Best budget spreadsheet?

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notmyhand
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Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by notmyhand »

Hoping that manually entering transactions will keep us within our budget. I am looking for some great budgeting spreadsheets. Particularly looking for spreadsheets that will tell me how much I have left in each category, has a tab that shows useful charts, and can keep several months worth of data. Anyone found/created any that they love? Bonus points if it’s a google spreadsheet. Thank you for your help!
runner3081
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by runner3081 »

It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
daheld
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by daheld »

runner3081 wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:25 pm It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
This is my opinion as well. You can customize it to your needs. Plenty of people here will tell you to use Mint or other similar programs/sites, but I am just not in favor of giving a third party all of my banking information. We take one day every quarter or so and download all transactions and plug them into our expenses categories to see how we did. Do it monthly if you need more of a reminder.
frugalmama
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by frugalmama »

I manually enter into YNAB. It tells me how much I have left in my budget and enter in transactions daily. I think that whatever mode you go, the more frequently you enter in the transactions and look at your balances, the more likely you are to hit your target...I don't think it is whether you are using a spreadsheet or another program that keeps you on track.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I use Moneydance in an offline mode. I manually input all the transactions. It isn't a spreadsheet. It's a full-service personal finance program. Read the reviews on the internet.
TheHouse7
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by TheHouse7 »

YNAB 4 not cloud version
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pdavi21
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by pdavi21 »

Best budget spreadsheet is the one that has the total you spent (on EVERYTHING) every month
AND does NOT have funds assigned to categories.
If you assign it, you will spend it.
Better to graph historical expenses to identify trends and make decisions from them.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity." -Stephen Hawking
radiowave
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by radiowave »

daheld wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:34 pm
runner3081 wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:25 pm It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
This is my opinion as well. You can customize it to your needs. Plenty of people here will tell you to use Mint or other similar programs/sites, but I am just not in favor of giving a third party all of my banking information. We take one day every quarter or so and download all transactions and plug them into our expenses categories to see how we did. Do it monthly if you need more of a reminder.
I agree with both. The only way you can get your own unique analysis and outlook is to do it yourself in Excel. I've been rolling my own spreadsheet for several years now and include retirement simulations, overall analysis of funds and distribution, and can create "what if" scenarios as needed. I collect expense data in Quicken and summarize these in the overall spreadsheet, especially annualized expenditures.
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MikeG62
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by MikeG62 »

radiowave wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:12 pm
daheld wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:34 pm
runner3081 wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:25 pm It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
This is my opinion as well. You can customize it to your needs. Plenty of people here will tell you to use Mint or other similar programs/sites, but I am just not in favor of giving a third party all of my banking information. We take one day every quarter or so and download all transactions and plug them into our expenses categories to see how we did. Do it monthly if you need more of a reminder.
I agree with both. The only way you can get your own unique analysis and outlook is to do it yourself in Excel. I've been rolling my own spreadsheet for several years now and include retirement simulations, overall analysis of funds and distribution, and can create "what if" scenarios as needed. I collect expense data in Quicken and summarize these in the overall spreadsheet, especially annualized expenditures.
+3 - I have my built my own as well (multi-tabbed in excel). Works exactly the way I want and should I desire another cut of the data, I just build that in. Any canned software is going to force you to conform to it and not the other way around.
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blackfish
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by blackfish »

frugalmama wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 4:10 pm I manually enter into YNAB. It tells me how much I have left in my budget and enter in transactions daily. I think that whatever mode you go, the more frequently you enter in the transactions and look at your balances, the more likely you are to hit your target...I don't think it is whether you are using a spreadsheet or another program that keeps you on track.
I love YNAB. I do understand people not wanting to link their bank accounts to a 3rd party app, however, it has revolutionized my budgeting
Admiral
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Admiral »

Sorry but I disagree, you don't need to build one from scratch. There are approximately one zillion budgeting and finance templates for Google Sheets, and perhaps a zillion-minus-one for Excel. All are available for free with a quick Google search. (In Excel you can just download a template online w/i the application.)

These will come pre-populated with the various expense and income categories, and you can then adjust. Many of them on Google Sheets also have reporting functions.

