Excel provides a great platform for budgeting just about anything. As a travel addict, I love to use Microsoft Excel on my Macbook Air to track and budget my expenses. Since the Macbook Air is so light, it accompanies me on almost every trip I take, making it the most convenient and ideal place to manage my budget.
The first step is, of course, to have an idea of how much you would like to spend on the trip. I have a known tendency to always underestimate the amount of money I am going to spend…it’s a constant struggle between budget versus reality on my travel adventures.
For this example I am going to allocate an arbitrary $135 per day: $20 for transportation, $50 for housing, $35 for food, $20 for activities, and $10 for gifts.
The next step will be to create an easy to use template in Microsoft Excel so that our expense tracking runs as smoothly as possible. The method that works best for me is to have a daily row, which you update once a day (usually at night). Below is my go-to template for travel budgeting:
The best part about this template is hidden in the picture above. In column G, the Total column, our budget shows $0.00. When we begin to input our expenses in the designated rows column G will automatically add the expenses together and give you the total sum.
This is due to a formula in column G that adds any number added into columns B – F. This formula can be inserted by typing =SUM(B4:F4) in the cell in column G. Please note the cells in the parenthesis must be for the cells you are going to input only numbers in.
Once you have completed a full week of traveling, and a full week of budgeting, you can add the Total Spent (Weekly) at the bottom. To do so, insert the same formula as the daily sum, but edit the cells in the parenthesis to only include the totals in column G:
Below we have a full week of expenses correctly logged:
We came in at $27 under budget, even though on Thursday we took part in a $100 activity and spent $30 more on Gifts than we originally budgeted.
The great thing about budgeting in this template is we can see all the days in one concise spreadsheet, and evaluate our activities per day and per week. I like the simplistic nature of this budgeting template, and while some spreadsheets can be very technical and advanced, this template is easy to use for every Microsoft Excel user.
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