A month or so I did something I've never done. I looked at all my bills lined up in a row, and I understood exactly what was coming out of my bank account and when. This is not something that typically happens in my life. Usually, it's quite the opposite if I am honest. This bill tracking spreadsheet has been such a blessing to my life, and I've only been using it for a month. Today let's chat about why you need a bill tracking spreadsheet and how to create one that's practical and helpful.
Why You Need A Bill Tracking Spreadsheet
Before we get into how to create a bill tracking sheet, let's chat about why you need one in your life:
Overdrafting Is Expensive
Overdrafting is often expensive for consumers, and it makes banks a killing every year. Did you know that in 2017 Americans spent $34.3 billion in overdraft fees according to MarketWatch? According to the same report in 2016, we paid $33.3 billion on the same charges. It's ridiculous, and it's going to keep growing as long as we don't know what's going in and out of our bank accounts and when.
For me, it was difficult. I pay for a lot of entertainment for my family, and those are based on a subscription model. It comes out of my bank account each month without me having to do much thinking, but if there isn't anything for it to take, those companies take anyway. Hulu doesn't care if I currently have $5 in the bank or $1,000.
Knowing what bills you have coming out and which bills you need to prepare to pay is so important so you can make sure that you have the right money in your bank at all times.
Related Post: How To Stop Overdrafting Your Bank Account
A Bill Tracking Spreadsheet Helps You Understand How Much Money You Need Each Month
With a bill tracking spreadsheet in place, you know the bare minimum you need to make and when. It's a magical feeling knowing exactly how much money you need to make to stay afloat. Being in the dark is for the birds, tbh.
Creating Your Bill Tracking Spreadsheet Will Help You Understand Where The Waste In Your Bills Budget Is
Once you have every bill laid out, you can see where the waste is in your bills budget. Sometimes we pay for things on a monthly cycle that aren't necessary. Maybe you pay for too much entertainment on a regular basis, or you are paying for a subscription that you don't care for anymore. Once you have your bills all laid out, you can decide to cut off one of those payments, so you aren't wasting your money anymore.
What A Bill Tracking Spreadsheet Doesn't Do
While a bill tracking spreadsheet is fantastic, it doesn't do it all. Here are a few things you can't expect from your bill tracking spreadsheet.
It Doesn't Showcase Purchases
This is not a budget; it's just a spreadsheet that shows what's coming out of your account on a regular basis and when. Bills are an essential part of the process of understanding what you can purchase, though. So, you start with the bills which you know will come out of your account regardless; then you move on to the purchases you want to make outside of bills like food, shopping, etc.
It Doesn't Stop You From Making Bad Choices
The spreadsheet itself won't necessarily remind you that you are making bad money decisions. Yes, it will showcase what bills you need to be on the lookout for, but it won't stop those lousy money decisions from happening. You have to be vigilant in comparing the bills you have coming up to what's in your bank account and what's coming in your bank account soon.
It Isn't The Only Part Of A Well Oiled Money Life
Your bill tracking spreadsheet is only one part of your money life. You need a spreadsheet that tracks income and other expenses like Starbucks trips and shopping. You may also want a spreadsheet to track business expenses in case you want to write those off later. Your bill tracking sheet is important, but it's not everything.
How To Create A Bill Tracking Spreadsheet
Do you want to create a bill tracking spreadsheet right now? Lucky for you I have all the instructions you'll need to complete this task below.
Check Out All The Cards/Accounts You Normally Use To Pay Bills To Find More
Go through all the cards you use to pay for things with a fine tooth comb. What are all the recurring charges you see? Write those down in the first column of your bill tracking spreadsheet.
Find The Payment For Each Bill
The next step is finding the due dates, find the payments, so you know exactly what you are paying for each bill.
Find The Due Dates For All The Bills
While you are finding the payments for each bill, find due dates for all those bills and write that down in the due date column.
Create A Column For Each Month You Use The Tracker
Instead of creating a spreadsheet for each month, which would be wasteful, create a column for each month you use the tracker so you can tick them off as you pay them.
Freeze The Bill, Payment, and Due Date Columns
To make it easier to use the spreadsheet as time goes on, freeze the first three columns of your spreadsheet. This way those columns follow you as you add more months to your spreadsheet.
Arrange The Bills By Due Date
Once you have all your due dates settled, arrange the calendar by due date. I personally just arranged mine by hand instead of using the spreadsheet controls to do it.
Create A Total/Sum Row At The End Of The Spreadsheet
Once everything is in place, you may want to create a total/sum row at the end of the spreadsheet, so you know how much you have to make each month to pay all your bills.
Grab My Bill Tracking Spreadsheet Template
As much as I'd like to believe that you will set this all up, I know that it can be difficult. Looking at your finances is hard enough, and I don't want creating the spreadsheet itself to be a deterrence for you. So, I created a template that does everything I've talked about for you. It's pretty sweet! Best of all, I will be sharing the Excel and Google Sheets links for you.
If you'd like to use the Google Sheets version, you won't be able to use it right away. You need to make a copy of it first because you only have view access to the spreadsheet. If I did it any other way, you'd be editing the spreadsheet, and everyone would be able to see that. To make a copy go to:
File –> Make A Copy –> OK
Before you hit okay, you will be able to change the file name and pick a destination for the bill tracking spreadsheet copy. The place to input all that information will look like this if you are doing it right:
Alternatively, if you work with Microsoft Excel versus Google Sheets, I have also created the spreadsheet template there, and it looks great. To download this, press the link below, and it will download the document straight to your computer. If you don't wish to download something straight to your computer, use the Google Sheets version.
Today on the blog we discussed everything you need to know about creating a bill tracking spreadsheet. With this sheet in your life, you will be much more organized and ready to tackle the world when it comes to the bills you need to pay. I hope that you enjoy the spreadsheet I provided and that it helps you take your finances to the next level.