You know you're supposed to have a budget, and maybe it was even your new years' resolution! If you conveniently haven't gotten around to it, let me give you a jump start!

Before I got my act together around budgeting, I had tried a number of different tools that claimed to make it all easy. The most important lesson I learned though, is how important it is that I understand how my budget works, and that I should always have a good idea where I stand. My approach requires discipline, and in my case, requires every transaction to be hand entered. That way, I am mindful of where my money is going, and the impact it has on my financial wellbeing.

My Approach

I use a plain old spreadsheet (with a number of formulas built over time) to plan my budget, and track it throughout the year. I've created a copy of my template and included it below for your benefit. Feel free to copy it to your own Google Drive. Make sure you take some time to explore the formulas, and get a solid understanding of how it works.

The sheet allows me to plan for major expenses upfront, plan to save a set amount per year, and track my exact progress throughout the year. I've included some sample data, but you know what they say about learning by doing!

Budget Template (Public)

Other options

Those other options I tried and moved on from? They didn't work for me, but they might help you out!