this is a guest post from David Malmborg
Creating a spreadsheet is an easy and effective way to make a budget. It allows you to see exactly where your money is going each month. The ability to organize your finances enables you to live within your financial means at all times. However, you have to remember to include all your expenditures. What should you include in your budget spreadsheet?
Item #1- Housing Payment
You should make sure that your housing payment is included in any budget. This is because having a roof over your head is essential. Your rent or mortgage payment should not exceed 30 percent of your income.
Item #2- Costs Associated With Your Residence
The rent or mortgage payment is not the only thing you need to consider when figuring out your housing costs. You also have to budget for utilities, cable and Internet. While all of these costs can be lumped into one category, make it a point to itemize these costs individually on your computer.
Item #3- Emergency Fund
You never know when an emergency may strike. A job loss or disability can cause you to lose your ability to work. The medical bills associated with your illness or disability will pile up rather quickly. Building an emergency fund can help you weather the storm a little easier.
Item #4- General Savings Fund
You should also have money set aside for a general savings account. This money would be used to make a large purchase, plan a vacation or to start your retirement fund. Having a general savings account you can access will allow you to splurge every so often without jeopardizing your financial security.
Item #5- Gifts
There is a good chance that you will give someone a gift throughout the year. Birthdays are a common time to buy gifts for others. Christmas is a time where you will certainly spend money on gifts. Failing to budget for these festive times can come back to haunt you.
Item #6- Debt Payments
Don't let your credit card debt linger for any length of time. Plan to pay down your credit card debt in regular intervals each month. Doing so will allow you to reduce the amount of interest you pay on that debt. Make sure you have a plan to pay back your student loans or home equity loans. Don't risk losing everything due to failure to pay.
Item #7- Entertainment Expenses
Make sure you save money to go out with your friends after work. Designate a portion of your income for going out to movies, buying CD's and watching your favorite sports teams. Knowing how much you have to spend on concert tickets can help you plan your summer vacation.
Item #8- Clothes and Accessories
Your clothes aren't going to last forever. You may need to buy some new shirts from time to time. Your jeans could get a hole in them or wear out. Shoes, belts and other accessories may be needed to keep yourself looking good. Buying a new suit may be a necessity if you have a job interview coming up.
Item #9- Food
Don't forget to feed yourself on a regular basis. Food prices have risen steadily over the past few months. Having a budget and a shopping list each week is important. Try to create room in your food budget for eating out at restaurants.
Item #10- Transportation Expenses
Don't forget to account for your transportation expenses. This would include your car payment, insurance and gas. The cost of a bus pass could be what you put in this spot if you don't own or lease your own car.
Your spreadsheet should always include these 10 items. Accounting for these common expenses will give you a better idea of what your financial situation currently looks like. You can then make adjustments to your budget as your circumstances change. However, you won't be able to make an accurate budget unless you know what you are spending. In the author’s opinion the simplest way to track all this is using a computer spreadsheet rather than a paper one as it is much easier to correct errors, add up columns, and manage things in general. Also if you choose to use an online spreadsheet you can access your information from anywhere you can access your email!
Author Bio: David Malmborg works with Dell and loves writing about anything tech related. When he is not working he enjoys spending time with his family. If you want more information about Dell computers and laptops click here.