So you’re ready to start filling out your household budget worksheet? We’ve created a fairly detailed yet easy to complete free openoffice and excel household budget worksheet to help you get started. Start by downloading your preferred version and then we’ll go over the instructions. If you don’t have Microsoft Office you can download a free office compatible suite at openoffice.org.
Now that you’ve got a copy of the budget worksheet, let’s start filling it in. Start with your income by filling in the yellow cells with any income you have. Include your income, your spouse’s income, child support, alimony, disability, social security, pension, investment, real estate, business income, and any other income sources that you may have. One thing to note here is that you should enter your gross income. For example, if you make $4,000 per month but your take home pay is $2,200, you should enter $4,000. The deductions from your take home pay should be broken out separately in the expenses section.
The next step in filling out your budget worksheet is to calculate your necessary expenses. These are expenses that you must incur. With that said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t reduce these budget expenses, which we cover in our budgeting and saving money categories. These expenses include payroll taxes (the taxes withheld from your paychecks, but not the insurance or retirement withholdings), other income deductions (use this for estimated taxes from sources of income that do not withhold taxes), rent, mortgage, property taxes, water, garbage, gas, electric, auto, food, clothing, utilities, insurance, healthcare, student loans, home costs, laundry, childcare and other child expenses. If you find other budget worksheet items that do not fit in these categories, you can either create a new category if you are good with a spreadsheet, or add them to the “other” expenses line item.
The final step in completing the first draft of your household budget worksheet is to calculate your discretionary expenses. Start by looking through your credit card and store receipts to make better estimates. The most accurate way to do this is to bring a pad of paper or keep track of each expense you make for an entire month. It sounds inconvenient, but most phones have a text area that you can keep notes of your expenditures even when you don’t have a paper and pen. Scour your expenses and enter them on the correct lines in your budget worksheet. Make adjustments to expenses that were extraordinarily high or low during the month that you tracked your expenses. Discretionary expenses include, but are not limited to, credit card bills, auto loans, gas, cable and tv, mobile phones, home security, garden and landscaping, entertainment and restaurants, travel, vacation, pets, memberships, beer and cigarettes.
Once you’ve made your first pass at completing the budget worksheet. Go to the top and look at your income versus spending. See how much money you should be saving each month. Now go to your checking account history and see if it is even close to matching. If not, go over all the expenses to see what is missing, while taking into account that some expenses are annual.
Okay, you’re done with the most important step in creating your family budget! The next step is to start lowering your expenses and increasing your monthly budget surplus.