Hey everyone, today, I’d like to talk about something we all know we should do but, we seldom find the drive or know how to get done. That’s, creating a budget. The harsh reality is that there are few budgeting courses in high schools and, we often simply learn from our mistakes. However, doing something as simple as creating a budgeting spreadsheet can go a long way as you strive for financial stability! That being said, here is a step by step tutorial on how to create the ultimate budgeting spreadsheet. Once you’ve got your’s completed, I’m going to help you put it into action!
How To Create A Budget Spreadsheet
Step #1: Start A Google Drive Spreadsheet: Google Drive is my favorite program for just about everything when it comes to storing data. To get started, simply go to http://drive.google.com/. If you already have any type of Google Account(Gmail, Google+, ect..), simply log in using your information. In the left sidebar, you will see a red button titled “Create”. Click this button, then click “Spreadsheet” to start your budgeting sheet.
Step #2: Give Your Sheets Titles: Now, it’s time to give your spreadsheet a title so that you can easily find it in your Google Drive profile. In the top left hand corner of your spreadsheet you will see the words, “Untitled Spreadsheet”. Simply click on these words. When you click, a pop up box will open with an area to input the spreadsheet title you would like. I named mine Ultimate budgeting spreadsheet. Type your title into the available box and click save. Once you do so, your spreadsheet will now have a title.
Step #3: Add Sheets To Your Document - The Ultimate budgeting spreadsheet is a big title. For your spreadsheet to earn it’s name, it’s going to need to cover a few different things. It will need to track your monthly bills, debts, income and even your monthly savings and debt payoff goals. To live up to the name “Ultimate Budgeting Spreadsheet”, your spreadsheet is going to need four sheets. Your original document will only come with one sheet. So, at the bottom of the page, you will see a gray plus sign. Click this plus sign 3 times to add 3 more pages!
Step #4: Give Your New Sheets A Name: When you add your new sheets, to the document, they will be created with the default names “Sheet 1″, “Sheet 2″, “Sheet 3″ and “Sheet 4″. To make it easier to find data within the sheets, it’s going to be best to give them each a new name. To do so, click on the small arrow that is pointing down in the tab for that sheet. Now, click “Rename”. Once you click “Rename”, A field will open in the corresponding tab. Type the sheet name into this field. Your 4 sheet names should be “Monthly Bills”, “Debts”, “Income” and “Goals”.
Step #5: Creating The Titles For Your First Sheet Sheets: Now, each of your sheets is going to be organized by the titles typed into the first row. I like making sure my titles are always visible no matter how far I scroll. To do so, click on the “1″ to the far left of the first row in the spreadsheet. This should highlight the entire first row for you. Now, click “View” at the top of your document. Now click “Freeze Rows” and choose the option “Freeze 1 Row”. Now, no matter how far down you scroll, row 1 will be in view. Now, let’s give the rows for this sheet a title. In the first column of row 1, type “Bill”. In the second type “Amount Owed” and in the third “Due Date”.
Step #6: Creating Titles For The Debts Sheet: To make it easier to scroll, start by using what you learned in step 5 to freeze row #1. Once the row has been frozen, it’s time to give each of your columns a title. This time, the titles will be associated with what you need to track when it comes to your debts. Therefore, starting with the first column in row 1, type the following titles, “Lender”, “Account Number”, “Balance”, “Minimum Payment”, “Interest Rate” and “Pay To Address/URL”. Now your debt sheet is ready to track your debts to help you get them paid off!
Step #7: Creating Titles For The Monthly Income Sheet: Most households have more than 1 income. Therefore, it is important to track all sources of income to be sure that you have a good understanding of what you’re working with on a monthly basis. So, in this sheet, do the same thing you did in the last 2 to freeze the first row. Once the row has been frozen, it’s time to add the titles that will track your income sources starting in the first column of the first row, “Income Source”, “Amount” and “Pay Date”.
