There is an updated budget for 2018. The new version is up with improved features and it’s still free. Full details here.
Hey everyone! I wanted to release our budget template because it’s perfect for beginners to start, a lot of features are automated, there is no need for pen or paper and it’s totally free. It’s a useful budget for anyone looking to start tracking their expenses.
We have used this budget for over a year now. It is available for download and I configured it for you to use however you’d like. It is absolutely free under the freebies tab.
DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE IN THE FREEBIES PAGE
For the past couple years, I’ve been in charge of managing the backend of the budget for Lily and myself. Apart from picking up some 9-volts and maybe a screw set from Home Depot, Lily has done the majority of the shopping to keep our family clothed and fed. She likes the budget and suggested I should share it with everyone – so we are!
We’re hoping our budget template is as helpful for you as it has been helpful for us.
- Leave a comment below or tweet us at @thefrugalgene and I’ll be able to answer any questions you may have. There are features I have added to this budget and there are features I haven’t thought of adding so don’t be shy.
- TFG’s budget automatically generates monthly & annual summaries for your convenience if you scroll to the far right of the bottom bar (after the months).
- TFG’s budget is flexible. It’s designed for singles, married couples, people with multiple income streams, people who own property etcetera.
- TFG’s budget is color coded to keep you on track. Red for negative, green for positive.
- Your savings will be represented in a simple bar graph with one bar representing your starting balance and the other bar as your end balance.
- There is also two yearly graphs of your overall spending vs saving that is scored on a month to month basis.
- The TFG budget does allow rollovers from the previous month but you can also toggle off that feature.
- TFG budget is available in $ dollars (US or Canadian).
- There are some features that are locked-in. Detailed instructions will be INSIDE the sheet itself and that will explain the rest.
This is more art than science. You’ll want to strike a balance between grouping like expenses and splitting them up. For example, our family chooses not to own a car so our transportation budget is only $50 a month. However, a family of 8 would probably need at least two sedans. So take a couple of weeks to practice this template and learn about your own spending & saving habits.
Our categories are:
Food, Transportation, Personal Care, Medical, Entertainment, Vacation, Pets, Misc, Home Maintenance, Cell Phone, Internet, Gas, Electricity, W.S.T. (Water, Sewage, Trash), M.I.T. (Mortgage, Insurance, Property Tax)
It’s much easier to combine expenses into a single category after the fact that it is to split up a category into two, so I recommend erring on the side of being more granular and combining like categories later if you think it’d be better to track them together.
Lily and I originally had separate categories for ‘groceries’ and ‘eating out’, but after nearly a year we decided we preferred to have a single category for just food We do not, however, include non food related expenses into food, so if we pick up a bottle of hand soap at the grocery store, we split the cost out into a separate entry. This is annoying to do because we run an AirBnB so it’s understandable if you choose to do it differently.
I recommend avoiding catchalls as much as possible. That said, astute readers may notice we do have a miscellaneous category on our budget for small, irregular expenses that don’t really fit in any of our defined categories.
TO ROLL OVER OR NOT TO ROLLOVER…
An important question is what happens at the end of the month. Suppose you went $10 dollars over in your food budget, does that get rolled over into the next month, or does it simply reset?
For us, the answer is it the remaining value always gets rolled over. The reason for this is that we want to budget based on our average expenses. By carrying over the values, we have a reminder that we’ve been spending more or less than we’re expecting. If we’re rolling over larger and larger values, it tells us one of two things. Either we should adjust our expectations about how much we’ll spend in that category, or we have money reserved for an upcoming expense, such as a house/car repair or vacation.
Not everyone agrees with this approach, so I’ve made it configurable.
This can be the real tedious part of budgeting. I make a habit of going through our credit card and banking transactions every week to add them. This works for us because we very rarely have cash transactions. Credit card rewards are great if you can trust yourself not to spend beyond your means, in addition, it’s easy for us to track expenses after the fact.
There are alternatives available to do this part for you. I haven’t tried any, because I’m personally not comfortable giving my financial passwords to third-party services, but I hear good things about Tiller (a paid service).
For cash transactions, if you have a smartphone, you can create a Google Form that submits to the spreadsheet so you can easily enter transactions on the go. Then you just copy paste them into transactions sheet the next time you’re updating the budget. Alternatively, get receipts for cash purchases when you can and enter them later. 🤑
DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE IN THE FREEBIES PAGE
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