Is this free?
Yep! I started this on my own years ago, and eventually realized that other people could benefit from it.
So, I posted it to YouTube and the rest is history! Of course, if you really benefit from the budget and want
to support the cause, check out the donate page! :)
Do I need Excel to use it?
If you want to store/save/use the file on your local computer only, then yes.
However, if you are willing to create a Microsoft account (which is easy), you can actually just upload the file and use it on OneDrive (in your web browser). The web version of Excel is very good and seems to do all that the offline version does. Using it this way would save your file in the cloud, associating it with your Microsoft account. You could also use it on your phone through the Excel app (which is free, so again you wouldn’t have to purchase Excel). If you create a Microsoft account, you can actually use it on both a web browser and your phone – and the file would even sync between them! Additionally, you could share the file with a spouse or co-budgeter, and anyone with the shared file can update it.
Does it work on mobile?
Yes! Microsoft has an Excel mobile app (that’s free). You can also create a free account on Microsoft’s website and use it on OneDrive. The free account lets you store up to 5GB of files. After you make your account, click on Office, then navigate to your OneDrive, which can also be accessed through onedrive.live.com.
Can it sync across devices?
Yes! As long as you are doing it through the Excel app or OneDrive app.
Can I share it with other people, so that they can also view/edit it, like my spouse?
Yes! As long as you are doing it through the Excel app or OneDrive app.
How can I change the start and end month of the financial year?
On the Summary tab, simply click the dropdown menu for financial year and choose whichever option you prefer. After you do this, all of the relevant graphs (including their data and titles) will update automatically for you.
Can I add subcategories for the expenses? For example, under "pet food/care," can I have dog food and cat food separately?
The simple answer is no, unfortunately. I tried to find a way to do this, but I think it would complicate the workbook, and I want it to be as simple for the users as possible. (You may be able to add them yourself using the indirect command; however, I am only vaguely familiar with this command so it may not be the best option.) For those of you with advanced Excel skills, you could probably add subcategories yourself. On the bright side, there is a way around this: just make a separate category for all of your subcategories. In other words, you could have a separate category for dog food/care and cat food/care. On my personal workbook, I added a category for property taxes even though there is currently a tax category. I use the regular tax category for income tax and the property tax category for the taxes on our house and car.
Is it possible to change the currency (e.g., from dollars to pounds)?
Yep! First, select the cells you want to format and then click Format > Cells. In the pop-up box that appears, change the symbol for the currency to whichever you desire and then click OK. Note that changing the currency will not apply an exchange rate if there is a difference in value between the two currencies. Here is a link with pictures that demonstrates it nicely: http://www.howtogeek.com/240316/how-to-change-the-currency-symbol-for-certain-cells-in-excel/. Also, the link contains another link for how to change your default currency format in Windows.
Is it possible to change the date format?
Yep! Although, this has given me problems, and I think it's because of the default date settings on my computer. Perhaps search the web for examples specific to your location. The only dates that need to be changed are the four individual dates on the Summary sheet, and the date columns on the Income, Expenses, and Account Balances sheets. You can select the whole date columns for income, expenses, and account balances by clicking above the word "Date" when a dark black arrow with a line over it appears.
Will this update automatically from year to year?
Yep! It will automatically continue into a new year and will keep all of your old data. Also, the graphs on the Data Over Time sheet are interactive. That is, not only will they update in real-time, but you can choose whether you want to view them by financial year (and, if so, which year) or over the past 12 months.
Can I change the cycle options for income/expenses to be more exact (e.g., weekly, biweekly, annually)?
You can definitely add cycle options yourself should you wish to do so. However, the workbook is currently limited to two options ("regular" and "irregular”). I originally created more options but opted for just two categories because I wanted it to be as simple as possible for the average user.
If I pay things with a credit card, do I record the expenses themselves or when I pay the credit card bill? If I did both, wouldn’t that double count them?
I record all credit card expenses as if they are paid immediately by me. I list them just like any other expense. Then, when my credit card bill comes, I just pay it in full; I still record the credit card payment, since I want to keep track of it, but I record it as an “expense” for $0. This avoids anything being double counted. Then, I leave a note in the right-most column that says something like: “Paying off credit card balance of $585.” If you carry a credit card balance and are paying off old expenses (e.g., from a year or two ago), then perhaps I would record that as its own expense.
What should I list as my income on the Budget sheet if my income varies from month to month?
I would just estimate a conservative monthly average in every category (i.e., on the lower side). You could always adjust it as time goes on, as well, like if you get a seasonal job at some point.
What other platforms or software is this compatible with?
LibreOffice: I made a version that was compatible for LibreOffice in the past. The Excel file should import without a problem but may need tweaking at that point. I have not continued to update the LibreOffice file because I am unfamiliar with that software and must continuously relearn it in order to do so. However, if you have trouble replicating any components of this Excel workbook in LibreOffice, I am happy to assist as much as I can.
Google Sheets: I experimented with making a Google Sheets version of this, but many of the advanced features in this workbook could not be transferred over. Thus, no Google Sheets version currently exists. However, I am happy to provide suggestions and assistance for someone attempting to transfer this to Google Sheets.
Older versions of Excel: I'm not sure. I've used this on Excel 2013, 2016, and 2019 without any problems. However, I do think it will work on earlier versions. One potential issue is that the graphs may look a little different (e.g., have different fonts or color schemes).
What should I do if I have suggestions or other feedback to offer?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment on the YouTube video or comment within the website (where applicable). I take all feedback seriously and will try to incorporate common suggestions into future versions.
Do you provide individual help or reply to comments?
I try to respond to all comments, but my ability to do so is slowly declining as the frequency of comments and number of users continues to grow. If you do not receive a reply from me, I would suggest double checking that your question wasn’t already answered in a video on the workbook or in any of the FAQs. Worst case scenario, feel free to comment again; if you reply to your old comment, I’ll be able to see both simultaneously.