You want to learn how to plan a family budget, but do not know where to start? Make a notebook, file in Excel, an account in the online service or download a special program or other internet service? What will be easier and more convenient for You, how to find out?
In order not to get lost in the variety of tools and methods of maintaining the family budget, let’s try to put them “on the shelves”, from simple to more advanced. In this article, we consider the General methods of budgeting (no tedious calculations!) and templates for budgeting in Excel (or other spreadsheets).
Part 1. 3+ simple techniques
To begin with, we will analyze three extremely simple schemes that allow you to plan your family budget very quickly and without a lot of time. Most likely, later You will need more details and opportunities to analyze your budget, then you can move to more advanced tools (such as the family budget program) or develop on the basis of these simple schemes more complex, suitable for Your financial situation.
By the way, the authors of these schemes unanimously propose to save 20% of each income received, so the sooner it turns into a financial habit, the better. Another point they all agree on: the goal is to reduce the share of mandatory (necessary, urgent) expenses in the total family expenses, which will improve the standard of living.
1.1. Author of the Only Investment Guide you’ll Ever Need (the Only investment guide you’ll ever need) Andrew Tobias offers the following simple and effective solution to the problem of budgeting:
- Step 1. Destroy credit cards (get rid of credits and debts).
- Step 2. Save and/or invest 20% of your income (never spend that money).
- Step 3. Live the remaining 80% for your pleasure
Simple, right? Just remember, first we postpone 20%, and only then we spend, otherwise at the end of the month it may be that there is nothing to postpone at all. By the way, if the amount of 20% seems unaffordable, try to start with 10% or even 5% to develop a habit and create an initial savings Fund (family reserve Fund). To strengthen this technique, you can also add what remains after spending at the end of the month, also to the reserve Fund.
1.2. In the book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” (All your well-being: the main money plan for life), the authors argue that in order to achieve financial success, you need to keep three areas of the “application” of Your finances in a balanced state. Therefore, they propose to divide the total income into three parts:
- 50% to put on the necessary things (food, rent, transportation, insurance, basic clothing, etc.)
- 30% to let on desirable things (cable TV, fashionable clothes, jewelry, trips to restaurant, tickets to theater, books, Hobbies, etc.).)
- 10% the costs associated with the e-Commerce
- 10% to spend on savings (including debt repayment).
Thus, You both save quite a large amount (along the way, get rid of debts, if they are), and live for fun (30% of the income for entertainment and pleasure). Not the fact that at the current level of income and expenditure Your family can easily “fit” into this scheme, but you can consider it as an ideal.
1.3. The 60% rule proposed by the author of articles on MSN Money, Richard Jenkins. We have already talked about this scheme in the article on the method of envelopes for the family budget. In short, Jenkins proposes to divide total income into 5 parts, of which about 60% is spent on current expenses.
- Current expenses – 60%.
- Pension savings – 10%.
Long-term purchases and payments – 10%.
- Irregular expenses – 10%.
- Entertainment – 10%.
For more information about the method of 60% and other methods of budgeting in envelopes can be found in the article Make a family budget: the method of envelopes and its variations.
Part 2. 4+ templates for budget management in spreadsheets
The second way, more advanced, is to start managing the family budget in a spreadsheet (Excel, Google Docs, etc.), where the basic formulas for budget analysis have already been introduced.
2.1. The PearBudget Template. This is a free, beautiful and thoughtful template (Excel) for maintaining a family budget, designed for one year. It has a couple of drawbacks: first, you can not use more than 30 categories of expenses/income and it is completely in English, including instructions and example.
2.2. Simple budget for a family for a year, in americans. Multiple expense categories and an expense pie chart. How to fill in the file and analyze the costs the author tells on his website.
2.3. In the article community MoneyTracker learn Family budget in Excel I gave a couple of links to collections of templates:
- office.microsoft.com – collection of templates (12 pieces) from the official website of Microsoft (to download you need to confirm the authenticity of the installed MS Office)
- docs.google.com – 30 different templates, ranging from the calculation of interest on the Deposit and ending with the calculation of the family budget. Look a little modest, but start with them can be well.
After downloading, you will have to think through your system of categories in the budget or at least translate what is in these Excel templates (most in English).
2.4. Template personal budget Google Docs from Gumoza: Gbudget. Quite simple and convenient tool, always at hand, if you have access to the Internet, in USA, customizable. The author’s description here: gumoza.ru
If You have an interesting template for maintaining a home budget, which You are ready to share, send, we will write about it.
Part 3. Budget planning tips
Decided to start planning the family budget? A few useful tips will not hurt.
- Remember why You decided to keep the budget. Don’t do it just because you think it’s necessary or someone said so. Be aware of the reason, for example, “spend less than earn” or “reduce costs by 10%”.
- Set the exact goal (or goals) you want to achieve. For example, “save for the repair 150 thousand this year»
- Keep accurate records of income and expenses to be sure of the correct numbers in the family budget.
- Open a savings account to save money, it is best to Deposit without the possibility of withdrawing cash. Think about how the family reserve Fund will be formed.
Be realistic. Do not promise yourself to become a “Superman” of the family budget for the month, just start small and act. Because super men is just fiction from the news of the future.
- It is highly desirable to get support from the family or, for example, to start a budget in parallel with a friend/girlfriend (separate), of course)
- Don’t be afraid to revise the budget, even radically. Be flexible, choose what works for You. There are no fixed numbers once and for all, we change: we earn more, spend more, get sick, have a rest, start Pets, etc., etc.
- Set small but achievable goals that will motivate You to more global achievements.