What is a budget?
A budget helps you stay on track with your monthly spending by allowing you to set a target or cap on the spending for a specific category. Budgeting is a useful tool to guide your spending throughout the month and make sure you're not spending more than you're earning. By using the budgeting feature in the Foundation Template you can get a sense of how much money would be left over if you earn as much as you plan to earn and spend as much as you plan to spend. It's a really useful planning tool and can help you save money or pay down debt.
How to set up a budget
In the Foundation Template open the Categories sheet and enter the budget amounts for each category in column E. Each subsequent month will automatically be populated with the budgeted amount in column E for that category.
Once you’ve set the budget amounts on the Categories sheet you can start categorizing transactions and reviewing the Monthly and Yearly Budget tabs. Based on those budget view sheets you can fine tune your budget amounts for each category on the Categories sheet.
You can change a category’s budget amount for a specific month by directly editing the value for that month. Be aware that months after that change will also inherit the new budget value.
How much should I budget?
If you're not sure how much to budget for a specific category you can review the actuals for last month if you've got last month's data categorized. If last month was a typical month you can just use this for your monthly budget target for the category. If it was an abnormal month, just use your best guess based on that number or look at another month's data.
You can use the Monthly Budget sheet and change the months in the top right to review data from different months. Review column G the Actuals column for each category.
Choose a different start month
You can change the year’s budgeting start month by editing the date in cell E1 to be the first day of the month in which you want the budget year to start. For example, if you want your budget year to start in September 2019 you would enter 9/1/2019 into cell E1.
The rest of the year (12 months) following Sept 2019 will automatically populate. This is nice if you just want to start budgeting this month going forward.
Review your Monthly Budget
The Monthly Budget sheet gives you a breakdown of planned vs actual spending and income as well as a planned vs actual cash flow analysis.
Visualize your budget by type, group, and category. You can quickly see what’s remaining for a category or if you’ve gone over.
Each group’s line also indicates the % of your expense budget that’s allocated to that group.
Customize the view of the data on this sheet by using the controls in the upper right. You can view the data for the previous year and month here. If there are no budget periods configured for the time frame on the Categories sheet you will still see your actuals for that period.
Review your Yearly Budget
You can use the Yearly Budget view to see your entire year’s budget, actuals, and available. Use this dashboard for a month over month view of your spending and budget comparison. Analyze your cash flow for the entire year based on the budget amounts you set on the Categories sheet.
You can view a different 12 month period of budgets and data using the controls in the upper right. Keep in mind this is a visualization of your data based on the start month and number of budget months that are configured on the Categories sheet.
Resetting the cascading budget feature
The cascading budget feature on the Categories sheet is a simple formula that pulls in the same value that is in the previous cell in the same row. By default each budget month starting in column F has this simple formula for each category row.
If you find that one of your category rows does not have the cascading feature (you inserted a row) or you need to reset it follow these steps:
Select the cell where you want to use the budget amount from a previous cell in the same row
Enter =[previous cell] For example, in cell F3 the formula would be =E3.
Use the quick fill square to drag this simple formula across to the right
I don't see the Monthly or Yearly Budget sheets
If you don't see the Monthly or Yearly Budget sheets in your Foundation Template you may need to unhide them.
In Google Sheets
Open the View menu at the top of your Google Sheet
Choose "Hidden sheets"
Click on "Show Monthly Budget" or "Show Yearly Budget"
In Microsoft Excel
Right click any tab along the bottom in your workbook
Select "Monthly Budget" or "Yearly Budget" from the list