I am not going to claim to have a novel idea here because, to me, there is only one universal tip for scaling back on your expenses: Don’t spend money on shit you don’t need.
Groundbreaking. I know.
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Not to mention, I am not typically the voice of reason when it comes to saving. I’m more the person who fills up her Amazon cart on Sunday mornings with toys that would now be considered “retro”. I mean, we’re talking Newtons Cradles, Pin Arts, Hoberman Spheres, Rubik’s Cubes, Gyroscopes — the whole nine.
And simply because I am fucking ridiculous and should not be left unattended.
But, the silver lining is that I did not hit that “Buy Now” button. No. I mustered up every ounce of strength and impulse control that I had and moved that money into an ‘untouchable’ savings account.
I died a little inside, but I am better for it. Or, my bank account is, rather.
Alas, YOU NEED TO FUCKIN’ BUDGET.
I do, however, have a good system for budgeting my monthly expenses. And, considering my degree and career field is in accounting, I would say that I am reasonably knowledgeable. Also, and you’ll thank me later, but I don’t speak “accountant”. So, my spreadsheet is user friendly, and I’ve made it very basic.
Many of my personal friends have adopted it for their own finances and because of this, I decided it might be of some use to others.
If not, please carry on with your day.
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Basically, you just have to remember that an expense is a negative amount (i.e. when you buy those new shoes you’ve been eying) you would key in “-50.00” and when you get an inheritance, or there’s a bank error in your favor, it is a positive amount, so, you key in “100.00“.
I like to see my next 9 – 12 weeks so this spreadsheet reflects that.
Initially, you will need to manually enter your starting balance but will not need to alter the starting balance again. Also, the headings for each week are based on a weekly pay day of Friday but can be changed to any date and/or date range that you get paid.
Your paycheck amount will need to be entered under “deposit” —where $325 is listed on this dummy budget— and Excel will calculate the rest, provided all of your expenses and income are referenced in the corresponding weeks.
And violà! A simple budget.
If this is as clear as mud, feel free to ask questions!