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How to Set Up a Budget Planning Worksheet

Updated on September 2, 2015
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Why a Budget

There are various reasons for people to want or need to go on a budget. Whether you are saving for a home, wanting to build a nest egg, trying to get out of debt or trying to live on what you make, following a budget can be achieved once you put your mind to it.

Step Two: Listing Expenses

  • Rent or Mortgage
  • Line of Credit
  • Utility costs (Gas, electricity, Water, Phone, Cell phone, Cable, Internet)
  • Credit Card Payments (approximate)
  • Groceries
  • Car, Life, House and Health Insurances
  • Transportation costs (gas for vehicle, bus fare, train fare, etc.)
  • Entertainment
  • Child care costs

Steps for Making a Budget Plan

STEP ONE:

On a piece of paper write down the following:

Figure out what your take home pay is on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. If there are two incomes involved, add them together.

If you have an income that fluctuates from week to week, do a rough estimate of your income.


Step Three

Next write down an amount of how much you need to save in order to achieve your goal. How much can you realistically save on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

If there isn't any money left to save or if your expenses are higher than what you make then it's time to do some serious cutting back.

Setting up a Worksheet

This is how I set up my worksheet and it does work quite well for budgeting, and for paying bills on time. This can either be done on a sheet of paper or on your computer using a program such as Microsoft Excel.

I set this up month by month and fill in the costs that are the same each month.

When a bill comes in the mail or via my email account I go to my budget sheet and insert the amount of the expense under the week that I need to make this payment.

Budget Sheet Example

This is only an example of how to set up a Budget Sheet
This is only an example of how to set up a Budget Sheet | Source

Cutting Costs

Once you have everything written down add up your Income vs. your Expenses. If your income is lower than your expenses it's time to have a look at what you can cut back on such as; entertainment, food and the following:

Utility expenses

Phones

  • If you have a house phone and a cell phone, perhaps you could cut out one of these or contact your cell phone provider to check if there is a lower cost plan available to you. Is your Internet provider the same as your phone and or cell company? If it is and you're not receiving a bundling discount, ask if they offer this.

Heat & Electricity

  • One way to cut your heating bill is to turn down the thermostat while you're sleeping and when you're not at home.
  • Use electricity wisely. If you're not using it unplug it.
  • Many places are now using smart meters.By using appliances such as washers and dryers during off peak hours will save you money.

Cable & Internet

  • Look at the packages you have for both of these services and see if you really watch or need all those channels. How badly do you need the Internet package that you currently have. Most people could actually cut back on both of these and save a few bucks monthly.

Credit Cards

  • Check with your bank or credit card company to see if can possibly get a lower interest rate. In the long run this will save you a lot of money.
  • You may want to consider consolidating all of your credit cards along with your line of credit, and taking out a small bank loan. This may reduce the interest you're paying allowing you save what you would have put out in interest monthly.

Transportation

  • If you are driving to work everyday perhaps you could carpool, walk or bike to work if this is an option, or take a look at public transportation to see if this would save you some money.


Personal Message

I am in no way a financial genius but I do find that having a budget and following it has helped me, and I do hope that this article will help others.

Thank you for stopping by and if you'd like to read more of my hubs you can find them on my profile page.

Susan

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    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wednesday-Elf, Thanks and I'm glad you found this hub helpful.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 2 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Very helpful article, Susan. I'm retired and on a limited income these days, so I set up a budget just to track expenses and watch where my income goes. Otherwise, I'd be in a hole every month. :-) Everyone really needs to keep track of where and what they are spending, whether just starting out in a first job or living on Social Security. A budget helps with this.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      OhMe, I feel fortunate that the medical budget is not need as much here in Canada as it is in the states but it's slowly getting there.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      SInce my has and retired we have been trying to re-work our budget accordingly. I seems the older we get, the more we need to allow for medical costs. Staying on a budget works

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Posh I know what you mean as it's the same here. We just tend to work more hours to compensate at our house.

