Instead of using an app to track our expenses, my husband and I opted to create a simple shared Google Spreadsheet so that we could both access it anytime we want. We started doing this in 2015 (when this post was first published), but we’ve kept up with it, with only minor tweaks. The main purpose is to keep track of our reoccurring expenses with the added benefit of seeing how much we spend each month on these bills, i.e. how much money we’ll have left over. Here’s how we do it.
How We Track Reoccurring Household (E)xpenses Using a Shared Google Spreadsheet
We use Google Spreadsheets because we can both access it from anywhere on any device and it’s easy to set up.
The headers across the top are for the name of the expense (we get specific), category, due date, and then the months of the year. We used to have a column for AutoPay (Yes or No), but now all our reoccurring expenses are automatically paid. If it’s not offered by the company, then we set it up through our bank.
Another column we have (not shown in the picture above) is which account the expense is being paid from – whether it’s mine, my husband or a credit card (we use one for some bills to get the hotel points). The last row is for the total sum of the expenses for the month.
In each cell goes the total dollar amount of the expense for that month.
Sample Expense Tracker Spreadsheet
Above is an EXAMPLE (the numbers are made up). Some expenses will be the same every month – e.g. rent or mortgage, and some will different, e.g. gas, electricity. We’d leave those cells blank until we got that bill for the month. When an expense is only once or a few times a year – we just highlight the cell green to let us know it’s an active bill that’s not due that month. If we are no longer paying that an expense – for example, the glorious day when we will no longer have a car loan, then we highlight the cells for the remainder of the year gray.
How We Make It Work
We set up the online accounts for every bill, and then one person primarily enters the monthly expenses – me! I use another app (see App Love eWallet) – to keep password and account details (we’re not comfortable keeping these on an online spreadsheet) for all the accounts. I primarily use the eWallet phone app – but I also have it on my laptop and my husband’s Ipad – and sync them all together regularly.
Also, as mentioned before, all our expenses are automatically paid in full, but we do keep track of the due date on the spreadsheet – and we actually try to set up automatic payments to be in the first 5-10 days of the month, so they are paid and gone, and we don’t accidentally use more than we have to spend.
This is how our family tracks reoccurring household expenses using a shared Google Spreadsheet. How do you track bills in your household? Do you use an app, pen and paper … or not at all?