How to Make and Stick to a Family Budget


Budgeting can be hard, but budgeting for your entire family can be even harder. There are a ton of tools and apps you can use to help your family budget expenses. I personally, like to keep it simple by using Google Sheets to configure my family’s budget – it’s free and simple. I have created a template where there are functions that automate different sums whenever I input a value. Confused? Learn more about functions in Google Sheets here.

In simple terms, I budget for my family based on my bi-weekly paycheck and expenses for that pay period. Yes, ya girl is broke and living paycheck to paycheck. *sigh* I have been doing our budget this way for a few years and it really helps me see where my money needs to go and where it’s actually going! It’s important for me to budget not only so I can ensure that I pay my bills on time but also so I can afford all the adventures and trips I love to go on. In fact, I have a designated savings account strictly for traveling! To read more about my travels, click here!

At the top of the sheet, I have how much my expected income will be for that period and how much ‘extra’ money I had in the bank right before that paycheck:
(numbers used below are just used as an example)

In Row 2, you can see my check amount of $1726 and in Row 3, you can see how much money I had ‘leftover’ in the bank right before I got paid.

Right below that, you can see I have columns for planned expenditure (what I expect to spend or a certain bill), actual expenditure (the amount the bill actually was) and the difference (how much I have left-over or the deficit).

I always overestimate how much a bill will be when I am doing my family budget. This prevents me from not having enough money if another bill was more than I expected. For example, your PG&E bill varies month to month depending on your usage. But let’s say on average, it’s about $45 a month, you would round up to $50 just in case you used more electricity that month. When you use this method for each bill, you can end up with a ‘cushion’ of money to rely on if you’re on a tight budget.

Below, I have every bill that is due before the next pay period and the estimated amount. When I pay a bill, I place the amount I paid under ‘actual expenditure’ and Google Sheets automatically calculates the difference.


For example, let’s say I planned to pay $30 on the water bill, but I actually paid $20. I would input $20 into the ‘actual expenditure’ column and the difference will be automatically calculated as $10.

But let’s say I planned to spend $100 on the phone bill but I actually spent $110. I would input $110 into the ‘actual expenditure’ column and the difference will be automatically calculated as $10 – implying a deficiency.

I love using this method because I can really see where my money went and where I need to make adjustments in my budget if the deficiencies are reoccurring.

When I enter the amount I actually spent on a bill as I spend money, I can really stay on top of my budget. As soon as I leave the grocery store, I pull up Google Sheets on my phone and input the amount I spent. If I go grocery shopping again later in the week, I add up the amount spent earlier with the latest amount spent at the store.


After all expenses have been made for that pay period, I can see that the amount I had planned to spend was $2,400 (B8), the amount I actually spent was $2,332.58 (C8), making the difference $67.42 (D8).

If you look at Row 20, you can also see that I didn’t plan to use all my income on expenses, I had $282.00 ‘left-over’. And after paying all my bills, I had $67.42 ‘left-over’. If you add $282.00 with $67.42, you get $349.42, or how much money I have left after paying all my bills.

Then, on the next pay periods budget, I will add $349.42 (account balance) with my income! And repeat!

Budgeting for your household doesn’t have to be stressful if you plan accordingly. As previously mentioned, I have been using this method for years and it has never failed me! If you have any questions or would like me to send you the template I use in Google sheets with the functions already inputted, feel free to contact me!

Happy budgeting!

To read more about how I balance other things in my life, be sure to check out my wellness section!

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