Budget Builder Spreadsheet

Build next year’s budget from the ground up with the Budget Builder template.

Budget Builder for Google Sheets Spreadsheet by Randy H.

I’m sharing my process (and my budget-builder personal worksheet). Maybe the sheet is helpful. Maybe you build on top of what I’ve shared. Maybe the concept helps you form your own (better) process.  Here is what I do…

I start by looking at my actuals from the prior year. If there are any surprises, I use a custom query tool to understand the top income or expense transactions within a category (e.g. an expensive meal, a forgotten home repair, etc). From there, I strip out one-time expenses (a trip, an expensive purchase, a home improvement, etc) in the timeframe where they occurred.

At this point, I have a baseline of my monthly actuals without the surprise items that I don’t expect to recur in the coming year. I like to look at the annualized average at this point and level it with a rounded “baseline override”. The Groceries category is an instructive example here. It’s not a seasonal expense so I don’t need to try to track the ups and downs of the prior year. If I spent $6,000 the prior year, I’m just going to override the month-to-month lumpiness (of the actuals) with $500 per month.

Finally, I add/budget in my new one-time expenses like planned travel, home upgrades, a new computer, etc.

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