Money Goal Tracker
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- January 24, 2020 Updated
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- How to Customize Your Budget
- How to Customize the Analytics Worksheet
- How to Track Your Income
- How to Track Your Expenses
- Check Your Analytics for More Information
- How to Unprotect and Protect the Worksheets
- Track Your Spending to Reach Your Savings Goal
How much money do you have in your savings account? If you’re like many Americans, your answer may be zero. In fact, a 2016 survey found that 34% of American adults have nothing saved. Another 35% have less than $1,000 in savings.
If your savings account is looking slim, don’t worry. There is hope. But it will require intentional planning and effort on your part. This money goal tracker can help you check “manage your money” off your to-do list.
When you download this template, you will receive an Excel file with four different worksheets. These all work together to help you get control of your finances. When you open the My Money Goal Tracker file, you will see the following tabs:
Together these components will help you create savings goals, get a handle on your spending habits, organize the way you save money, and create better money management skills.
How to Customize Your Budget
Once you have downloaded the file, you can begin customizing it to get a better picture of your financial reality. After all, you can’t save money and increase the balance in your savings account without understanding where you are currently standing.
The first worksheet will help you document your regular income and expenses. It will also help you create a realistic savings goal.
Enter the Dates
Do you want to create a monthly budget, or an annual one? There are pros and cons to both styles, so pick the one that makes the most sense for your situation. This Excel template is currently set up with formulas for an annual budget, so if you prefer to keep things simple, go with an annual version.
But there are benefits to tracking on a monthly basis. It’s easier to spot problem areas in the budget and correct them sooner. You can make adjustments for the next month based on data from the previous month.
Once you decide, go ahead and enter a start date. Then enter an end date below that. If you enter a date in the standard MM/DD/YYYY format, the formula will add the day of the week.
Once you enter both dates, the Total Days in the next column automatically adjusts. You can see how many days are in the period between the start and end dates.
Enter Your Income
How much money do you expect to earn during this period? Go ahead and enter any projected income from your salary, extra cash from side hustles, or other sources.
You can use more specific labels on your income sources if desired. Feel free to add or delete to get an accurate reflection of your total household income.
As you enter data, you will notice the numbers in the box at the top changing. This means the formulas are all working.
Enter Your Expenses
Now it’s time to dive into your expenses and show where your money needs to go. Sit down and think about each expense that you have. Many common expenses are listed, but feel free to add more as needed.
You can enter extra rows as needed. Just make sure to enter these above the green line. For help inserting a new row, please read this article:
When you’re entering your expenses, having your bank records pulled up can help. Then you can review what you have spent in the past and use that number to help you project a more accurate amount.
Create Your Savings Goal
What are your financial goals? How much of your income do you want to intentionally save? Many financial experts recommend putting at least 20% of your income towards savings. This includes both long-term and short-term savings whether it is getting a new car, vacation, emergency fund or savings some extra money for a rainy day or as an emergency fund.
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Take an honest look at your income and expenses. How much can you realistically commit to saving right now? If you aren’t able to start with a full 20%, don’t get discouraged. You can start small and work up to that. For example, consider moving money from your checking account into your savings account whenever you can afford it, making slow but steady progress toward reaching your goals.
For now, pick a number that is doable, and enter that into the “Savings Goal” section.
As you enter different dollar amounts, the other numbers in that section will change. The % of Income shows how much of your income your savings goal is.
The Adjustments Needed tells you how much you need to cut from or add to your budget to make your savings goal doable. This is looking at how much you have coming in and how much you have going out and telling you what you need to change before you can achieve your goals.
If this number is positive, it means you are living on less than you make and have some extra money to put into your budget. If this number is negative, it means you need to cut some things from your budget to make the math work. You want this number to be zero.
The % of Expenses tells you what percent of your expenses need to change to make the adjustment needed zero. As you cut expenses, you will see this number go down.
When you have zero adjustments needed, your budget is balanced. Now you can move onto the next worksheet.
How to Customize the Analytics Worksheet
This savings goal tracker worksheet has a lot of formulas, so be careful when you’re making changes.
In the box at the top, you will see some basic analytics. These tell you what percentage of your income and expenses you have accounted for in your budget.
It also tells you how much you need to put into savings each day to meet your savings goal.
Any changes to the existing lines that you made on the Budget worksheet will be reflected here as well. However, if you added additional lines for expense categories on your Budget worksheet, you will need to add those lines in here as well.
Simply click on the row above the total and select “Insert Row.” Then type in the category. Carefully drag down the formulas in the Budget, Spent, and Remaining columns, using the directions in this article:
The numbers in this spreadsheet will automatically update as you enter your income and expenses in the next two worksheets. You will not need to manually update them here as well.
How to Track Your Income
Whenever you have money coming into your bank account, it’s important to track it. You can enter your income on the Income worksheet.
When it’s time to record an income, begin by adding the date. You can use the standard MM/DD/YYYY format and the spreadsheet will adjust it to match.
In the “Description” column, add a brief note about this income. Is it money from a specific client from your side hustle? Or a paycheck from your employer?
Next, use the “Category” column to select a category from the drop-down menu. Your choices will automatically be populated from the categories you put in the Budget worksheet in the income section.
By the end of the month, this will serve as a record of all of the money coming into your account. If your projected number was higher than your actual income, the difference will be in red, as seen in the image above.
How to Track Your Expenses
Keeping track of where you spend your money is an essential component of money management. This Excel worksheet provides a digital record so you can go back and see where your money went.
At the top of this worksheet, you can see how much money you budgeted for the month. You can also see how much you have recorded as spent.
Now, whenever you pay for something, enter it in this worksheet. You simply add the date and description. Then you use the drop-down menu to select the category. These options are all pulled from the Budget section of the worksheet.
If you have an expense that doesn’t fit into these categories, it’s a red flag that you need to make an adjustment to your budget.
Next, enter the amount you spent. As you enter expenses, the amount you have actually spent shows at the top of this worksheet.
Check Your Analytics for More Information
As you make changes to the Income and Spending worksheets, formulas are working in the background to update the Analytics worksheet. You can go back to this worksheet and see exactly how much you have left in any category of your budget.
If you have overspent in a category, the font color will be red. At the bottom, you can see your total amount budgeted and spent.
You can make changes to your budget throughout the month. For instance, if you realize you spent too much on groceries, you can add extra money to that category and lower the amount you will spend on miscellaneous expenses.
How to Unprotect and Protect the Worksheets
When you first download the money tracking template, you will need to unprotect it. No password is needed, but you will need to follow these steps on each worksheet of the template.
- Click on the “Review” tab in the ribbon.
- Click “Unprotect Sheet.”
Now you can adjust the size of cells, so the dates show up properly instead as a row of hashtags. You can also make any changes you need from the customization directions below.
When you are finished making changes, consider protecting your sheet again. This way you can enter your numbers in each month, but you won’t have to worry about accidentally changing a formula. To protect your sheet, go back to the “Review” tab. Then click “Protect Sheet.”
Track Your Spending to Reach Your Savings Goal
The first few months of budgeting will be the hardest. It's ok to take baby steps in reaching your financial goals. Building good financial habits takes time, and you do need to build an accurate reflection of where your money is going.
Throughout the month, it takes time to enter your expenses. But, tracking your spending really is key to reaching your savings goals and one of the good habits you want to have in your money management toolbox.
When you see where your money is going, you can look for spending habits you need to change. You can get inspired to lower your expenses and grow your savings.
The four worksheets in this Money Goal Tracker can help you reach your savings goals. As you work through them to create a budget, record your income, and track your expenses, you can take control of your financial destiny.
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