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A Budget Sheet Is An Effective Financial Tool
Michalis 'BIG Mike' Kotzakolios

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A budget sheet will tell you quickly whether your finances are in good shape or bad. This sheet is a listing of your monetary expenses against your income. If the expenses are higher, examine your budgetary sheet and eliminate some expenses. Alternatively, curb your spending if possible. Use these tips to make your budget estimating sheet work for you.

Budgeting is basic accounting. The money that comes in must at least be equal to the money you spend! If the income is higher, put the extra into savings or a retirement account. If the expenses are higher, you need to either spend less or earn more. Preparing a sheet with your budget numbers on it can tell you the situation at a glance.

You can make budget sheets with pencil and paper. Spreadsheets and software programs make the budget calculations much easier and versatile. Start a column with the title of January Income, or perhaps the current month. List all your expected income during that month, after taxes. Be sure to consider sources such as child support, alimony, interest, and other non-job income.

Next to the income column, make a column for expenses. This is where most people fail. Every time you pay your money to someone else, enter that in your budget worksheet. Set up your budget spreadsheet so that it automatically totals entries as you type them. This gives you an up to date financial snapshot. If you are away from your computer, bring your receipts home. Put aside time each week to enter your receipts into your budget worksheet.

Create income and expense columns for every month, and continue adding values to the sheet. Your budget spreadsheet will begin to show you monthly trends. For example, your heating bill might triple in winter, and your cooling bill might double in summer. You might have car insurance payments due in April and September that you need to expect. The budget spreadsheet will alert you to these needs, but only if you use it.

Your budgetary sheet can be helpful at income tax time too. You'll have a complete list of all expenses you paid. If you made extra notes in your sheet, that will help you identify different types of expenses such as insurance, mortgage, rent, and others. A budget sheet has many uses if you have the discipline to keep it up to date.

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