Once it's created, it's fairly simple to update from month to month, as well as get a snapshot of how you are doing financially. If you'd like, there are a couple of links on this page where you can get a sample budget that I've prepared as a "guide" for you.
In order to properly follow a computer spreadsheet budget, you must have control of your bank accounts as well as the actual cash you spend.
First, you will need to come up with your plan....how much income you anticipate making, as well as details of your monthly expenses.
You will know right away from looking at the budgeted numbers whether this makes sense, as you will be able to see if your budgeted numbers show you as living beyond your means...or, said in another way, outspending your income.
If that is the case, you will need to look at your budgeted numbers and figure out where you can cut some costs.
If there is absolutely nowhere to cut costs (which is usually very unlikely), your only choice is to figure out a way to make more money.
I've provided you with a few different options and suggestions throughout other pages on this website.
Most people, once they've entered all of their budgeted numbers, are shocked at how much they actually spend on various things, and therefore need to start making a conscious effort to get their spending under control.
Personally, I also like to include a section at the bottom of my budget showing my beginning cash, the budgeted cash surplus or deficit from the month's activities, and the ending cash.
This helps ensure that your cash reserves aren't completely depleted (or go negative thus resulting in you going into debt) at the end of any given month.
If your cash reserves are extremely low to start with, you may also have to do some additional planning to ensure that, even though your overall monthly budget makes sense, that you don't have peaks and valleys in your cash throughout the month, causing you to completely deplete your cash reserves (or go negative).
Once you have the budgeted numbers at levels you feel are reasonable and you can live by, you will need to enter all of your actual monthly expenses into the computer spreadsheet each and every month.
I like to enter these expenses throughout the month as they occur...that way, I can get an idea, at any point in time during that month, where I stand and if I'm staying within my budget.
Lastly, in my computer spreadsheet budgets, I also include a small section near the bottom of the page for items that are not really monthly expenses, but are still cash inflows and outflows.
For example, if you are currently paying on a credit card debt that you incurred months or even years ago, this really isn't a monthly budgeted expense, but it should be a monthly budgeted cash outflow.
If you have any questions about this budget or how to use it, please don't ever hesitate to fill out a "Contact Us" form at the bottom of each page on this website, and I will try to answer your questions as quickly as possible.
Good Luck and "Happy Budgeting!"
To Your Success...