Here's a good one:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =drive_web
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Random Musings
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Random Musings »

I did a budget & kept track of detail expenses on a spreadsheet for a year but then came to the realization that it took a bunch of time to input the data in and didn't affect my spending habits since I am a reasonable saver. There are always lumpy times to spend money over a year, school tax time, vacation times, around Christmas and of course the big-ticket item purchases (car, new appliances, furniture).

Now, I just quickly look at my savings rate each month as a percentage of gross income: Change in checking account adjusted for any disbursements into external (savings) accounts and a few one-off items (example - cash gifts not spent), withdrawals (rarely) from my taxable accounts for any large purchase(s), and 401K funding (I include the match, being a true purist ma). There is a timing issue with the checking account, but that becomes irrelevant over the long-term. That is my down and dirty net cash flow going into retirement savings. Trend it and look at longer-term average.

RM
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AMG79
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by AMG79 »

Admiral wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:19 pm
Here's a good one:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =drive_web
Can you please repost? The link is not working. At least for me.
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midareff
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by midareff »

daheld wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:34 pm
runner3081 wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:25 pm It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
This is my opinion as well. You can customize it to your needs. Plenty of people here will tell you to use Mint or other similar programs/sites, but I am just not in favor of giving a third party all of my banking information. We take one day every quarter or so and download all transactions and plug them into our expenses categories to see how we did. Do it monthly if you need more of a reminder.
Add me in on this. Excel is capable of so many things it is truly amazing. I manage all our finances from investments to taxable income to budget and more on excel sheets.
daheld
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by daheld »

midareff wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:14 pm
daheld wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:34 pm
runner3081 wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:25 pm It would take time, but building a spreadsheet would be the best.
This is my opinion as well. You can customize it to your needs. Plenty of people here will tell you to use Mint or other similar programs/sites, but I am just not in favor of giving a third party all of my banking information. We take one day every quarter or so and download all transactions and plug them into our expenses categories to see how we did. Do it monthly if you need more of a reminder.
Add me in on this. Excel is capable of so many things it is truly amazing. I manage all our finances from investments to taxable income to budget and more on excel sheets.
My wife is an engineer and much better at math than me. She created the Excel spreadsheet and it absolutely does everything we need it to. She created pivot tables and categories. We download transactions, copy and paste them into the sheet for that account, assign each transaction a category, and that amount is totaled on a summary sheet that shows each category and how much we spent in it that month.

Above all else, I am VERY uncomfortable with giving a third party all of my banking information. If Target, OPM, and banks can be hacked, so can some website that automatically categorizes every banking transaction I make. It is actually quite astounding to me that people use products like Mint.
JBTX
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by JBTX »

As I learned in corporate planning decades ago, the best budget level of detail is the same level of detail of how you track expenses.
Admiral
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Admiral »

AMG79 wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:59 pm
Admiral wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:19 pm
Here's a good one:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =drive_web
Can you please repost? The link is not working. At least for me.
You may/will need a Google account to access Google sheets. Here are some good free Excel ones:
https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/budgets.html
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TheAccountant
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by TheAccountant »

I’ve actually had clients offer to PayPal me money because they wanted their own copy of my custom budgeting spreadsheet.

It basically has the budget on the left, but the main part is a calendar that shows what money is coming in and out on any given day of the month.
classicindexer
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by classicindexer »

TheAccountant wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:00 pm I’ve actually had clients offer to PayPal me money because they wanted their own copy of my custom budgeting spreadsheet.

