Looking for a way to get your finances organized and under control? Before you spend money on accounting or personal finance software, give a spreadsheet a try. Today’s spreadsheets are pretty powerful, with each file (or ‘workbook’) holding multiple sheets and unimaginably large amounts of data.
With that said, the prospect of building your own spreadsheet solution from scratch can be daunting. Not too mention the fact that no one wants to invest their time only to find out they’ve simply re-invented the wheel and created something that was already available. So, before you strike out on your own, take a look at these Excel Spreadsheet Freebies.
Don’t have Excel and don’t want to go buy it? No worries! Check out Open Office, the Open Source (and FREE!) office suite. Open Office Calc is a spreadsheet client like Excel, and will even open and save spreadsheets in the Excel format.
Pear Budget: Note: This downloads as a zip file, so you will need to unzip it with a utility such as WinZip or PeaZip before being able to use the workbook.
The big kid on the block when it comes to freebie Excel budgeting. The first sheet is a ‘Start Here’ page, an intro to the capabilities of the workbook. Read it, and reference it when you get started. The very last sheet is an example month, so you’ll know what the data should look like when you enter it.
Enter Regular, Irregular, and Variable expenses on the start page and they’ll be carried into the rest of the months for you throughout the workbook. To use, you keep your receipts and enter them into the appropriate categories for the appropriate day on the sheet for the current month. There are also places to enter your income throughout the month, so you can check inflow and outflow. To check your progress, there’s an analysis sheet at the end.
Foxway Budget Tracker Spreadsheet: Note: This downloads as budgettracker.xlr instead of an Excel readable .xls file. To fix this, click the download link, and in the pop-up box that asks you where you want to save the item, change the R to an S and save like you normally would.
The whole year is on one sheet, unlike Pear Budget which has a sheet for each month. Also, this workbook only deals with outbound money and has no capability to compare it to income. The default setting is to have you enter the budgeted amount and the amount spent for each item every month, but of course you can copy and paste information about recurring debts or bills to keep from retyping it. Each month calculates a monthly difference and a yearly difference for each line item ( i.e. mortgage, groceries, etc), and if you scroll down there is a sum line showing total amount budgeted, total amount spent, and again monthly and yearly differences.
Savings Goals Spreadsheet: Enter your current bank account balance in the cell indicated. Enter three (or more) savings goals with a dollar amount, start date, and end date for each. The spreadsheet calculates how much you should be saving per day for each goal and from that calculates how much money you should have set aside and how much money in your account is left to spend any time you open the spreadsheet. This, of course, assumes that you update the ‘bank account’ cell when you open the sheet to check on your savings goals.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually show you how much you should be setting aside each day, week, etc. It’s easy to figure out, though: for each goal, set the start date for today and the end date for whenever you need the money. The amount calculated is the amount you should be saving each day for your goal. Multiply that by 7 to know how much to set aside every week.
Of Zen and Computing Budget Sheet: Exceptionally simple! Only one sheet, so you might want to copy the sheet for each month. First, enter income. Next, enter fixed expenses and variable expenses. Don’t forget to include your current savings as a fixed or variable expense too! The spreadsheet calculates your total expenses and your resulting disposable income based on the information you’ve entered.
It’s Your Money Spreadsheets: Very large assortment of spreadsheets, but the one I found most interesting is the Price Book version 1.1 which calculates cost per quantity unit (i.e. per bagel) AND cost per weight unit (i.e. per ounce). Also nice is that this file is an Excel template, not just a worksheet, so when you download it you’ll notice it’s name is PriceBook.xlt. All this means is that any time you click on PriceBook.xlt, Excel creates a new spreadsheet for you to customize to your liking rather than editing the original file. So click it once and it creates a new workbook for you: add in all your prices for, say, garden supplies and save the file as GardeningPrices.xls. Opening GardeningPrices.xls will take you to your customized price book, but opening PriceBook.xlt will create a brand new workbook for you to customize with something else, like groceries or craft supplies.
You don’t have to use multiple books if you don’t want to, though. There are four blank sheets and an example sheet you can use after just one click on PriceBook.xlt, so you could have one Price Book file and have separate sheets for food, household items, craft items, etc.
Family, Home Budget Worksheet: Again, all the months are on one sheet here. The nice thing about this particular workbook is that the expenses are broken out by whether they are deductible or not, the first time I’d seen that in a freebie Excel sheet. By reminding you that certain expenses are deductible when you enter them into the sheet, you’re more likely to keep the receipts and be able to itemize those costs when tax time hits.
Know of some other free spreadsheets out there that you are using for your budgeting? Let us know…we’d love to hear about them.