Starter Budgeting Spreadsheet (Part 2)

In our last post we talked about the Starter Budgeting Spreadsheet. Since this may be the first time you are doing any sort of budgeting, I wanted to provide clear and concise steps to get you started! By the end of this post I know you will be much more comfortable and confident with the process!

Goal for this Week: Review September 2017 income and expenses

Resources Needed: Budgeting Spreadsheet and an account with Mint.com (Sophie’s Top 5 Reasons for Using Mint.com)

Estimated Time: One hour or less

Let’s begin!

  1. Open up your editable copy of the starter budgeting spreadsheet in Google Drive or Excel.
  2. Login to your Mint.com account. Open the Transactions page and export all transactions via the link at the bottom of the page.
  3. The Mint.com export comes in .csv format, you can open this with either with Google Spreadsheets or Excel. Then open your starter budgeting spreadsheet in an adjacent window for easy access.
  4. Manually copy and paste each transaction from September to the appropriate section of your spreadsheet. See how to format the spreadsheet in the “Sample Version” tab of the Starter Budgeting Spreadsheet or in the screenshot below.
  5. Finally, spend a few minutes reviewing the end result. The totals in Column C will automatically add up due to embedded formulas, but it is good to double check that all of your entries are being “summed” correctly.
  6. If you have any trouble using the spreadsheet or find the formulas are not working, please feel free to Contact Me! As we talked about last week, remember that it is a work in progress, and I bet you can quickly find ways to update the spreadsheet to make it easier to use. I encourage you to make it your own!

Congratulations! You are done with September’s budgeting spreadsheet!

Look at the totals for each category and your final profit or loss for the month.

Does it surprise you? Were there any categories that you spent more or less than you expected? I am sure right away you can identify some areas that you could save in for next month!

As you get more comfortable reviewing your finances each month, I strongly recommend updating the spreadsheet to fit your lifestyle. For example, it might be helpful to add new categories in Column A such as public transportation costs, student loan repayments, or specific savings goals for travel or weddings.

Later we will learn how to analyze and review the results in detail to help you confidently create a budget that fits your spending habits and savings goals. Please follow Sophie Explains on Facebook for the latest updates!

Note on adding transactions manually: Although it seems tedious to copy and paste each value of every transaction monthly, I find it essential to identify any red flags, such as recurring payments you thought you had cancelled or abnormal credit card purchases.

Keep in mind that manually adding each transaction can lead to error (as we are only human). Use a method that helps you identify which transactions you’ve transferred to your budget. My preferred method is to highlight rows on the exported Mint.com spreadsheet once I have added them to my budget so I do not miss or duplicate any transactions. Good luck!

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