My partner and I have been looking for the most appropriate way to manage our finances for years. While today we cannot imagine our lives without Monshare, there were times when a simple spreadsheet was enough and I would like to share it with you in case you find it useful. This blog post will describe the personal budget template we used in the past, budget categories and principles of budgeting we used with my partner.
How to get started with the personal budget template?
- ‘Name & Shares’ is there if you want to track ‘who paid what’ and ‘what is my fair share’ in your relationship. If it’s not for you, enter the names and leave the shares empty. Many couples split bills proportionally to their income or some other pre agreed ratio (e.g. 50:50 or 60:40), if it’s something you need, please enter appropriate share amounts in the ‘Shares’ column. Do make sure the numbers sum up to 100.
- ‘Budget categories’ section contains 10 placeholders for categories you’d like to track. If you do want to stick to a budget for a certain category, please set it up in the ‘budget’ column and leave it empty if it’s not for you. We will talk about different budget categories further.
- ‘Income categories’ section allows for flexibility of tracking your incomes.
- What budget categories do I spend my money on?
- How much disposable income do I have left?
- Am I under budget?
- Have I overpaid/underpaid according to our pre-agreed split?
What budget categories should you use?
I prefer to group all the expenses that I don’t control under ‘Fixed’ costs. This budget category will include spending on rent, utilities, insurance etc, since this is something that is relatively fixed from month to month in our situation.
Then I like tracking the following:
- Household – it includes all things we casually buy with my partner, including: groceries, cleaning materials, subscriptions etc.
- Eating out – covers restaurants and takeaway, though granted, much more takeaway lately.
- Vacation – we (used to) travel quite a bit and it’s the category we have the highest control off. Thus we track it separately.
- Leisure and beauty – this is something I do for myself, like hairdo, cinema tickets etc. This personal budget spreadsheet will automatically split all expenses between the two of you, hope it’s something your partner is comfortable with. After all they enjoy your beauty and good mood as well;-)
- Hobbies – I do quite a bit of hobbies, including tennis, piano & german classes. I know I won’t keep myself in control there unless I keep an eye on my spending.
Why was this personal budget spreadsheet not enough for me?
If the personal budget spreadsheet worked for us 100% we would have never built Monshare, but unfortunately (or fortunately?:-)) it did not:-). It had the following limitations, which are easily addressable with the app:
- We had to be very diligent and log every transaction now and then. My partner was not too committed to this process, thus it was getting quickly out of date. We wanted our transactions automatically imported from our banks, rather than enter them all manually.
- We both have ‘shared’ and ‘personal’ spending. My hobbies, for example, come out of my personal budget and I refuse our family budget to cover his cigarettes among all:-) This personal budget template did not allow for tracking both budgets side by side, and when adjusted, became so slow and complicated, that it’s usefulness became even more questionable.
- I still had to use splitwise on the side to manage shared spending with my friends (e.g. for our joint trips). You can read more about how Monshare differs from Splitwise and other well known apps in our previous post here.
Monshare addresses all the 3 concerns for us, and if the spreadsheet does not work for you either, we invite you to try Monshare as well:-)
I hope you will have found our personal budget template useful. If you have a better version with a healthy balance of ease of use and flexibility, we would love to hear about it! Please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or share with us on social media.
Thank you for reading.