pets, shopping, eating out, student loans, wedding, etc. Those are just some of the things I found myself spending my money on and I grouped them into larger, umbrella categories. I also have an ‘Other’ category for those random one off purchases!
I hope you guys love this budgeting sheet and find it helpful. I am so thankful for Lucas and his amazing Excel skills. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to share such an amazing resource with all of you! And if you don’t already budget and practice smart money moves, you should take small steps to do so. Those little steps have helped me to pay off of $5000 in student loans in under five months! Never hesitate to reach out if you have questions or experience hiccups with the sheet!