Pagemonth Budget
plan ahead to get ahead
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Pagemonth Help
Usage guide with printing tips
This help page is intended to assist you with specific, step-by-step “how to” suggestions related to this budget spreadsheet.  The twin end balances (cash flow and category transactions) at the bottom of each monthpage will keep you on track, and if you save your budget only after you get  the twin balances to agree, your budget totals should be accurate.
For help setting up and getting started with your personal budget spreadsheet file, click the setup page on the navigation bar above, 
For help with purely spreadsheet issues such as handling and formatting cells, mechanics of data entry, copying cells, formulas, and values, printing your work, locking and unlocking work, password protection, security issues and naming and saving files, pages and so forth, use the extensive help menus of the worksheet itself.
Entering and copying, step by step
Open the spreadsheet to January, cell A3.  Adjust pane to show vertically through row 21 and  horizontally through column P.  This is the top third of your January page as it will print on most printers.

Let’s try a quick copy through all twelve months: 


Confirm that the year, cell O1, is the current one.  If not, correct it and click enter.  Copy the cell (ctrl+C), then click the "pagedown" button twice.  That should position the highlighted cell in the same position in February, cell O64.  Copy the cell (ctrl+V).

Using a right hand finger on the pagedown button and your “left pinky” and index finger to press ctrl+V after every third pagedown click, copy the correct year to all twelve months.  Use this same 3-pageup or 3-pagedown quick-entry method to copy any amount of cells throughout the year, and especially when you’re setting up a new budget year.
Next, enter a beginning balance (your last December 31 checkbook balance) in cell J3.  This is the only time you’ll need to enter a value in this position, since all other months except January have a formula in the beginning balance value, brought forward from the previous month’s end balance. Similarly, you will not enter an end balance in any month.  That will automatically adjust its amount to the income and expenses you enter through January.

At this point, save your work! (ctrl+alt+S)  Save it with a new name you decide on like “MyBudget12.xls”, and save it in a place you’ll remember, like a “MyBudgets” folder you can create in MyDocuments.  Save it again frequently or after entering any new data or other changes to avoid frustrating loss of your efforts.   (Hint:  In most programs like Excel and Works you can set up automatic, timed saves in their Options menu.  See the help pages of the application you are using to learn how.)

Entering and copying Regular Expenses
Beginning in cell M8, briefly identify your first regular (monthly) expense.  You can use whatever category name you prefer.  On the sample budget I use mortgage/rent.  Enter your own amount in cell O8.  

Repeat the category names and amounts you normally write checks for each month, whether by paper or online e-payments against your checking account.  Don’t forget to “pay yourself” a realistic cash total as a regular expense, and a payment to your credit card companies. 


Next, you may wish to enter the date of the month you’d normally prefer to write these checks or withdraw these amounts.  If  the transactions are split into more than one day per month, enter “var” instead of the date (“various”).  I prefer to pay mine around the 15th and 30th.  


Using your cursor to select the entire range of dates, categories, names and amounts you established as these regular expenses for January (L7 through O24), copy them to the clipboard (ctrl+C), then pagedown three clicks per month and paste them (ctrl-V) into the other eleven months in the same positions. 


Note that your end-of-month balance continues to draw down as you go.

Enter your Regular Income


Help to pay your expenses is on the way!  Enter your main job paychecks, social security income, etc. for January in category 501 (H7-H9) and your spouse’s in category 502 (H11-13).—whatever you’re depositing into your checking account--and the dates you normally expect to get paid.
Copy these cells through the other months as you did your regular expenses, because you expect to get these throughout the year.  ( If you have a seasonal job or other income source, of course you’ll skip the months those paychecks won’t be received.)
Enter Other Income, if known

Note that you aren’t entering amounts in category 503, Other Income, because you don’t know what refunds, earnings from sale of personal items on Ebay, gifts, rebates—whatever you deposit in you checking account—may be coming over time.  You’ll add these as you learn of them.

All that remains is to set up and copy through-year your cash flow area for January.  Noting from your category 111,”cash”, enter the approximate days of each month you’ll withdraw some cash, for example, your $400 monthly total divided by 4 weeks=$100 per week on, say, January 1 (Yes, ATM’s are open on holidays.), 8, 15, and 21.  If your cash runs out before the 31st, you can always hit the ATM again, but for now copy the cashflow columns A, B, and C, through January and paste them through the other months.

Take a moment now to peek into cell D5 (=D4-C5). Most cells in column D are subtraction formulas like this one, showing how much is left in your checking account after you withdraw your $100 on January 1.

Now enter the dates you anticipate getting income into your checking account, January 3 from your spouse’s employer and January 30 from yours.  Peek again into the D cells (running balance) at  D8, and you will likely find another subtraction (-) formula that needs to be changed to an addition instead (replace the “-“ with a “+”, enter).  Ah, that’s a relief!  Lesson: you must change plus and minus signs to reflect what they are: costs or income.  If you do this step right, you should see the same end balance for January in both D61 and J61, (as well as F50, to the nearest dollar to save space) confirming you picked up on all income and expense category amounts. 


Now copy all your January cash flow amounts through the other months of the year.  The year-end December cells D754 and J754 should still match.

