Saturday, January 10, 2009

Family budget spreadsheet

Most people know they should be keeping a budget but still don't. I fell into that category for a while, but my wife and I now use a Google spreadsheet to do our budget. We think it works great. We especially like it because the document is kept "in the cloud" instead of on one of our computers. I can edit it from the office or at home, and she can edit it from her Mac. I am providing a blank copy of the budget that you are free to view, download, copy, and modify.
  • Go here to just view the spreadsheet (no login required)
  • Go here to save yourself a copy to play with (login to Google Docs required)

  • This spreadsheet has evolved during our marriage. It originated as the budget spreadsheet from my personal finance class at BYU, but has been totally reworked along the way. Bryan Sudweeks, the instructor for that class, made the resources from the class publicly available. You can go to the root directory and look around, or look at lecture presentations, class readings, or teaching tools. The budget is a teaching tool. Dr. Sudweeks put together the resources in a more web-friendly format here.

    Some of you might be saying (as my dad once told me) that they already have fancy computer programs to do all this for you. This is true. I have played with Microsoft Money and always intend to learn GnuCash. However, the feature I like most about using a Google spreadsheet is that it is not tied to a single computer. Some of you might suggest a site like Mint.com. The Google spreadsheet still requires manual entry of information, and only contains entered notes and dollar amounts. No account numbers. I am not sure I trust Mint (or any other site) with all my account information. Maybe I should check it out anyway.

    Feel free to give me feedback on the budget spreadsheet, share other budgeting resources, or correct my understanding of the features available from existing software.

    2 comments:

    becahdawn said...

    I've recently discovered Mint.com and I really like it. I don't think you have to connect it to bank accounts, but it's definitely helpful to do so. We both use credit or debit cards for pretty much every purchase and that translates to never manually entering expenditures. We just log in to Mint, have it sync with the accounts, tag items (though Mint does a good job with this automatically and it remembers categories for frequent stores). It tracks monthly spending and gives you a warning if you're getting close to your limit for the month. It's pretty sleek, it's free, and it isn't stored on your computer. Definitely worth checking out!

    George said...

    I think Mint.com guide is really with and very helpful in tracking up all your incomes and expenses..and by giving monthly accounts about profit and loss it also helps in saving your money..