Inside: Learn how I do our family’s monthly budget! Keeping track of household expenses is essential. Get my free printable excel budget template to help keep you on track.
Today I’m going to share my simple budget strategy with you.
I’ll walk you step by step through how I created my monthly excel spreadsheet in Google Sheets, to how I maintain our family’s budget once a month.
This strategy will change your life when it comes to budgeting.
But first, you should know I am not a financial planner, expert, or anything of the sort! Just a mom like you who has to wear a million hats while managing a family.
As a stay-at-home mom, I am responsible for various aspects of our daily lives:
- Meal planning
- Kids’ appointments / activities
- Paying bills / doing the budget
- Laundry / dishes
And my husband is responsible for a different set of duties:
- Yardwork / maintenance
- Car maintenance
- Fixing / repairing things
- Laundry / dishes
Your family’s division of responsibilities may look different, but at the end of the day, establishing a monthly budget and sticking to it, is essential for any family.
P.S. – Hi! I’m Marla, full-time SAHM to 3 little girls. If you’re all about step-by-step help, I teach a course called the Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course that will help you take your stay at home mom life from chaos to control. There’s an entire module dedicated to Home Management Systems (AKA running your home on autopilot). As a student in the course, you’ll be invited to join our private SAHM Facebook group!
Would love to see you inside the course. Learn more or enroll, here.
How do I make a monthly family budget?
Let’s start here.
The most important factor here is to start with monthly income and then work backwards from there.
If your family’s income fluctuates each month, err on the side of caution and pick a baseline number to work with.
For example: Let’s say on a good month, your monthly income is $4,000. But on a bad month it’s $2000. Try working with a budget of $3000 or $2500, that way you leave yourself a little wiggle room.
Components of a Family Budget
After considering monthly income, the next step is to plan out your categories, or as I like to call them “line items” on your budget spreadsheet.
These are your bills and expenses.
Most bills are predictable like your mortgage or rent payment (static bills), while others will be more flexible like gas, groceries and entertainment. While you can set a maximum allowance for those categories, the number will typically change month to month.
Examples of budget categories:
- Mortgage / rent
- Car payment / insurance
- Water bill / utilities
- Pet expenses
Now that we’ve considered these two factors, we’re ready to plan out our monthly budget.
- Start with monthly income
- Write down categories of bills and expenses
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How I Do Our Family’s Monthly Budget (with free excel template)
Now that we have our monthly income in mind and the components of a family budget (bills/expenses), we can create a plan.
Before we get started: download your free printable budget template (no need to subscribe or anything).
- After downloading the template, you’ll want to open up Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel (or whatever program you have where you can create spreadsheets).
- You also can use this as a printable, but personally I find that it’s more efficient to use the computer.
- Once in your program of choice, type out your own monthly template based on the sample I provided.
Keep the spreadsheet open in another tab as we work step by step to get your family’s monthly budget set up. If you are unable to open a PDF, you can draw out a template (based on the instructions below) and fill it in for now, until you are able to create a digital one.
Ready to get started?
How do I make a family budget spreadsheet?
Step 1: In Column A you’ll see sample categories listed. Edit the categories to reflect your family’s needs.
- Be sure to list ALL of your family’s expenses including everything from monthly bills to dance classes to overall categories like pets or vacation savings.
- Some categories can act as an umbrella covering things like going out to eat, movies, entertainment, etc. I usually like to call this one Miscellaneous.
Step 2: In Column B list the amount of each bill, or the amount of money you’d like to budget for that category.
- After all amounts are listed, you’ll be able to see if you have a deficit or an overage in any particular category.
Step 3: At the end of Column B, you’ll need to plug in the formula, =sum(B2:B19) in order for the spreadsheet to tally up your expenses. You’ll also need to adjust the formula depending on how many line items (categories) you have.
For example, if you have 30 lines of expenses, your formula would read: =sum(B2:B30). Just as a note, if you have a heading at the top of each column, then your formula will start at B2, not B1.
- This will tell you exactly how much money you’re projected to spend for that month.
- Just below that number, write your total monthly income so you can compare the two numbers.
- For example: let’s say your total monthly income is $5,000. And your monthly expenses add up to $4,500. Now you know you have $500 worth of wiggle room that month.
Step 4: In Column C, when managing your budget monthly, you’ll list when you’ve paid the bill, by writing “paid” or you can list how much you’ve spent to give you an idea of how much is left in each category.
- Use the formula =sum(1+2) and your excel spreadsheet will add it up for you. Instead of 1+2, you’ll need to enter in whatever numbers you’re trying to add up like (150+75+25+200).
- Seeing the total number next to your budgeted amount will give you a better idea of what’s left for that month in that particular category.
- For example: let’s say you’ve budgeted $1000 for groceries, but when you add up each grocery trip, it totals $1200 for the month, now you know that in the future you need to adjust your allowance for each category, or if there’s no wiggle room, you’ll need to reduce spending in that category.
When should you write out your budget?
My best advice is to revisit your budget at the very beginning of the month, or whenever the paychecks come in.
- My husband gets paid on the last day of each month (either the 30th or 31st).
- Since I am self-employed, I also choose to “pay myself” on this day as well to keep everything organized.
- On the 1st of each month, I sit down with my spreadsheet open and first get all the bills paid, then see how much is available for each flexible category that month.
- Once you have done this for a few months, you’ll find that all of your categories are fairly predictable (especially if you have a predictable income), and not as much maintenance is necessary.
I shared in my stories on IG how I do this budgeting method. I saved everything to a highlight called Budget, which you can find on my profile, here.
This printable Home Management Planner (below) is one of the printables in my Ultimate Stay at Home Mom course where I teach moms how to get their systems and routines in order. Naturally, budgeting & bill pay is one of those systems!
I use this planner to help keep track of daily/weekly and monthly tasks.
What to Read Next:
- My Stay at Home Mom Daily Schedule
- Ultimate Stay at Home Mom Course
- Back-to-School Organization Tips for Moms
- 7 Ways to Make Being a Stay at Home Mom Easier