In designing this budget template my goal was to keep it as simple to understand and use as possible. You will need Excel 2010. To get started, download the Simple Budget template and open the file. Upon opening the file, if prompted by excel you will need to enable macros to benefit from some of the automated functions.
With the price of electricity rising, I have considered investing in a grid connected solar power system for my home. I developed a solar calculator to shine some light upon whether a grid connected solar power system for my home would be a good investment. You may also find the solar calculator useful, so I provide it for download: Solar Calculator (Excel) . The grey fields are variable and everything else works through a formula. I have found there are many variables when it comes to predicting whether a solar installation will pay off. That is part of the fun of the solar calculator because you can play with the variables to see what impact they have.
A budget is a tool to help you live within your means. With a budget you can allocate your money towards what will be spent and what will be saved for the future. A simple budget lists and compares all your income and your expenses to work out how much is left over. A typical example can be seen in the picture below.
The budget shown above was developed with Microsoft Excel and is available for download here. For many people a simple budget such as the one above will do. However, if you want to follow your money more closely, advanced budget software provides features such as:
- Tracking actual income and expenses against budgeted amounts
- Charts for visually tracking performance,
- Ability to update your budget from your smart phone when you make purchases.
Of course, whether you are budgeting with pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or a smart phone with the latest software, keeping a budget is still about sensibly managing money coming in and going out.