It basically has the budget on the left, but the main part is a calendar that shows what money is coming in and out on any given day of the month.
Are you willing to share it for a donation? I use PocketSmith.com because of their Forecast calendar which shows budgets and expenses on a calendar view and have been debating on switching to a spreadsheet. I'd like to re-create the calendar functionality in a spreadsheet.
TheOscarGuy
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by TheOscarGuy »

notmyhand wrote: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:33 am Hoping that manually entering transactions will keep us within our budget. I am looking for some great budgeting spreadsheets. Particularly looking for spreadsheets that will tell me how much I have left in each category, has a tab that shows useful charts, and can keep several months worth of data. Anyone found/created any that they love? Bonus points if it’s a google spreadsheet. Thank you for your help!
Is your objective to track everything? I personally keep my variable expenses separate than fixed expenses. Fixed expenses get a once every few months check, and if I see some fat there I cut those expenses. The variable expenses are the ones that I like to track and I use mint app for that.
hansatsu
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by hansatsu »

I moved from YNAB / MINT to Tiller (tillerhq.com). Very easy to use, flexible, without the bloat of typical personal finance apps. Just a service that auto-imports all your transactions and pushes them into Google Sheets, so you can categorize and do whatever data manipulation servers your needs.
Gufomel
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Gufomel »

Admiral wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:56 pm
AMG79 wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:59 pm
Admiral wrote: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:19 pm
Here's a good one:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =drive_web
Can you please repost? The link is not working. At least for me.
You may/will need a Google account to access Google sheets. Here are some good free Excel ones:
https://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/budgets.html
+1 for vertex42

I came here specifically to link to the vertex42 templates. I took their Yearly Budget Calculator template at the link below and modified it for my needs and made it more automated, but it’s the best budget spreadsheet that I found for my personal tastes after a long search a while back.

https://www.vertex42.com/Calculators/bu ... lator.html
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Harry Livermore »

I use a custom Excel spreadsheet as well. I modeled it after the AICP bid form that is used in commercial film production because it's relatively simple and easily expandable.
It has 8 pages of categories that get totaled on a home page. Income and cash savings is also totaled on the home page. Investments and net worth are not covered in this sheet at all, but there is a space where I put the current and previous years' savings and debt as a trend. On each page, there is a column for monthly, quarterly, and annual expense amounts, and a column for an annual "actual".
Spending categories are as follows:
1. Taxes
2. Housing, Food & Clothing
3. Financial
4. Cars
5. Utilities
6. Business
7. Education/Recreation
8. Health Care & Miscellaneous
Income categories are as follows:
1. Harry- Wage, Business, Business Cap Gains
2. Wife- Teacher salary
3. SFH Rental
4. Vacation Rental (net mgmt fees)
5. NON-IRA Income/Dividend/Cap Gains
Income is gross, and in the tax category I break out what goes to FICA, not just income tax.
I find that keeping it more simple, broad-strokes seems to work well for us. After a certain point, granularity gets in the way for me. Daily transactions are NOT recorded. There is a monthly "pocket money" line where lattes and random cash purchases go, versus having to jot down each and every time you spend. The actual for pocket money is based on cash ATM withdrawals. There are slots for periodic expenses as well.
As the year goes on, I fill in actuals as I can (when we get the septic tank pumped I know it's only once a year so I fill it in)
My wife and I do an annual review sometime in January. By then I have the business wrapped up and we get our AMEX annual statement (we run absolutely anything we can through AMEX cards) We look at previous years' budgets, the current estimates and actuals, and come up with ideas to reduce spending based on trends we see. I used to schedule a summer review but I got the distinct impression from my wife that I was pushing my luck there ;)
There is an income pie chart and an expense pie chart.
Gross income should equal total expenses and savings addition or withdrawal. Last year I had a discrepancy of $331.23.
We keep it relatively simple.
Cheers
Last edited by Harry Livermore on Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Tyler Aspect »

I wrote my own application last year to replace my usage of Quicken. My application "Cash Flow" doesn't keep track of investments with variable net asset values, but it can track income, expense, and budgets. It is capable of accurately tracking cash expenses.

It runs on Windows with Java runtime environment. Data entry is though a color highlighting text editor, while analysis screens are tabular.