You can always modify the dates and amounts if your needs change, but you need to have your cash hits total the amount you paid yourself in category 111 totals, so your bottom line cash flow will match.  Welcome to double-entry bookkeeping!
Why leave other expenses and charges blank?
You won’t know when you set up your budget what these may be.  If you do want to “reserve” an amount for a future date, you can.  But don’t forget to enter it immediately in the cash flow side for that date as well.  Note that in the sample budget  I reserve not only cash each month but also a sizable amount to pay the chargecard issuer for whatever I might charge through the previous 30 days or so.  If it turns out I don’t owe that much when the bill comes, I change it for that month in the category item and the cash flow side.  Doing this, I eventually paid off my charge cards entirely and continue to do so each month.  So can you!  Since major vendors usually factor in your charge payments in determining your credit rating, this is a good thing to try to do.  You’ve already given yourself a head start just by reminding yourself on the right page when you charged each purchase, what category you’ll cost it to, and the amount.  And again, if you’re charging things more than the 27 or so “active” rows allocated in the monthpage, (because they show as category totals in the Charges summary area) you may need to either group some of them or consider a different spreadsheet design.
Note that the charges are the only transactions you enter that you won’t duplicate on the cash flow side, because you pay for them as a single check from your account to your card issuer each month--often a month after you charge them.  That is not the case for transactions you categorize and enter in “Other Expenses,” which must be entered in cash flow as well.  Debit card expenses are handled like checks, listed under Other Expenses under the appropriate 120-129 category, and entered on the cashflow side as well on the date purchased, because each debit immediately lowers your checking account balance. 

Costing Cash Expenses
That about does it for entering and copying data.  Oh, and how could we handle that medicine I paid cash for the other day?  I really wanted to cost it to 121, medicine, but that would mean I took it out of checking as a separate check, and I didn’t; I paid the copay out of pocket in cash.  Here’s one way to do it it: 
I go ahead and list it in Other Expenses as a category 121 Medicine transaction so it will accumulate to monthly and yearly totals I can possibly deduct on my taxes.  Then I also enter it in cash flow for the date I paid for it.  But here’s the difference:  In the D (running balance) column formula I delete the right five characters.  Thus, the checking account balance remains unchanged from the row above it.  But since I have still treated it as a checking account loss in Other Expenses, I need to also go up and deduct it from category 111, cash total for the month.  That way the cash flow balance again matches the category side balance for the month, I show I bought the medicine, and everyone is happy. 
Whatever else I pay cash for and want to cost to another category (professional expense, for example), I can treat the same way.  But whatever I use to pay for something—cash, check, debit or charge—I get the receipt and save it.


Finally, let’s look at our January summary areas, our projections for the year in every category, and our month and year anticipated gain or loss as projected on every monthpage.


We began January with a $10,000 beginning balance (J3) and ended with an end balance of  $11227.02 (O3, J61, and D61), gaining 1,227.02 for the month. (O61).  If the other months’ income and expenses of the sample budget sheet (which I have only provided values for through March), I would show a gain of $4,968.98 (O58) which is repeated in that same relative position on every monthpage February-December.

We’re done!  Let’s print it! 
Your pagemonth spreadsheet comes pre-formatted to print any or all of 12 monthly pages plus an annual summary page, all on standard 8 1/2"x11" notebook-size pages.  

If you want to see how Excel pagebreaks these, hit Print Preview, then View/Pagebreak.  If alignment needs adjusting to match the margins you want to print, you can move the dotted lines in the January area to the size you wish., and the other pages will scale to the same size.

Confirm you have the print area you wish for each page by turning off the pagebreak view in the top View menu and selecting instead Normal  view, then you should see the pages as you want them to print, 1-13 containing printable values, 14-24 being blank cells you won't waste paper on.. 

Working from hard copy printout pages vs. working from the computer screens


I find it convenient working offline to make a full year's hard copy of all the months plus the summary page.  I create each new year's budget on a new file named "Budget12" or "Budget13" etc.during the previous year's December, so it's ready to go as the new year begins and I continue my budget seamlessly into January.    I punch holes and put the new pages in my ring-binder behind my previous year summary page.  Then, as I modify each month's values for actual experience through that month, I print out just that monthpage and replace the obsolete values one in my notebook.  By the end of the year I have my twelve pages of actual experience values, and I add my summary page, then I have a good, detailed, offline package of information to work with when I prepare my taxes. 


I use separate tax preparation software, so when I want to see what I spent the previous year, for example, for professional unreimbursed expenses, I go to the yearend summary for those category totals for both 122 (cash) and 132 (charged) transactions, add them and I have it.  I usually refer to each month page as well to see if I missed any items that may have been assigned to other categories by error, and correct them, and lastly I go back through my handwritten check register to make sure I caught every deductible item and costed them accurately to the right category on my monthpages. 


Daily transactions are done on the computer screen, and I rarely bother to print a monthly page until the end of the month after I enter my final costs and income numbers.  The computer lets me page down and see what each transaction does to my bottom line for the month and the year easily on one electronic page,   But I usually work with hard copy after each month passes.  An exception would be if any numbers change for previous months, in which case I'd go back and correct them and print out a new one.


For safekeeping I like to keep a hard copy as well as electronic storage, and even if I keep previous year's spreadsheets on my hard drive, I like to make a copy outside my computer as well, using an external hard drive, flash drive, etc.  Our financial figures are among our most important data, and I'd hate to think of the time it would take to reconstruct entire years of the detailed numbers.  Keeping values up-to-date and securely saved is the key.