How I Use Spreadsheets to Manage My Finances [+FREE TEMPLATES]

My due date spreadsheet is by far my most popular download from this site, and if you guys love that so much, I’m sure you’ll love the adult-ier version.

I am one of those people who just can’t keep everything in their heads. I have to write stuff down, or I will forget it. My bills spreadsheet, budget worksheet, and check registry were born out of necessity, so I knew when things were due and whether I paid them or not.

Keep in mind that you can also do these on paper! The bullet journal didn’t work for me, but if it works for you, modify these spreadsheets for the pen and paper, and you’ll be just as well off as the rest of us!

So let’s get started!

I’m going to explain how I manage my and my fiancé’s finances (say “fiancé’s finances” five times fast…good grief) using a Google Sheets spreadsheet. You can totally use Excel, Numbers, or any other spreadsheet that works for you, but the templates I provide will be from Google!

I use three different spreadsheets to manage our money.

The first, which I just started using recently after my bullet journal just was not working, is simply a spreadsheet that shows me what bills need to be paid and when, and if I paid them or not. It’s super easy to set up, and has saved me a whole lot of headache!

The second, which I’ve been using for several months, essentially breaks down our budget, including our income and our (prospected) savings. It helps us know how much money we have left over at the end of the month for fun stuff and to put into savings accounts.

The final is a super simple checkbook registry that I use because writing stuff down in a checkbook just doesn’t work for me.

The Bills Spreadsheet

Purpose: The purpose of this spreadsheet is simply to show me what bills are due and when, and keep a log of whether or not I’ve paid them.

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How It Works: Along the top, I put the name of the bill (like “car payment” or “Spotify”), as well as the date of each month that it’s due and the amount that is due.

Along the side, I mark the months of the year. Maybe I go super far out in advance, but oh well. It can’t hurt, right?

In the middle section, you’ll see some gray, a little white, and a lot of red. You can use any three colors you like, but this is what I do:

Any white space means that there isn’t a bill due that month in that category.

Red spaces denote bills that are due, but haven’t been paid yet.

Gray represents a bill that has already been paid. I also put the word “paid” in the box, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to!

Another thing I like to do after I pay a bill is make a “comment” on the Google Sheet with the date I paid it and the confirmation number. That way, I can come back to this later if there’s any dispute. For that reason, I’d recommend keeping any month on your spreadsheet for at least 6 months after it’s paid. It’s better to be safe and have all your ducks in a row than be sorry!

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The final part you’ll notice is the column all the way on the right called “One-Time Bills.” I like to keep that there for things like payments on our wedding and property taxes. In the box, I usually label what the bill is, as well as putting the amount and the date it’s due (example, “Taxes, $100, 4/15”). It helps me know what’s coming, even if the bills aren’t regular.

You can always have more than one column for one-time bills, or just continue to add columns as you need them. The thing I love about spreadsheets like this is that they are totally customizable to you!

If you’re interested in using this bills spreadsheet for yourself, you can access the template hereSimply click the link, go to File > Make a Copy, and save it to your own Drive to edit and make it yours.

The Budget Worksheet

Purpose: The original goal of my budget worksheet was to find out how much money my fiancé and I needed to make to be able to move out. Once we made enough money, I altered it a bit to help us find out how much money we’d have left over at the end of the month, plus how much we should have in savings at any point in the near future.

I’ve designed it to work best for multiple people, but you can certainly use it just for yourself too!

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How It Works: You’ll see that there are three sections here, and I’m going to explain each one by one!

In the first section, on the far left, is our budget. It includes all bills, plus things like “groceries” and “movie dates.” Whatever you want to budget for each month can go here.

It’s similar to my bills spreadsheet in that it includes the due date and the amount. You’ll also notice that in the fourth column, it either says “actual,” for a bill that’s the same each month, or “approx,” for one that changes. That’s an optional inclusion, but I like to be able to see that at a glance!

At the bottom of this section, I have the spreadsheet adding all of the bills/budgeted items up to see a total amount of bills. This is how I know how much we need to get by each month!

The second section, in the middle, shows our income. On mine, I have one row for my full-time job, one for my freelance/blogging income, and one for my fiancé’s job. Like in the other section, it adds all of these up and gives me a total at the bottom.

I also set the spreadsheet up so that at the bottom, it will take the difference between our total expenses and total income, and show me how much money we have left over each month. (That’s what the -1 is for in one of the boxes! In the template, you won’t see that, but make sure you don’t change that box; it has to have a -1 in it, I just made the text color white so it’s not distracting!)

The final section on the right shows our savings plan. I have it set up so that it starts with however much we have in our savings (in the template, it says $5000).

Under that, I put the date we will add to our savings, as well as the amount we plan to transfer. You can put in several months, and at the bottom, it gives you the sum, so you know how much you’ll have in your savings after so many months, if everything goes according to plan!

It looks and sounds sort of complicated, but the budget worksheet really isn’t. It just combines all of your expenses, income, and savings in one central location so you know how you’re doing with money. It can also help you develop tangible financial goals, like having a certain amount of money left over after you’ve paid all of your expenses!

If you’re interested in using this budget worksheet for yourself, you can access the template here. Like the previous template, simply click the link, go to File > Make a Copy, and save it to your own Drive to edit and make it yours.

The Check Registry

Purpose: The very last spreadsheet I use is the most simple, and it simply tracks your checks! If you don’t use checks, you don’t need this, but I use it to keep everything straight.

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How It Works: This spreadsheet is pretty self-explanatory. Simply write the check number, date, amount, recipient, and purpose in the respective columns, and use the final column to denote whether the check has gone through or not.

Like in the last two templates, I used colors to make things easy to see. Since I’m using gray to alternate lines, I used blue and red in this one to denote whether the check recipients have cashed the checks or not.

And that’s it! This is the simplest of the templates, but super useful if you don’t like to keep a physical checkbook.

If you’re interested in using this check registry for yourself, you can access the template here. Like the previous templates, simply click the link, go to File > Make a Copy, and save it to your own Drive to edit and make it yours.

I hope these spreadsheets work for you, or at least inspire you to create your own! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, be sure to post them in the comments below.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Michelle sign off

Related: How I Landed a Full-Time, Salaried Position before Graduation


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