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How to Budget Without a Spreadsheet


Maybe just looking at that little six-letter word makes your stomach churn. One glance and you have visions of oversized calculators, complicated spreadsheets and confusing formulas that make your head spin.

But what if you could budget without all that hassle?

Good news: You can! With the EveryDollar app, budgeting is easy. In fact, even if you’ve never made a budget in your life, you (that’s right—you!) can create a plan for your money in five simple steps. And the best part—it won't take you a million years to make it happen.

Easy as 1-2-3 (4-5)

Once you’ve got your EveryDollar account and your bank information, you’re ready to dive in.

All you need to do is follow these five simple steps. Make sure you follow them in order—no skipping ahead to the end!

1. List your income.

Plug in your monthly take-home pay at the top of your EveryDollar budget. This includes all the money you plan to receive for the month: paychecks, side jobs—everything. If you aren’t sure what your monthly income is, look over your bank statements from the last few months to see.


Start budgeting with EveryDollar today!

Pro tip: If you work on commission or have an irregular income, estimate low and adjust your numbers once you get paid!

2. List your expenses.

Now that you’ve got your income at the top, it’s time to list out your monthly expenses. Plug in all the places you spend money—starting with the essentials. Think about things like giving, saving, food, utilities, housing, transportation, insurance and childcare. Once you’ve got the necessities down, start making categories for the fun stuff, like restaurants, date nights and entertainment.

Pro tip: Don't forget seasonal expenses! You know, the things you have to pay for one month but not the next. These month-specific expenses won't creep up on you if you plan ahead!

3. Subtract your expenses from your income. (This should equal zero.)

This is called zero-based budgeting, and it means you give all your money a job to do! This is how you stay in control of your money. Every. Single. Dollar. 

4. Track your spending.

You’re almost done! You've done the three steps to make a budget. Now it's time to keep up with it. That starts with tracking your expenses.

Every time you spend money, track it in your budget. If you swing by the grocery store, add that expense to your budget. When you fill up the gas tank, add that expense to your budget. When you buy cookies from the cute troop outside the hardware store . . . you get the idea. Even those mint-chocolate wonders need to be accounted for in the budget!

As you add transactions, your EveryDollar budget will update to show you how much you’ve spent in each category—and how much you have left to spend.

Pro tip: Upgrade to the premium version of EveryDollar—where your transactions stream automatically from your bank. Goodbye, paper receipts! So long, forgetting to track an expense. You can just drag and drop your transactions to the right budget line. That's super easy. 

5. Make a new budget before the month begins.

You've got to make a new budget. Every. Single. Month. Because most of your expenses will be similar, but no two months are 100% the same. And do it before the next month begins so you're ready for what's coming!

Congratulations—you just created a budget! And the best part is that you didn’t need a calculator or any complicated formulas. You didn’t even have to open a spreadsheet! It really is as easy as 1-2-3 (4-5). 

Don’t have an EveryDollar budget yet? No problem. It’s free to create your budget. Seriously!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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