Disclaimer: I have written this post only because I so enjoy using Google Drive and Google Sheets and want to share it with you. I have not been compensated in any way for my thoughts or for this post.
Getting Started with Microsoft Excel
One of the best ways to ensure the entire family is onboard with your budget is simple. There needs to be open communication about your budget, and everyone needs to be able to access the budget quickly and easily. I created my first budget in 2013 using Excel for Mac. I did loads of research on how to format each cell to automatically calculate my income and expenses, and ultimately came up with a basic, functional budget. It was like magic! If I paid a bill, I simply entered in the amount and viola, my formulas crunched all of the numbers showing the new monthly total. This system worked great while I was single and before I needed to share my budget with anyone, and Excel was exactly the tool I needed.
|My first budget! A basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that I created myself to track my bills, income, and expenses.|
Then something amazing happened, I fell in love and dreamed of marrying my girlfriend and best friend Jenna! We were so excited about planning our future together and dreaming of our wedding day and more importantly, our marriage and life together. We both agreed that we would combine all of our finances and mold our two budgets into one. Over the course of dating, we determined many short and long term financial goals we wanted to accomplish and knew following a monthly budget would be an integral component to reach those goals. As I stated earlier though, it is crucial to discuss the budget each month and give everyone equal access to the budget. Our problem was Excel. While it met all of our needs in calculating monthly totals, it was not easy to share and access between both of our computers. We needed a new solution.
Enter the magic of Google Drive. Google Drive became our new budgeting vehicle. Similar to Excel, it offered a spreadsheet tool that functioned in every way we needed, exactly like Excel, allowing us to crunch all of our numbers. There was even an easy to download template that we could edit to fit our budget categories! However, Google Sheets excelled (pun intended :)) when it came to sharing our budget with each other. If you have used it before, bear with me, but if not, here are the basics! It functions much like a “my documents” section of a computer. You can create documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations. But here is the kicker, all documents are stored online within your google account, so you can access them anywhere you can connect to the internet, including your smart phone. It also has a sharing option where you can share documents with other people, and edit them in real time. As you edit the document, anyone with access can see the changes you make. I hope you are able to see the magic of sharing. If I make changes to the budget, Jenna can see them anytime she logs onto the document. We can leave each other notes, make comments about expenses, and, most importantly, we can tackle our monthly budget hand in hand with 100% open lines of communication.
|New and improved budget using a pre-made template from Google Sheets! All I needed to
do was change the categories and descriptions to match our actual circumstances.
|I love the ability to insert notes in any section (I know excel does this too)
to remind me how exactly we spent our money.