I have searched for a simple budgeting template to suit my needs for what seems like forever. With not much luck I’ve always turned to a generic template I found through Microsoft Excel. So when I got the chance to try out Savvy Spreadsheets I took it.
I played around with two different spreadsheets: the Super Basic Budget and the Super Deluxe Budget.
They now have a third budget as of 2015 that’s free – the Super Starter Budget.
Here’s what I thought of each of them.
The Super Basic Budget Spreadsheet
Just as it sounds the ‘Super Basic Budget’ is in fact pretty simple to use (and it’s just $5.) If you’re looking for a way to easily track your spending this is the spreadsheet for you.
Before getting started it’s important to note that you will need to have Excel 2007 or 2010 (PC) or Excel 2011 (Mac) for the spreadsheets to function properly.
When you first download the spreadsheet you’ll have the option to set up 20 budget categories. You’ll then go on to set up a monthly budget amount for each category (there are 20 different categories). You’ll also fill in your monthly income amount.
Once you have your budget categories and amounts set up you can then click over to the expenses tab and begin recording your purchases.
Since expenses are recorded by date, the information you enter will automatically post to the appropriate month and tally up your expenses by category. You’ll be able to easily see if you’re on budget for the month. There’s also a graph that accompanies each month which breaks your budget categories into percentages spent.
In addition, there is a tab for every month of the year and also a year to date spending tab and also, an annual budget summary.
There were a couple disadvantages to the Super Basic Budget. First, you are limited to twenty budget categories which really hinders your ability to be specific. Secondly, I didn’t see any way I could adjust the income for the month without resetting if for every month. And since my income fluctuates I need to be able to easily adjust this number.
The Super Deluxe Budget Spreadsheet
I really liked the Super Basic Budget. It’s the best budget I’ve come across in terms of tracking your spending. So when I opened up the Super Deluxe Budget spreadsheet I was in love.
This budget has all the same features as the Super Basic Budget plus more.
You can add subcategories to the initial categories you’ve set up. Instead of having a general category of just “bills” you can break it down into electric, water, gas, etc.
There’s also a place on this budget to record any extra income you earn for the month. And for those who freelance or are commission based this is a must.
Even though this spreadsheet is more advanced than the basic it’s still simple to use. The Super Deluxe Budget is not free, but priced at $15 I feel like it’s a fair deal.
If you’ve been searching for a simple but efficient budgeting spreadsheet I would definitely recommend these two. For those of you who like your budgets to be really basic the free version provided by Savvy Spreadsheets would work perfectly.
If you like to get more technical with your money management or have a fluctuating income then the Super Deluxe version should suit your needs.
What program do you use to budget?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.