Step #8: Creating Titles For Your Goals Sheet: Every good financial plan or budgeting plan includes goals that include the amount of debt to pay off if you have any and, the amount of savings that you plan to put away each month. Tracking your goals will help you stay on top of achieving financial stability. So, the titles in this sheet are designed to help you create and keep track of your goals. Starting with the first cell in the first row, type “Debt”, “Payment Goal” and “Actual Payment”. Now, skip a cell and type “Savings Total”, “Monthly Savings Goal” and “Amount Saved Last Month”.
Step #9: Filling Out Your Monthly Bills Sheet: Now it’s time to really get to know where you stand financially. It’s time to start filling out your budget spreadsheet. Of course you want to start with the first sheet, your monthly bills. Get your hands on the paper copy for any bill you pay on a monthly basis including but not limited to rent/mortgage, auto loans, auto insurance, medical bills, electricity, cable, gas, cell phones, ect… Now, add in the information using each row for the next bill. Once you’ve added all your paper bills, it’s time to start thinking about other necessities. Although, you won’t get a bill in the mail for food, it is something you need. The same goes for gas in your car. Think of all the necessities you actually need every month and add them to your spreadsheet. For the due date column, simply type in N/A for these types of expenses.
Step #10: Adding Up Your Bills: I’m one of those people that really like to have a good idea of my total monthly expenses. Having a total on your expenses will also help you to figure out how much extra fund you have that can help you to meet your goals! Doing it is very simple with a Google Spreadsheet. Start by typing the word “Total” in the first cell of the row below your last bill. Now, in the “Monthly Payment” column, type “=sum(” and click your first bill payment amount. Now, drag your mouse to the last payment amount and your cell should look like this: “=sum(B2:B?” the question mark resembling the row number of your final bill. Now end the string by typing the “)” key and the “enter” key. If you’ve entered your equation properly, your spreadsheet will now show you the total amount you pay in monthly expenses.
Step #11: Filling out Your Debts Spreadsheet: Bills and debts are two completely different things which is why I suggest having both sheets in your ultimate budget spreadsheet. Debts are bills that are attached to a pay off date. When each debt is paid off, you are one step closer to financial freedom. That being said, now, it’s time to add your debts. Sort through your bills and look for any bill that is considered a debt such as a credit card bill, mortgage bill, auto loan bill, ect… Now, fill out each row with the information that you find on your bills. Make sure to fill out each row completely as, all information in the spreadsheet will be needed at some point in a great financial plan.
First, click the “Data” option in the menu bar across the top of your spreadsheet. Now choose “Sort Range”. Now a box should pop up that looks like the box in the center of the image to the left. The first variable will be the column you would like to sort by. In this case, choose “Column E”. Now, you want to sort from highest cost to lowest. Therefore, choose the option that allows you to sort “Z to A”. When you click save, your spreadsheet will sort your debts from highest interest rate to lowest. Your highest interest rate debt is your top priority because this is the debt that will cost the most in the long run. If you want to get even more detailed, you can use the equation in step ten to add up your total debts as well! I like to do it as I’m a very visual guy and seeing my total debt helps to get me pumped up about paying it off.
Step #13: Adding Your Monthly Income: Your income is obviously a huge factor when it comes to your budget so, it’s important to track all sources of your income in your spreadsheet. Simply go to your monthly income sheet and fill out the rows with all of your income sources. Some examples of income sources are salary, advertising income from your blog, side work, alimony, ect… Even if you mow Joe’s lawn down the street once every two weeks, you should add that into your monthly income total. When it comes to creating financial stability for yourself, every penny counts! Also, it is best to use step #10 on this sheet as well. This will help you to figure out how much money you have left over at the end of each month to work on your debts and goals.