    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 3 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      It's fine having a budget, sticking to it is another. In the UK prices go up but wages don't go up in line with them. Good advice all the same Sue.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Rose and Crystal!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks vespawoolf, Good luck :)

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Good hub on the basics of budgeting. As I was reading I realized I needlessly had my hall light on and went to turn it off. So thanks for that! Voted up.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article! You have provided some great tips on planning a budget and setting up a worksheet. This is very useful information! Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I wish I was more organized...this information on using a worksheet makes me feel inspired to give it a try! This is very useful...voted up and shared!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Rebecca, It helps me, and good luck with yours.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very good! Thanks for encouraging me to make a household budget. I need to!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Anselome, Thanks. I'd be lost and probably very broke if I didn't follow a budget :)

    • Anselome profile image

      Steve Anselmo 4 years ago from Thunder Bay

      Great Hub Susan! Awesome advice and simple instructions and tips. I set up a budget using Microsoft Excel that I have used for years and it really helps me save for my goals and ensure that bills are paid on time. I wrote Hubs on similar topics, and I couldn't agree more with your advice.

      Voted up and shared!

      Stay Excellent!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Vicki, I find if I write it out and have it handy it works well for me.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I try to save money where I can, but I think that actually having a written budget would help me any more. Great ideas. Thanks for linking to my saving electricity (heating and cooling bills) hub! :-)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Kathryn, Here's a link to a rant by Rick Mercer about the new plastic money. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/16/plastic-mo...

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Alicia, Thank you for stopping by and for your comments.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      drbj, They should teach budgeting in H.S., it might help many students from going into debt later on in life.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ruchira, I like your moms way of putting cash into envelopes. That would work really well.

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Plastic money, really?! Strange. I wonder if the US is ever going to switch to plastic. It sounds like play money.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Suzie, Ours changes so often that I need to keep track of everything on spread sheets or we'd be in big trouble :)

      Thanks for the votes and for following my website.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sarah, Thanks!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Kathryn, I'll have to update the picture to show what the new plastic Canadian money looks like. I find it a bit ridiculous :) Thanks so much for your comments and for sharing my hub.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Eddy!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
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      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Audrey, I hate it too but it does work.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the helpful suggestions for setting up a budget and a worksheet, Susan. These are important tasks in today's world!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Lipnancy, I'm one of those people. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      RH, I tell the guys to turn off the lights or your rent is going up :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Prasetio, Hello and thanks so much!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image
      Author

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Carol.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      They don't teach important information like this in high school, Susan, but they should. Every student should learn how to make and KEEP a budget. Voted up!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Great tips, Susan.

      My mom used to make such budgets and put cash into different envelopes for individual expenses. With the age of credit card, I rarely do that.

      Voted up as useful and interesting.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi JustAskSusan,

      Great idea setting up a budget planner on a spreadsheet. We do budgets continually as things (circumstances) change and it definitely helps keep things under control. Great ideas and tips, Vu, Useful, Interesting and Shared. Started following your website by the way!

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 4 years ago from USA

      What detailed and useful post! I'm sharing this :)

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Call me strange, but I love budgeting! And even though I know how to do it, I still like to look at instructions for it.

      I like how you laid out the basics, gave examples of what's in the budget, and gave tips on how to cut costs.

      Sometimes you don't know how much you actually spend on things until you take a good look at your money.

      Wow, and there's a photo of real Canadian money! In Massachusetts we get Canadian coins in circulation every once in a while, but I don't see the paper dollars much.

      I'm sharing this. It's extremely useful information!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So useful Susan and thank you for sharing.

      I vote up and share.

      Have a great day.

      Eddy.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      So very useful Susan! I hate budgeting, but it sure helps!

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Unfortunately, many people have to live this way just to survive.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thatis great advice...! I think way too many people don't realize they live so far beyond their means they will never get out from under debt. I always try to cut costs, any way I can. I am a stickler about using electric and not leaving the lights running, etc. the kids make such fun of me...but they don't have to pay the bill:) lol

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub and you have great advice here. I learn much from you, Susan. Making a budget plan is important for us. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Good suggestions and following them..a good idea..I seem to start out with good intentions. There are just so many places to economize ...Unfortunately the fixed bills stay the same. Saving a few dollars here and there does add up though. So the keyword here is sticking with the budget. Voting up and sharing.