My FREE 2013 Finance-Tracking Workbook

posted by Andrea | 01/7/2013

For the last two years now, I’ve shared my ultra-simple method of tracking our finances — how much money we bring in, and (more importantly) how much money we spend in different categories all year long.

THIS IS NOT OUR BUDGET! 

It is simply a group of Excel Spreadsheets we use to track our finances so we can look back over the years and see where our money is coming from and where it’s going.

It’s a great reality check because if you’re diligent with inputting the exact numbers, you might be surprised at how much money you actually spend in certain areas (restaurants, clothing, vacations, entertainment, and cable TV, to name a few)

And even though this isn’t a budget worksheet, when it comes time to actually create your budget, you can use this Finance-Tracking Workbook to help you come up with appropriate budget numbers.

For example, if you see that you’re currently spending over $150 per month in cable TV, you might consider opting for a less expensive package to save $50-$75 per month. Or, if you see you’re currently spending well over $200 per month going out to eat, you might consider creating a “restaurant budget” of $150 per month and then put the other $50 per month into savings.

I’ve been using this workbook since my sophomore year in college — I’ve adapted the categories many times since then, but the basic concept is still the same — and the information I’ve gleaned from it is invaluable. Not only is it fun to look back on my college days and see how I stretched my tiny budget to cover basic groceries and gas, it’s also super helpful to be able to look back at last year’s budget to quickly remind myself how much we we spent on Christmas gifts, how much we gave to local charities, or even how much we spent on gas.

Even if you don’t have a budget, don’t want a budget, or don’t need a budget, I would still highly encourage you to record your income and expenses in some sort of financial workbook for your own personal reference.

Just last month, I got our annual home-insurance bill and it seemed really high. So instead of calling the company or weeding through our insurance paperwork, I simply pulled up last year’s Financial Workbook and saw that this current bill was several hundered dollars MORE than last year’s bill. I quickly called the company and within 5 minutes, we had the issues straightened out and we saved over $300 :)

I’ve also saved money on our internet bill, garbage bill, and newspaper subscription by simply glancing back on previous year’s Financial Workbook and then contacting the companies to inquire about the additional charges… and you all know how much I love saving money!

OK, OK, I think I’ve made my point… you ALL should be using some type of method to track your finances!

You can either create your own, or you can download the one Dave and I use year after year. It’s completely FREE and all the formulas are ready to go. It’s the raw Excel files so you can simply save it to your computer and input your own numbers. All I ask is that you don’t sell this to anyone… and if you think someone might be interested, please direct them back to this post on my website!

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE 2013 FINANCE-TRACKING WORKBOOK BELOW:

  • Here is a link to it in Google Docs{a lot of the formatting is different here}

NOTE: The files will automatically download to your computer by clicking the link above. You will need Microsoft Excel (or similar program) on your computer to be able to use this worksheet — and you should save it in a convenient place (like your desktop) so you can easily update it on a daily/weekly basis.

Also, if you’re interested in how exactly we use this workbook, you can read this post from 2011.

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23 comments

  1. Deni

    01/07/2013

    Thank you Andrea! I was hoping you would share this with us again. This will be our third year using it, and boy does it work! It shows how and where we are spending and where we need to cut back.

    Thank you again!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    So glad it’s working well for you Deni!

    [Reply]

  2. Phil

    01/07/2013

    Thank you for sharing this. I have read about you using this in the past and the one question that comes to me is why not use Quicken or something instead of just a simple Excel spreadsheet which you have to manually enter everything into?

    I have tried Mint.com but wasn’t totally happy with it, but I still stick to the desktop Quicken software to track everything money…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure Phil — I guess this is just what I’ve always done and it works really well. So I figure, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’ve tried a couple other more “tech savvy” approaches but I come back to my simple Excel sheet every time :)

    [Reply]

  3. Cathleen

    01/07/2013

    Thank you!
    I had just downloaded the older version when you posted this, now I won’t have to make the changes. Looking forward to using it this year :)

    [Reply]

  4. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)

    01/07/2013

    Thanks for sharing this! I was just sending my mom an older version of this to help her as she adjusts to being the one in charge of her finances again.

    [Reply]

  5. Stephanie

    01/07/2013

    So impressed that you have been using this since college! I’m curious to hear about how your parents taught you to be so wise with your money….

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stephanie! You can actually read a little bit of how my parents helped me to manage money in this post… and I talk more about it here.

    [Reply]

  6. Courtney

    01/07/2013

    Thank you so much! I started using your system last year and it sure was eye opening! It was fun, almost making it a game trying to see if I could save more money the next month! Thanks again! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re SO welcome — and I totally know what you mean about getting competitive with your savings month to month! Enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Courtney Reply:

    Started using this already! One thing with the expenses – the totals are not including Groceries (cell B).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for pointing that out Courtney — I’ve updated it so everything should be correct now!

    [Reply]

  7. Stacie Kaltz

    01/07/2013

    Andrea, thank you soooo much for sharing this! This is going to be very helpful for my family! You have really enlightened me with looking at all expenses and being FRUGAL!!! I love it Thank you!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome… enjoy!

    [Reply]

  8. Dallas

    01/07/2013

    Thanks Andrea! This is awesome! I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed about creating a budget, and this is the PERFECT first-step I needed! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Create a budget can be overwhelming, but that’s mostly because you just don’t know where to start. by tracking your finances with this workbook, you’ll then have a good starting place for creating your budget. Hopefully that will make things a little less overwhelming!

    [Reply]

  9. Sallie

    01/08/2013

    I’ve actually been waiting for this! I used your worksheet last year and it really helped me keep track of where my money was going! Helped me be accountable for what I spend!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — that’s the point of this worksheet so I’m glad it’s working for you too!!

    [Reply]

  10. Ashley

    01/11/2013

    Thanks Andrea! I get so much information from your blog. Thank you for the time you spend getting this information out to all of us!

    [Reply]

  11. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)

    02/01/2013

    So, now that I am trying to track more of January, I have a question: we are working on paying debt down, so on the debt tab, would you track the total and reduce it each month or would you be tracking what you paid towards the debt. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  12. Reese

    03/02/2013

    Does your budgeting workbook work in iwork for macs?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m not sure Reese — you’d just have to try downloading it I guess. I use a Mac but I have Microsoft Office for Macs installed so I always use Excel.

    [Reply]

  13. Michelle

    05/02/2013

    Andrea,

    You say that this isn’t your budget, just how you track expenses. Do you use a monthly budget sheet and/or have one to share/show? Sorry if you’ve already shown this, but I don’t believe I’ve seen one here. We have a good budget, but have tried different ways of tracking it so I was just curious.

    Thanks for sharing! Always have great tips!
    - Michelle

    [Reply]