A gift.

For my first official content related post, I thought I would start by giving out something to you, the readers. Specifically, something that’s usually marketed on many financial websites and is often used to save money and carefully plan out investments and expenses. What I am talking about is an Excel budget workbook , and it’s free of charge, of course!

Now initially I based the the template of the workbook off of Presh Talwalker’s design (you can visit his site “Mind Your Decisions” through the “Related Websites” section at the top), but as I decided to add more and more features, the workbook became something entirely different than what it began with.

Now, it supports the following features:

  • Organizing entries through cost/revenue categories:
    Rather than recording cost entries, the workbook will also take into account other sources of revenue such as bursaries, scholarships or loans.
  • Income / Canadian tax calculator:
    The workbook comes with a nifty Canadian tax and income calculator with columns to guide through each step. Unfortunately for U.S. citizens and residents living outside of Canada, this feature will not be available, but anyone who has a similar tax system to Canada can easily modify the spreadsheet to fulfill their needs.
  • Electronic Ledger:
    Every budget should be complimented with one of these, so it is only natural that I included one in the workbook. The ledger records transactions made throughout the year, where you only have to specify three things: a date, the category of the transaction, and the transaction amount. The ledger also provides the option to input initial holding amounts for end-of-year analyses.
  • Spending/Savings Analysis:
    Table 1 of the analysis section provides a brief summary of this and provides details by comparing spendings and savings every month to monthly income.
  • Cost / Revenue Category Analysis:
    Tables 2 and 3 provide valuable information about Year-to-date monthly averages and how close you are to your monthly allocate budget for a specific category.
  • Budgeting Ratios:
    I provided a table of recommended values for certain financial ratios as well as lower and upper bounds for specific category percentages as part of the overall budget. Although these numbers should not serve to be the penultimate guide to how to create your budget, the ratios themselves are quite important so be sure to take some time by yourself to understand them.
  • End-of-Year Analysis:
     The workbook provides information about percentage growth in savings over the year and well as growth in liquid funds gained by either working income or addition revenues minus expenses.
  • Information on Workbook security:
    I provided a worksheet on how to password protect your workbook as transactions should be safely kept private.
  • Dynamically updated data:
    Because of the heavy usage of tables and CSE functions, formulas are dynamically updated as soon as new entries are made either in the ledger or income sections of the workbook.

However, all this information above would be rendered completely useless if you did not understand why you would need a budget. Quoting from Talwalker’s site, John D. Rockefeller, the richest American who ever lived believed that:

… money alone makes you numb. He defines the poorest person in the world as one who only has money. Wealth is about purpose, he says, because “money is good if you know how to use it.”

That is, understanding where the money comes from and where it goes can make all the difference in the world. In fact, Rockefeller followed this philosophy so immaculately that during talks, that he would give to young people about saving and giving to charity, he would often pull out records over forty years old to cite transactions that sometimes involved only a few cents.

John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. (1839 – 1937), A...

John D. Rockefeller (Image via Wikipedia)

With budgets, according to Mariam Caldwell, we not only are able to keep track of our transactions but we can also prevent overspending, allocate surpluses into savings accounts and learn how to plan for the year.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your free copy of my Budgeting workbook here in xlmx format or xlm format, or if you’re looking for something much simpler, take a look at Presh’s spreadsheet here.

Get out there and budget away!


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