Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Ways This Free Excel Budget Planner Can Help You Manage Your Finances

Disclaimer: I came across this tool several years ago, I can't remember from where or from whom. So WHOEVER you are, thank you.

Budget Planner (download here) is a simple budget planning and expense tracking tool based on Excel. It's easy to use (you don't need to be an Excel expert) and is packed with all the features you'll need to effectively manage your income and spending. It fits our guide for beginner investors perfectly, right where you're supposed to generate enough positive cash flows to pay off your debt and build up your emergency fund.

Here are some of the things you can do with Budget Planner:

1. Create a Quick Budget. Roughly set how much you want to spend every period (e.g., monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.) and see how much you can save each year if you stick to your budget.

Click the image to enlarge

2. Create a Monthly Budget. This is a more detailed version of the Quick Budget, and is more appropriate if your income and/or expenses vary month by month. The Monthly Budget also lets you identify months when you'll have positive cash flows and months when you'll have cash shortfalls (if any), and plan accordingly.

Click the image to enlarge

3. Track your actual income and expenses. The only way to find out if you successfully meet your budget is if you track how much you actually make and spend.

Click the image to enlarge

4. Compare your actual income and expenses to your budget. Are you able to successfully follow your budget? Do you need to adjust your spending downwards to meet your target savings, or do you have room to spend a bit more? Budget Planner's Comparison feature let's you answer these questions, and more.

Click the image to enlarge

5. Track your daily spending. I understand how recording each and every expense you make could be a tedious exercise, but I suggest that you do this for at least for a month so that you'll have a pretty accurate idea of how much you actually spend on any given month and set a more realistic budget based on that.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...