How To Make Expense Tracker (Free Template)

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Over the last 3 years of being a student, I tried all sorts of money-tracking templates, spreadsheets, and apps.

They just don’t work for me. 

Tracking money and budgeting is cool for the first week and then my brain just gives up on it.

It’s too much friction and just boring.

So I realized that in order to make it easy for me to see what I make and spend in a month I’m going to have to create my own finance tracker template with Google Sheets.

A good rule of thumb to aim for when trying to save money is the 50-30-20 rule.

It says that 50% of your money you should use to live, like eat, electricity, water, and housing, 30% you can spend on whatever you want, and 20% you invest.

But I think the best way to save more money is to make more money by starting your own online business or a YouTube channel.

But for now, let’s focus on tracking expenses, and in this guide, I will show you how to make your own monthly expense tracker.

Also here’s a finance tracker template that I already made with Google Sheets for you to download if you don’t want to make your own:

Google Sheets Monthly Finance Tracker Template

How To Make Expense Tracker In Google Sheets

Here’s a step-by-step guide about how to make an expense tracker in Google Sheets:

1. Create Four Columns (Category, Income, Category, Expense)

2. Add a dropdown menu for each category column

Creating expense categories in Google Sheets

3. Create income and expense categories

Adding expense categories in Google Sheets

4. Calculate total expenses, income and svings with formulas

How to calculate income and expenses in Google Sheets using formulas

5. Calculate expenses by category

How to calculate total expenses by category in Google Sheets

6. Apply conditional formatting

How to apply conditional formatting in Google Sheets

7. Duplicate template for each month

How to create a monthly finance tracker template in Google Sheets

Master Google Sheets: Creating Your Own Expense Tracker

I made a Skillshare class about making your own expense tracker with Google Sheets.

This class is for complete beginners to finance and Google Sheets and doesn’t require any prior knowledge. 

You’ll learn the all Google Sheets basics for tracking finances:

  • How do Google Sheets work & where to find them
  • How to create and rename new Google Sheets
  • How to use conditional formatting to make your expense tracker more esthetically pleasing
  • What are formulas and how to use them to track your finances
  • How to use the “SUM”, “UNIQUE”, and “SUMIF” formulas
  • Useful Google Sheets keyboard shortcuts
  • How to create a Google Sheets finance tracker template
  • How to share Google Sheets templates with friends

All you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection to get started, and chances are if you’re reading this – you’re all set.

Moreover, the class is free if you sign up for a Skillshare free 30-day trial.

Free Monthly Finance Tracker Template


Finance tracking FAQ:

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it come to budgeting your own income and expenses:

How to track expenses easily?

Tracking monthly expenses with Apple notes

You can easily track your finances with Apple Notes or any other notes app on your phone.

Whenever you make a purchase write down the price and what you spent it on.

At the end of the month sum up all of the expenses and all of your income in a separate place and you’ll be able to see your spending habits over time.

What is the 50 30 20 budget rule?

The 50 20 30 budget rule says that you should spend 50% of your earnings toward your needs (water, rent, electricity, basic food), 30% toward your wants (going out, shopping), and 20% on investments.

What is the best spreadsheet to keep track of expenses?

The best spreadsheet to keep track of your expenses is the one that you’ll actually use.

Making it easy for yourself to track your monthly spending is the key thing to making this habit stick long-term.

In the beginning, you can track your finances with Apple Notes or a simple Google Sheets monthly finance tracker.

Is there an expense tracker app?

There are many expense tracker apps but having to input the actual spent amount by hand is better than having an app that looks at your bank account and does it for you. 

If you have an app that does all the tracking for you, then you can just ignore it until the end of the month, feel guilty for one day and then continue spending.

I found that just using Apple Notes to track finances works a lot better for me since I force myself to see every dollar that I spend immediately after the purchase.

Does Google have a expense tracker?

Google budget tracker templates

Yes, Google Sheets have a monthly and yearly budget planner template that you can find by going to

What is the 70 20 10 money rule?

The 70-20 10 money rule says that you should spend 70% of your income on essential expenses like food and shelter, 20% of your income on investments, and 10% of your income is the “fun bucket” that you can spend guilt-free.

What is a good monthly budget?

A good monthly budget to aim for is the 50/30/20 rule.

Use 50% of your income to pay off your essential living expenses such as groceries, rent, and utilities, 30% to buy anything you want, and 20% to invest.

The first thing to reduce is not the investment bucket but the free-spending bucket.

How much should I save each month?

Most experts recommend that you should save at least 20% of your net income each month.

However, the goal is to make this number as high as possible. Saving 30% or even 50% of your income will let you reach your financial goals faster.

What is a realistic budget?

A good rule of thumb is to save at least 20% of your net income. 

A realistic budget is one that you can stick with long-term.

If you squeeze your expenses for one month and then go back to previous spending habits the next month – your budget was too tight.

How much savings should I have at 30?

The minimum amount that you should have saved is at least 6 months’ worth of your monthly expenses.

It’s called the emergency fund and it acts as a safeguard in case you lose your employment or something unexpected happens. 

Is it too late to start saving at 30?

Compound interest curve over 50 years

It’s never too late to start saving and investing.

The sooner you start investing the more time your money will have to start growing and compounding.

The best time to invest was 10 or 20 years ago but the next best time is now.

What is the best age to save money?

The best age to start saving and investing money is in your 20s.

The sooner you start investing the more time your money has to grow and compound itself.

If you start investing 10 years later, your future returns can be as much as 50% lower than if you were to start investing in your 20s.

How much should 25 year old have saved?

By age 25 you should have saved at least 6 months of your income. 

According to the book “The Millionaire Next Door,” the amount that you should have saved in order to become a millionaire can be calculated using this equation:

Your Net Worth = Your Age * Your Annual Income / 10

So if you’re 25 and are making $10 000/year your net worth should be at least $25 000.

How to be a millionaire?

To become a millionaire you should not focus on lowering your expenses but increasing your income.

The best way to increase your income is to start a side hustle or an online business.

Was this guide about how to budget your monthly finances useful?

There you have it – my guide on how to make a monthly expense tracker using Google Sheets.

Ultimately what most people fail to do is to stick with the habit of budgeting in the long run.

Tracking your money for one month will not yield considerable results but doing it over many years will.

That’s why the critical factor isn’t the finance spreadsheet but you.

Your patience and consistency when it comes to tracking your finances is what’s going to make a difference.

It doesn’t matter which method you use to track your money, whether it’d be Apple Notes, Notion, Excel, or Sheets.

What matters is that you track something.

What gets measured gets improved.

But the best way to have more money to save is to make more money.

I will leave you with a few killer guides about how to start your own online business or side hustle and generate more income:

How To Make Money Online As A Beginner

Read More

How to Create an Online Course for Free

Read More

5 Best Websites Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Read More
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