A budget is probably the most important spreadsheet you can create. A good budget will keep you focused on your ultimate financial goal and help you avoid pitfalls like that adorable timeshare on Aruba. Budgets are surprisingly popular among rich people. You would think that wealthy people have so much money that they do not need a budget. But according to the book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, most wealthy people in fact do have budgets, which may be part of the reason why they are rich in the first place.
In this project, we are going to set up not only a budget, but also a ledger to keep track of expenses and a budget report to show how our actual expenditures compared with our budget. This project presents an ideal case for taking advantage of some of the more advanced features of Excel.
In this first part of our Advanced Budget Project, we are going to set up the actual budget. A budget is simply a plan, in this case a plan for getting and spending money. Like all plans, budgets do not fare extremely well when they come up against reality. But that may not entirely be the point. President and five-star general Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”