2014 is here, and if you have resolved to take better care of your finances, you’ll need the right tools to succeed. We’ve covered the basics of budgeting in many blog posts, but today we’re taking our advice a step further. Here you’ll find a free, customizable budget, allowing you to easily track your income and expenses. Here are a few things to keep in mind when downloading and using the budget:
1) The Monthly Net Income row is dynamic, meaning that the amount will automatically change based on the information you enter in the Income, Expenses, Taxes and Savings columns. When the box is green, it means that you have a positive monthly balance, i.e., money left over at the end of the month. If the box is red, it means that you are spending more than you earn.
2) The Tax Rate row represents your federal and state tax rate, usually deducted by your employer before you receive your paycheck. This information should be present on any employee pay stub. Simply enter the percentage and the Taxes column will automatically calculate the appropriate deductions.
3) The Income, Expenses, Taxes and Savings columns have a few things in common:
- Each column has a dynamic colored header box. As you make changes to the information listed in the white boxes, the amount in the colored box will change automatically.
- The left-hand column lists the type of expense, the middle column lists the amount to be deducted and the right-hand column displays the total percentage deducted or accounted for in your monthly income. For example, you’ll see that “income his” accounts for 66 percent of the total household income in this example.
- The information in the white boxes may be edited. Simply type your personal information into the downloaded document to build your own budget. If you have another expense to add, type the information into a blank row under the appropriate column (note: the right-hand percentage column will update automatically). If you would like to delete a row that does not apply to your budget e.g., “investment property mortgage,” highlight the row, right-click and select Delete/Entire Row.
The New Year is the perfect time to organize your life and start fresh. Use this budget to put yourself on the right track. It’s never too late to make a positive change.