I don’t budget. Not that it’s bad or useless or anything, but because I don’t think it’s necessary for me. If the purpose of budgeting is to have spending under control and live below my means, then I am there already. Sure budgeting can help, but I don’t know how much improvement I can get in my case.
Nonetheless, budget is considered as one of center pieces of personal finance planning and people, experts and ordinary people alike, have argued the importance of having a budget. If you want to plan your spending and do a monthly budget, but don’t know where to start, then the recently published Google personal monthly budget template can give you a help.
The Google budget template is a spreadsheet from Google Doc that records your monthly incomes (wages, interests, dividends, etc) and expenses, which include
Obligations (loans, taxes, etc.)
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Each item has a Projected field and a Actual field and the template can calculate the difference between the two. At the end, the sum of income differences and the sum of expense differences are compared and you will get an overall number that tells you whether you really live below your means in the month This is a very simple tool that covers most expenses we could have. Since budgeting is all about planning and tracking expenses, you don’t really need any fancy tools such as Quicken or Money. A spreadsheet, in my opinion, is good enough.
To use this template online, go to Google Doc, then select Spreadsheets tab from the top menu and click Personal Finance link on the left. You will need to scroll down a little bit to find the monthly budget spreadsheet. Or you can also download the template and use it offline in Excel.
Even though there are commercial budgeting software available, such as You Need A Budget and Quicken, it never hurts to try something free first to see if it meets your needs.
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