Example

Code: Select all

# monthly food budget 300 dollars
Budget 2018 food 12 x 300.0

# next payment in June
Loan my Visa card
{
  05/04/18.2 phone, Republic Wireless, 15
  05/04/18.1 PayFrom our bank, 200.50
}
{ 0 => 200.50 (from 2018-04-01 to 2018-04-30)
  04/25/18.2 food, Safeway, 6.00
  04/25/18.1 shop, Target, 9.80
  04/19/18.1 dining, Panda Express, 80.20
  04/15/18.2 car, Shell (gas) 46.00
  04/15/18.1 food, Safeway, 58.5
}
https://sourceforge.net/projects/cash-flow

text editor
Image

one category view
Image

category view
Image

one account view
Image

launcher window
Image
Past result does not predict future performance. Mentioned investments may lose money. Contents are presented "AS IS" and any implied suitability for a particular purpose are disclaimed.
RL1013
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by RL1013 »

I have my own Google sheet. It has a Google form front end that I use in my mobile for easy data entry(speech to text conversion). The data entered through this form ends up in Google sheet. I create another tab in the same tracking workbook to summarize monthly expenses, income and investment by category. Yet another tab is a dynamic search area which I can search by month, shop name, category name, and even comments.

This has been a game changer for me. It gives me more control than mint or personal capital. For the first time in my life, I now know where my money is going and if I am on track to meet my investment goals.
InvestingGeek
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by InvestingGeek »

How do people track upcoming lumpsum expenses using their budget spreadsheets?

I do okay with budgeting on a spreadsheet for stuff that's in the month. But if I need to accumulate a bit in my checking for an upcoming large payment a few months down the line, I don't know how to keep track of it. Any ideas?
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by lindsayinsf »

InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:45 pm How do people track upcoming lumpsum expenses using their budget spreadsheets?

I do okay with budgeting on a spreadsheet for stuff that's in the month. But if I need to accumulate a bit in my checking for an upcoming large payment a few months down the line, I don't know how to keep track of it. Any ideas?
Not sure if you are referring to how to plan for the expense, or how to carry over the planning from month to month. For expenses that you know will occur and do not happen every month, turn it into a "monthly" expense by dividing the number of months it covers. For example, if you pay a bill once a year, the total divided by 12 months is your monthly expense for that item. If you want to carry over the planning from one month to the next, there are a few ways to do that. One is to set up a savings (or other checking) account and fund the savings account every month, then when the expense comes, withdraw from the savings to pay for it. Another way is to keep track in your spreadsheet by increasing the goal amount each month until you get to the total cost of the expense.
InvestingGeek
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by InvestingGeek »

thanks!
lindsayinsf wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:29 pm Another way is to keep track in your spreadsheet by increasing the goal amount each month until you get to the total cost of the expense.
Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
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lindsayinsf
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by lindsayinsf »

InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
Honestly I don't have much experience using a spreadsheet for this type of expense/a whole budget. I use a combination of separate savings accounts, credit cards, and the spreadsheet to track just a few categories that I want to keep an eye on. I am considering signing up for YNAB at the moment.

That being said, to track progress towards a goal, I wouldn't over complicate it to start. I would create a separate sheet or tab in the workbook and keep a running tally, in addition to a line item on each month's budget. So each time I funded (spent) a budgeted line item during the month, that amount would also get added to the running total.

Thinking of your bank account balances and budget balance as separate things might also help. Are you starting each month's budget with only the income needing to be budgeted? Or are you including your bank account balance? If the latter, you probably would want to have a "carryover" item to set aside money that you've already designated for these types of expenses in the previous month and keep adding to that each month.
classicindexer
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by classicindexer »

lindsayinsf wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:23 am
InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
Honestly I don't have much experience using a spreadsheet for this type of expense/a whole budget. I use a combination of separate savings accounts, credit cards, and the spreadsheet to track just a few categories that I want to keep an eye on. I am considering signing up for YNAB at the moment.

That being said, to track progress towards a goal, I wouldn't over complicate it to start. I would create a separate sheet or tab in the workbook and keep a running tally, in addition to a line item on each month's budget. So each time I funded (spent) a budgeted line item during the month, that amount would also get added to the running total.

