How to Make a Budget in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a budget in Excel is easier than you think. Start by opening a new Excel spreadsheet. Then, list your income sources and expenses. Categorize your expenses into fixed and variable. Finally, use Excel formulas to calculate your income, expenses, and the balance. In less than 100 words, that’s how you make a budget in Excel.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Make a Budget in Excel

Making a budget in Excel helps you manage your finances by giving you a clear picture of your income and expenses. Follow these steps to create a simple yet effective budget.

Step 1: Open a New Excel Spreadsheet

Start by opening Microsoft Excel and creating a new blank worksheet.

When you open Excel, you’ll see a range of templates. Ignore these and click on the ‘Blank workbook’ to start with a clean slate. This will give you the flexibility to customize your budget to your specific needs.

Step 2: List Your Income Sources

In the first column, list all the ways you make money.

This could include your salary, any freelance work, dividends from investments, or any other sources of income. Be sure to include everything to get a complete picture of your financial situation.

Step 3: List Your Expenses

Next, list all your expenses in the next column, categorizing them into fixed and variable.

Fixed expenses are those that stay the same each month, like rent or car payments. Variable expenses can change, like groceries or entertainment. This will help you understand where your money is going and where you might be able to make cuts.

Step 4: Use Formulas to Calculate Totals

Use Excel’s SUM function to add up your income and expenses.

Excel has many powerful functions, but SUM is one of the most basic and useful. It will automatically update your totals if you add or change any numbers in your income and expenses lists.

After you complete these steps, you’ll have a basic budget that shows your total income, expenses, and how much money you have left over at the end of the month.

Tips for Making a Budget in Excel

  • Be thorough when listing income and expenses. The more detailed your budget, the more control you have over your finances.
  • Use the ‘Autosum’ feature to quickly add up columns or rows.
  • Regularly update your budget to reflect any changes in your income or expenses.
  • Use Excel’s ‘Freeze Panes’ feature to keep your income and expense headers visible as you scroll through your budget.
  • Consider using Excel’s built-in budget templates for more complex budgeting needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I update my budget?

Update your budget at least once a month, but consider reviewing it more frequently if your income or expenses change regularly.

Can I use Excel on my phone to make a budget?

Yes, Excel has a mobile app that you can use to create and manage your budget on the go.

What’s the difference between fixed and variable expenses?

Fixed expenses stay the same each month, while variable expenses can change. Understanding this helps you predict your financial needs more accurately.

Can I share my Excel budget with someone else?

Yes, you can share your Excel budget by sending the file or using the collaborative features in Microsoft 365.

What if I don’t have Microsoft Excel?

There are free alternatives like Google Sheets that you can use to make a budget that shares many features with Excel.


  1. Open a new Excel spreadsheet.
  2. List your income sources.
  3. List your expenses, categorizing them into fixed and variable.
  4. Use Excel formulas to calculate totals.


Making a budget in Excel can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. With just a few simple steps, you can have a budget that not only tracks your spending but gives you the insights you need to make smarter financial decisions. Remember, the key to a successful budget is keeping it updated and accurate. That way, you’ll always know exactly where your money is going and how much you’re saving. And if you’re still feeling unsure, there’s a plethora of online resources and templates available to help you get started. So what are you waiting for? Take control of your finances today and start making a budget in Excel. Your wallet will thank you!

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