Step #14: Adding Your Debts To Your Goals Sheet: It is going to be pretty hard to make goals around your debts if you don’t have your debts in view. Therefore, Add your debt information into your goals sheet. Start by filling out the “Debt” and “Payment Goal” columns using the information that’s already easily available to you in your “Debts” sheet. For the payment goals, enter your minimum payments for now. A simple way to add this information is to highlight the information you would like to add and hold down the “ctrl” key and the “c” key at the same time for 2 seconds. Now, go to the Goals sheet and click on the cell right below the description of the data you copied and hold down the “ctrl” key and the “v” key until you see the data fill the cells in your sheet.
Step #15: Adding Your Total Expendable Funds To Your Goals Sheet: Knowing how much available funds you have after you pay for your monthly necessities will help you to create realistic goals for yourself. To figure out how much money you have left over at the end of the month, skip one row from the last debt row in your “Goals” sheet. In the first cell of the row, type “Total Expendable”. In the cell directly to the right, type in the following equation “=(Your Monthly Income Total)+(Your Monthly Expense Total)”. For an example of what this should look like, please see the image to the left.
Step #16: Coming Up With Realistic Savings Goals: Although, I suggest putting 50% of your expendable resources into savings, I would strongly suggest putting at least 30% away. There is a simple equation that will display your savings goal based on the percentage of expendable income you would like to save and the amount of it that is available. In the cell below the “Savings Goal” title cell, type “=”. Now click on your total expendable income and type the following “*50%”. If you choose to save 30%, simply replace 50 with 30. If your cell looks like the image to the left, you’ve got it! Go ahead and hit “enter” and your ultimate budget spreadsheet will now tell you how much money you should be saving every month.
Step #15: Calculating What You Have Left After Savings: Knowing what you have available after savings will help you to create debt goals as well as come up with a good, fun budget! That’s right, no financial plan is complete without room to have fun! To find out how much money you have left after savings, go to the sell directly below the “Total Expendable” cell and type “After Savings”. In the cell directly to the right type “=” and click on the cell with your expendable income total. Now type the minus sign(-) and click on the cell with your savings goal total. If your new cell looks like the cell in the image to the left, you did it correct! Click enter and your budget spreadsheet will come up with your total after savings.
Step #15: Coming Up With A Fun Budget: As a human being, you have a natural desire to spend money on things that you would consider to be fun. Don’t worry, I do too! Anyway, our natural urges to spend often exceed what we should however, without a fun budget, you’re never quite sure if that is the case for you. Directly below your “After Savings” cell, type in “Fun Budget”. Based on how quickly you would like to pay off your debts and your average spending habits, come up with a fun budget that will cause you to be more frugal yet, allow you the opportunity to have a good time once or twice a week. Now, type that total you come up with in the cell directly to the right.
Step #16: Coming Up With The Total Extra Funds Total For Your Debt Goals: Now, let’s come up with the amount of money that you have to work on your debt goals. To do so, in the cell directly below your fun budget cell, type “Debt Goal Funds”. In the cell directly to the right type “=” and click your after savings total. Now type in the minus sign(-) and click your fun budget total. If your equation in your cell looks like the equation in the image to the left, click enter and your budget spreadsheet will tell you how much extra funds you have available to work on your debt goals.
Step #17: Allocating Extra Funds To Your Highest Priority Debt: As you come up with your debt goals, I know your ultimate goal will be to pay all of your debts off. However, it’s important to remember that the fastest way to get all of your debts paid off is to allocate all of your extra funds for the purpose to your highest interest rate debt. As you pay off that debt, the extra funds that become available will help you to pay off your other debts even faster. This is called the debt stacking method. All that being said, in all of your payment goals with the exception of your highest interest rate debt should be the minimum payments for those debts. In the cell for your highest interest rate debt, type the following “=(Your Minimum Payment)+” and click on the cell with your total debt goal funds. If the equation looks like the equation in the image above, hit “enter” and your budget spreadsheet will now tell you how much money you should pay to that debt until it is paid off.
Step #18: Track Your Progress: Finally, it’s important for you to see the progress you are making, to see if you are meeting your goals or if you need to work harder at it. Therefore, every time you make a payment, fill out the actual payment column for the debt and see if you were able to meet your goal. Also, as you put money into savings. Make sure to update your savings total. Finally, as debts are paid down and paid off, make sure to go to your debts spreadsheet and update the balances or delete the debt all together!