Thinking of your bank account balances and budget balance as separate things might also help. Are you starting each month's budget with only the income needing to be budgeted? Or are you including your bank account balance? If the latter, you probably would want to have a "carryover" item to set aside money that you've already designated for these types of expenses in the previous month and keep adding to that each month.
I use YNAB and they call these True Expenses. In YNAB you can add a goal to each category to help fund expenses like this (save x$ by this month or fund x$ each month). Before YNAB I had a separate checking account for these quarterly or once a year bills + savings accounts. With YNAB we found that we can have just one larger checking account and YNAB shows us what categories have what $ amounts budgeted to them. Has been working well for us since we signed up YNAB a year ago. I tried spreadsheets before YNAB but wanted to be able to manually enter new transactions from a smartphone and YNAB's iPhone/iPad app works great and sync's with the budget that I can open on the web on a PC/Mac.
InvestingGeek
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by InvestingGeek »

lindsayinsf wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:23 am
InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
Honestly I don't have much experience using a spreadsheet for this type of expense/a whole budget. I use a combination of separate savings accounts, credit cards, and the spreadsheet to track just a few categories that I want to keep an eye on. I am considering signing up for YNAB at the moment.

That being said, to track progress towards a goal, I wouldn't over complicate it to start. I would create a separate sheet or tab in the workbook and keep a running tally, in addition to a line item on each month's budget. So each time I funded (spent) a budgeted line item during the month, that amount would also get added to the running total.

Thinking of your bank account balances and budget balance as separate things might also help. Are you starting each month's budget with only the income needing to be budgeted? Or are you including your bank account balance? If the latter, you probably would want to have a "carryover" item to set aside money that you've already designated for these types of expenses in the previous month and keep adding to that each month.
Yes, I start with the amount expected to come in that month. A separate sheet seems workable—I'll try it out.
classicindexer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:15 am
lindsayinsf wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:23 am
InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
Honestly I don't have much experience using a spreadsheet for this type of expense/a whole budget. I use a combination of separate savings accounts, credit cards, and the spreadsheet to track just a few categories that I want to keep an eye on. I am considering signing up for YNAB at the moment.

That being said, to track progress towards a goal, I wouldn't over complicate it to start. I would create a separate sheet or tab in the workbook and keep a running tally, in addition to a line item on each month's budget. So each time I funded (spent) a budgeted line item during the month, that amount would also get added to the running total.

Thinking of your bank account balances and budget balance as separate things might also help. Are you starting each month's budget with only the income needing to be budgeted? Or are you including your bank account balance? If the latter, you probably would want to have a "carryover" item to set aside money that you've already designated for these types of expenses in the previous month and keep adding to that each month.
I use YNAB and they call these True Expenses. In YNAB you can add a goal to each category to help fund expenses like this (save x$ by this month or fund x$ each month). Before YNAB I had a separate checking account for these quarterly or once a year bills + savings accounts. With YNAB we found that we can have just one larger checking account and YNAB shows us what categories have what $ amounts budgeted to them. Has been working well for us since we signed up YNAB a year ago. I tried spreadsheets before YNAB but wanted to be able to manually enter new transactions from a smartphone and YNAB's iPhone/iPad app works great and sync's with the budget that I can open on the web on a PC/Mac.
What I like about spreadsheets is the flexibility and the reliability aspects compared to a black-box software. I've had bad experiences with financial software that got gummed up and ended up corrupting invaluable data. And no way aside from manual copying to take the data out either. No such risk with private spreadsheets.
runner540
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by runner540 »

classicindexer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:15 am
lindsayinsf wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:23 am
InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
Honestly I don't have much experience using a spreadsheet for this type of expense/a whole budget. I use a combination of separate savings accounts, credit cards, and the spreadsheet to track just a few categories that I want to keep an eye on. I am considering signing up for YNAB at the moment.

That being said, to track progress towards a goal, I wouldn't over complicate it to start. I would create a separate sheet or tab in the workbook and keep a running tally, in addition to a line item on each month's budget. So each time I funded (spent) a budgeted line item during the month, that amount would also get added to the running total.

