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How to Make a Budget in Google Sheets

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to learn spreadsheet programs like Google Sheets. 

Some people use it for work reasons, other people may find it useful for keeping track of their own finances. 

One very useful thing you can create in Google Sheets is a budget. This will help you keep track of all your money and how it’s spent.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a budget in Google Sheets

Why Use Google Sheets for Budgeting?

Using a spreadsheet program like Google Sheets can be a great way to keep track of how your money is spent.

Spreadsheets make it easy to analyze data. You can easily create a basic budget template that will allow you to keep track of incoming money, and expenses, and help you try to meet your savings goals.

You don’t have to be a spreadsheet wizard to set up a budget—anyone can do it. 

Google Sheets is also free. All you need is a Gmail account—so really it’s a no-brainer.

How to Create a Budget

Open a Blank Google Sheets Spreadsheet

1. The first step is to open a blank Google Sheet spreadsheet. If you’ve never done this before, you need to log in to your Gmail account, and then in the top right corner, you select the “Google apps” grid.

Open-spreadsheet-1

2. Next, navigate to the Sheets icon and select it

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3. From here you will see options for opening a template or creating a bank sheet. They do have a budget template already in Google Sheets, however in this example we are creating our own, so select the Blank option

Open-spreadsheet-3

Create your Income and Expenses Categories

Now that you have your blank spreadsheet open, it’s time to start filling it out with your own personal income and expenses that you want to track.

Click on a cell and begin entering your list of incomes and expenses. Enter each income and expense separately in its own cell.

budget-list-1

Formatting Your Budget Template

Now that we have the basic list we will use for creating our budget, I’m going to apply some basic formatting to make it look more organized.

I’m going to add some gridlines and headers to mine. This is completely optional and you do not need to do this if you don’t want to.

Here is how this is done:

1. First I’m going to add a header row to clearly label the income section of my budget. Select the first row and right-click with your mouse. Then select the Insert 1 row above option

budget-formatting-1

2. Next, highlight the two columns above your income section of your budget

budget-formatting-2

3. In the toolbar select the Merge cells options

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4. Now I’m going to add coloring to my header. Select the Fill color tool and choose the color you want

budget-formatting-4

5. Now that I have my header created I’m going to label it clearly by writing “Income” into the cell. 

budget-formatting-5

6. Next, copy the same formatting and put it above your list of expenses.

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7. Next I’m going to add some grid lines to make the budget easier to read. Highlight the cell range that contains your budget

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8. Then in the toolbar select Borders>All Borders

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My budget now looks like this:

budget-formatting-9

Fill out Your Budget Numbers

Now that we have created our custom template, it’s time to begin filling it out.

I like to use monthly numbers, however, you can use whichever period you want. If you want to create a yearly budget instead of a monthly one, feel free to enter yearly numbers.

Here is how my spreadsheet looks after I have entered my numbers:

budget-example

Adding in Your Math Formulas

Now you can start adding in some basic math formulas to get your totals and figure out how much you should be saving every month.

I will now take this budget and total up all the expenses, and then subtract the expenses from the income to figure out how much we should have leftover at the end of a month.

Here are the steps:

1. First I’m going to add a few rows to the bottom of my budget where I will enter the total expenses and the amount leftover from income after subtracting expenses

budget-math-1

2. Next, in the cell where you will total the expenses type =SUM and then press Tab on your keyboard. Select the range of your cells that contains your expenses and then press Enter on your keyboard

budget-math-2

3. You should now you see your total expenses 

budget-math-3

4. Next we will subtract the income from the total expenses. Select the cell where the total leftover will be calculated and type the equals sign on your keyboard. Then select the cell with your total income and subtract the cell with your total expenses. Press Enter on your keyboard when you are done

budget-math-4

5. You should now see the amount that you should be saving each month based on the numbers in your budget

budget-math-5

Tracking Real Data

If you want to have an extremely accurate spreadsheet of your financial information, you can also create a new column in your budget to enter actual information as you spend for the month.

This is completely optional and up to you. 

This would like something like this where you have one column for your ideal budget and another for your actual amount that was spent each month:

accurate-budget

Then if you want to take this one step further, you can copy this budget and make a section for every month.

accurate-budget-monthly

If you make sure to enter all of your expenses accurately, this will give you the most accurate depiction of your monthly spending and help you stay on track for your savings goals.

Bonus Tip

Many banks nowadays actually let you export all transactions in a spreadsheet file like a .xlsx or a .csv file. 

You can log in to your online account and see if your bank allows for this type of download. Then you can open the file in Google Sheets and it will make analyzing your financial data much easier. 

That way you can get your actual data for the money spent and coming into your account.

Closing Thoughts

Creating a budget in Google Sheets is very easy to do once you’ve learned how it’s done.

If you are completely new to using spreadsheets, you may have to spend a little time getting comfortable, but it can still be done quite easily.

Making a budget spreadsheet is a great way to help you get a look at your total financial situation and can help you identify areas where you may be overspending. 

If you are confused at all about any of the steps I’ve gone over in this tutorial, make sure to watch the video. 

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Create a Loan Amortization Schedule
How to Create a Kanban Board