Now You Know How To Make A Budget Spreadsheet
Now you know how to create your budget spreadsheet. All you’ve got to do now is actually do it! I hope that this guide will help you to build your way to financial stability. Thanks for reading everyone, I’d love to hear about your experiences following this guide in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to tell your friends on social media about it, you don’t want to leave them in the dark do you?
Day trading sounds like a relatively simple idea, but the fact of the matter is that it requires a great level of skill and expertise in the area of investing. Even with careful research, planning, and foresight, day trading can result in huge losses, even by seasoned veterans. Before diving head first into day trading, here are a couple of pointers to consider when planning your strategy.
Find Help for Day Trading
One of the best ways to learn any task is to find a mentor who is trusted and knowledgeable in the area. There are plenty of tricks of the trade that cannot be learned from a book on investing. Interacting with an experienced day trader will quickly get you on your way to day trading on your own.
Also, you can look towards a variety of online resources to help you get started. I’ve put together a great Investing 101 resource, and there are also great online forums like StockTwits that can help you find other information.
Remember Your Time Frame
It is important to take the term day trading quite literally. At the end of the day you should hold no position in any investment. Holding longer isn’t really day trading, but short term trading, and you’re looking for different metrics to invest in.Furthermore, it is important to cut your loses and save your gains.
Day trading is a somewhat advanced level of investing. Without a solid understanding of how the stock market works and the underlying drivers of it, you are in no way ready to start day trading.
Only Risk What You’re Comfortable With
Age old advice is to only risk what you can afford to lose. When it comes to day trading, great losses can be had in less than a second. If you are investing money that you need in order to retire or pay short term expenses, you are probably not a good candidate for day trading.
I’m a believer that you should never risk more than 5% when it comes to trading. Risking more can put your financial future in jeopardy.
Finding a Platform that Works
Making sure that you have the right equipment in order to succeed is key. The resources required in order to day trade are far more involved than ordinary investing. Aside from a computer and reliable/speedy Internet connection, software and tools for analysis are crucial.
There are a lot of good discount brokerages out there that can meet your needs.
Make sure you read up on How to Choose a Discount Brokerage to find one that matches your needs.
Always Have a Plan for Day Trading
Behind any successful business venture is a solid and thoroughly thought out business plan. Not only is it important to have a plan, but sticking to it is also important. It is hard to rely on a plan that may not pay off immediately, but if you’ve done your research and have the foundations in place to day trade, it probably is a plan that can pay off in time.
Plus, having a plan takes the emotion out of trading. By setting up specific rules that you follow, you don’t get caught off guard on a gut feeling.
Know the Market and Yourself
Having a good and active eye on the market is important for any successful day trader. Knowing the market and recognizing trends is usually taught with time. Research can help get you started, but as is the case with most things related to investing, good old fashioned experience trumps all.
As is important in any job or relationship, your disposition plays a huge role in your success or failure. Day trading is an activity that not only requires ultimate focus, but emotions and wavering opinions as opposed to logic are sure fire ways to fail. The pro of day trading is that you can make your own schedule. With this being said, learn how to recognize the days when you aren’t in a good mood and take that day for recovery.
Keep Diligent Records
Any successfull business requires a keen account and documentation of what has occurred as well as what has been transacted. Detailed records are just as important in day trading as they are in owning your own business. Keeping good records is a great way of tracking performances in order to improve on shortcomings and take note or successes.
As is evident, day trading is no simple task. As is the case with most things, if it were an easy way to make money, everyone would be doing it. The fact of the matter is that it requires extensive resources as well as a deep understanding of the market in order to be successful.
What other tips do you have for getting started day trading?
This is a guest post by Robert Farrington from The College Investor. He focuses on helping college students and young adults avoid student loan debt and start investing.Google+