How To Use Google Sheets Budget Template

Wanting to learn how to use Google Sheets budget template? – Then you’ve come to the right place.

Google sheets is an incredible online spreadsheet tool (basically Microsoft Excel in the cloud) that has a number of pre-set and pre-designed templates that you can use for personal use.

One of those templates is the budget template, that you can find here.

What I love about Google Sheets budget template is that it’s well, a template, so you’ve not to spend too much time worrying about the design. But that it’s accessible to anyone who has an internet connection.

No need to download any fancy software, and it’s free, so no need to pay any annual fees etc.

How To Use Google Sheets Budget Template

In this tutorial, I’ll be demonstrating how to use Google Sheets budget template for your own budget.

We’ll go through the process of inputting your planned budget and tracking that budget against your spending.

As well, as looking at how you can get the Google Sheets budget to match up to previous budget methods you may have followed such as the zero-based budgeting method.

1. Access The Sheet

Accessing the free Google Sheets budget template can be done from anywhere provided you have an internet connection.

You can simply google ‘Google Sheets Budget Template’ or click here to have the budget open up in a new tab.

Input Your Starting Balance

You want to begin the budget by entering the starting balance.

This is the amount of money you have right now to budget including any cash or debit cards.

I don’t recommend including the amount you have on credit cards in your starting balance.

Instead, focus on the money you do have and we’ll come back to paying off debt later.

In my case, I’ve adjusted the field to state that I have a starting balance of £2,000.

Please note: The currency should reflect the currency you have set in your Google account. In order to change the currency reporting follow these instructions.

Enter In Your Planned Income & Planned Expenses

If you scroll down slightly you’ll be able to enter the planned income and expenses for this month.

The fields in the salmon pink are the ones you can edit.

This means you can not only adjust the planned amount but also the category name to reflect how you spend your money.

As you can see I’ve edited the fields for the expense name and amount.

However, even if my planned expenses go over the current balance I’m not notified. This is something that you’re going to have to manually go back and check as it’s an essential part of budgeting.

Entering In Your Transactions

What will change these numbers is entering your transactions and the related amounts. You can switch to the transaction view by clicking on the transaction tab at the bottom of the page (near the left-hand side)

The transaction area is split into two columns; income and expense.

Here you should record any and all expenses and income that you receive in order for your budget to correlate with your actual income and expenses.

Otherwise, you’ll be told by your budget you can / cannot spend money that you actually can / can’t spend. Depending on which way round you’ve tried to cheat the system.

You can enter information in all the fields here.

For example, I added in that I spent £30 at the pet store and put £300 towards my debt.

While this doesn’t look like it changes much, when you move back to the other tab, the summary tab on the bottom left, you can see that the actual expenses have been updated next to the specific category.

This shows that I have overspent on my pets category by £10 and I have spent all of my planned £300 on debt already.

In order to stick to my budget, I’d now better move £10 from a planned category which still has a positive difference to my pets category to allow me to continue keeping honest with my budget.

Now you can see I’ve taken £10 from my transportation budget, so £0 planned and £0 spent and put that towards my planned pet expenses which are now £30 planned and £30 spent.

Inputting your transactions also changes some other numbers higher up in the summary sheet (scroll up to view them).

These help you track your net worth or any savings goals you might have.

Ideally, you want to end on a £0.00 saved this month and 0% decrease in total savings if you’re going for a zero-based budget as you’ll be allocating all the income you receive to a category.

If you’re not working towards a zero-based budget then you want to look to create a positive savings amount and a positive increase in total percentage savings.

Leaving you with a higher-end balance than start balance at the end of the month.

What To Do At The End Of The Month

There are two things you can do at the end of the month when it comes to using your Google Sheets budget template.

The first is simply delete the inputted transactions, reset your starting balance and adjust your planned spending for the month.

I don’t recommend this as you won’t be able to look back on your previous performance and spending habits etc.

Instead, I recommend making a copy of the sheet and titling it with a new month.

Then follow the instructions above by deleting inputted transactions, resetting your starting balance and adjusting your planned spending for the month.

To make a copy of your sheet simply click the file button in the top left-hand corner, and select ‘make a copy’.

Google Sheets will then prompt you to title your new copy – I suggest titling it with the date and then maybe budget?

This will then be stored in your Google Sheets cloud available to access online from anywhere you have a web connection along with your other budgets from previous months.

Tracking Debt & Other Negatives To Google Sheets Budget Template

Google sheets were never designed to be budgeting application so expecting it to do all the things a budget application can do is wrong.

However, it’s a great free tool that gives you a fantastic understanding of the basics of budgeting.

That said, it does have limited features.

Firstly, because it’s a spreadsheet software.

Secondly, because it’s free.

This means things such as alerts, synchronisation, managing multiple currencies, tracking multiple bank accounts, reporting software, debt tracking is all pretty much impossible without some in-depth knowledge of spreadsheets.

While you might not be looking to take things to the next level right now, you can consider looking towards a budgeting application that will include benefits such as reporting, debt tracking and bank synchronisation in the future.