Keeping a Budget Book – Free Excel Template

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“There’s so much month left at the end of the money.” Who does not know this? Almost everyone has experienced this at one time or another. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could put money aside instead? What can you save for your retirement, dream vacation, or other money? But what is the best way to find out how and where you can reduce your expenses? It’s very simple. Start keeping a budget book today and download the free Excel template.

What is a budget book?

All income and expenses are recorded in it. These are then subdivided by month and, if necessary, by category, and summarized for an entire year. This gives you an overview of your own financial situation. This helps to set budgets, save and thus invest more money, among other things.

The budget book has been around for more than 2,000 years. It was used for the organization of all things related to the household. An overview of harvests, stocks, employee numbers, etc. were recorded there.

After you have recorded your data for a year, the next step is to evaluate it. Through cost transparency, you can identify potential savings. Only when you see your expenses in black and white will you be able to recognize your unnecessary expenditures. By changing your consumption behavior, you can then save a lot of money. You can then use this money to increase your savings rate.

budget-book

Why should I keep a budget book?

“There’s so much month left at the end of the money.” Who doesn’t know this? Through advertising and other things, we let ourselves be seduced into excessive consumption. These little things add up to a considerable sum in a month or year. Many people are not even aware of how much money they spend on these things. A coffee here, or a sweet there can add up quite nicely in the end.

Most people have no idea what they spend their money on. If people don’t write down every single expense, they lose track of it very quickly. Only if you write this down somewhere, you have a chance to analyze your expenses. Keeping a budget book is a great way to do this.

Of course, it takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. If you want to change your spending, the first step is to start keeping a budget book today.

With this, you are then able to plan your finances for the long term. If you create proper budgets, then it is much easier to put money aside for a vacation or another purchase. Using multiple bank accounts system can also help you with this.

What types of budget books are there?

My grandma always had a little notebook where she wrote down all her daily expenses. She even had categories for her expenses. When I was a teenager, I had my first contact with a budget book and a few years later I also started with it.

I have been keeping one for more than 20 years. At that time there were not so many possibilities and writing it down on paper was not my thing. That’s why I decided to use Excel and also created this free template.

Of course, today there are also smartphone apps with which you can record your daily expenses automatically. I’ve taken a look at them and put together a few for you here. Many functions are only available in the paid version, but in the long run this small investment pays off.

  • Expense Manager, Money Tracke‪r‬
  • Monefy – Expense Manager
  • Easy Home Finance
  • Money Manager

I now also use an app to track my spending and then enter the data into my budget book excel template.

Our Free Budget Book Excel Template

It is up to you how accurately you enter your income and expenses in the table. You can do it cent-exactly and really note every expense, or you can round the amounts roughly. I prefer to enter everything exactly. An app can also help you with this.

To get a better overview we have divided the table into different categories. In the Excel template the budget book is divided into the following categories and then subdivided.

In the Income section, you record your earnings. This can be e.g. salary, pension, interest or dividends.

Next up are the fixed costs. For the sake of clarity, this block is divided into the following categories. Housing, investment, insurance, mobility (fixed) and other contracts. To find out these costs the easiest way, it is best to go through your bank statements of the last months. Then this part is also filled quite quickly.

The most difficult thing is to find out the variable expenses, such as food, clothes, vacation, going out and so on. If you pay a lot with a credit card, then it is easier to find out the expenses. For cash expenses, the only thing that helps you is to write them down regularly.

budget-book-excel-template-big

What helps you to save money?

Only if you have an overview of your finances, you can reduce your costs. Only when you recognize the savings potential, you can change something in your expenses. Therefore, it is best to start today and download the free Excel template right away. Enter your income and expenses for the last year or years.

1. Check your expenses!

After you have filled the table, you need to evaluate your expenses. To do this, go through all your expenses and see if there is anything you can save. For example, you could ask yourself the following questions. Was this expense really necessary? Could I perhaps have purchased this more cheaply? In addition, you should question your habits. Do I need to be a takeaway coffee every day before work? At the end of the month, it’s these small expenses that add up neatly.

2. Set budgets

To get your expenses under control, it can be useful to set budgets. It is best to work with fixed amounts or percentages of your income. Try to keep these sums realistic, otherwise you will soon be frustrated. Don’t be too hard on yourself and please allow yourself money for fun, vacation and consumption.

What might these budgets look like, for example? I find it easier to work with annual budgets, because some months there are simply additional expenses and other months less is spent.

Variable expensesBudget per yearBudget per month
Food$7,200$600
Clothing$2,400$200
Home furnishings$1,200$100
Going out (bar, cinema,…)$2,400$200
Vacation$3,600$300
Donations$1,200$100

3. Develop an account system to save

An bank account system can help you limit your expenses. What does this mean? It means that in addition to your salary account, you create other sub-accounts. You then transfer a fixed sum to this accounts every month. There are many different possibilities how such a system can look like. You can see one possibility in the following picture.

If you want to learn more about it, then just read about the multiple bank accounts system.

Bank-account-system-savings-money-investment

What’s the best thing to do with the money you save?

This money should be invested. It is up to each person how they invest their money. However, the easiest way is to set up monthly savings plans. For example, you can invest in ETFs, stocks, REITs, bonds, P2P loans, cryptocurrencies or similar. Another option could be for you to save money for a property. It is best to set up a separate account for this purpose as well.

If you would like to know how the various financial investments have developed in recent years, please read the blog post.

First, however, you should accumulate a financial cushion of about 3 to 6 net income in a cash account before investing elsewhere. This money is meant for emergencies, for example, if you become unemployed or your car breaks down.

The earlier you start saving, the more the compound interest effect takes place. This is very crucial for your long-term asset accumulation. Start saving as early as possible so that you can fulfill your goals and dreams.

Summary

If you want to get your expenses under control, then the budget book is a very good tool. Of course, you need to invest a little time and enter your data and then set budgets. If you then develop an account system, it will take a little longer.

But this effort is worth it. It’s the only way to identify potential savings and develop your own personal financial plan. This will then bring you a good deal closer to your goals and dreams.

When you receive your first interest or dividends from your investments, you will see that this little effort was worth it. I promise you that you will have fun saving and investing money at the very latest and I wish you a lot of fun!

I hope you enjoyed the blog post and I look forward to your feedback. Please leave a comment if you liked the article or if you want to give constructive criticism. Thank you very much!


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