Thinking of your bank account balances and budget balance as separate things might also help. Are you starting each month's budget with only the income needing to be budgeted? Or are you including your bank account balance? If the latter, you probably would want to have a "carryover" item to set aside money that you've already designated for these types of expenses in the previous month and keep adding to that each month.
I use YNAB and they call these True Expenses. In YNAB you can add a goal to each category to help fund expenses like this (save x$ by this month or fund x$ each month). Before YNAB I had a separate checking account for these quarterly or once a year bills + savings accounts. With YNAB we found that we can have just one larger checking account and YNAB shows us what categories have what $ amounts budgeted to them. Has been working well for us since we signed up YNAB a year ago. I tried spreadsheets before YNAB but wanted to be able to manually enter new transactions from a smartphone and YNAB's iPhone/iPad app works great and sync's with the budget that I can open on the web on a PC/Mac.

I maintained an elaborate spreadsheet for years and recently switched to YNAB. Love it so much. Captures everything with a 1-2 day lag, and keeps us honest about sinking funds.
My spreadsheet did all the math but it was a lot of work to take the transactions from bank Files and classify them. And i didn’t do it that frequently to inform our decision making.
The best budget is the one you (and your spouse) will use frequently.

Edit: To OP, I wouldn’t use/trust a spreadsheet unless you built it yourself and can quality check it.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

here's a basic one (no bells and whistels) but should cover what you need/gets the job from the federal trade commission:

https://www.consumer.gov/sites/www.cons ... t_form.pdf

if you open that link and then download the form/pdf (adobe acrobat reader dc) you can enter the fields and it will automatically calculate.
It's "Stay" the course, not Stray the Course. Buy and Hold works. You should really try it sometime. Get a plan: www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Investment_policy_statement
acegolfer
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by acegolfer »

InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm thanks!
lindsayinsf wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:29 pm Another way is to keep track in your spreadsheet by increasing the goal amount each month until you get to the total cost of the expense.
Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
I'll explain how I budget property tax in my spreadsheet as an example. My 2020 property tax is due in 11/2020. Instead of realizing the whole expense in 11/2020, I prepay to myself and realize the expense each month (tax estimate/12).
InvestingGeek
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by InvestingGeek »

acegolfer wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:00 am
InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:51 pm thanks!
lindsayinsf wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:29 pm Another way is to keep track in your spreadsheet by increasing the goal amount each month until you get to the total cost of the expense.
Yes, more about how to track it on the spreadsheet? Say I have a few goal amounts and I'm funding a proportion of the total every month. The budgeted amount is the proportion I fund. Where in the sheet do I track the cumulative totals and the goals and the amount needed towards the goal?
I'll explain how I budget property tax in my spreadsheet as an example. My 2020 property tax is due in 11/2020. Instead of realizing the whole expense in 11/2020, I prepay to myself and realize the expense each month (tax estimate/12).
Yes, but where do you track your accumulated amount, if at all? A separate tab as suggested seems workable.
acegolfer
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by acegolfer »

InvestingGeek wrote: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:16 am Yes, but where do you track your accumulated amount, if at all? A separate tab as suggested seems workable.
I use "Pivot Table" to aggregate all transactions by category/payee.
Jags4186
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Re: Best budget spreadsheet?

Post by Jags4186 »

InvestingGeek wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:45 pm How do people track upcoming lumpsum expenses using their budget spreadsheets?

I do okay with budgeting on a spreadsheet for stuff that's in the month. But if I need to accumulate a bit in my checking for an upcoming large payment a few months down the line, I don't know how to keep track of it. Any ideas?
Here is how my wife and I do it.

1) You need to develop an annual spending plan. We’ve broken down our spending into 20 categories.
2) Divide each of your categories by 12
3) Carry over unused or overused balances

So, for example, our annual auto insurance is about $2400 and is due in June. Each month I have $200 assigned to car insurance. When June comes up I have -$1200 in the category. After I pay it I am $1200 over in the category. By the time January rolls around I am even at $2400 budgeted, $2400 spent.

I also budget $2400 annually for car repairs and maintenance. It’s very possible I don’t use most of this money. It’s also possible I go over. But it’s a rough guide.

If you keep a months worth of expenses in your checking account, it will help with any peeks and valleys you encounter. How this ideally works is, if your annualized budget is $60,000 that means your monthly spending is $5,000. Start each month with $10,000 in your checking account. At the end of the month sweep anything additional into your savings/investments.
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