Budget Project Spreadsheet Setup


  • spreadsheet

Everyone lives within a budget. Everyone has limited resources and must make choices about how to use them. There will always be more things that you want than you will be able to purchase. Individuals have different values and preferences, and the amount spent in different categories will fluctuate greatly from person to person. Whether you plan it out ahead of time, or completely wing it, you will constantly make choices about how you spend the money you have.

You cannot spend money you do not have unless you borrow it from someone else and pay interest (or if some generous person gives it to you). The bills do come due at some point, and sadly, many people get into very difficult situations because they misuse credit Any time you borrow and pay back in monthly installments you decrease the normal monthly amount of money you will have available in future months.  This project is designed to help you consider many different options so that you can be intentional about the choices you make in planning for your future.

How much income will you need to live the lifestyle you desire? There are a lot of factors that determine the answer to this question. This project will give you the opportunity to design a budget for two different income levels so that you can compare. The project as written suggests you use the amount you would make if you worked full time at your local minimum wage as one income. The spreadsheet files have $10.00/hr. entered by default until you find the minimum wage rate in your area. The default for the other income level is at 25,000/year but that amount can be changed as well. The amount entered should be approved with your teacher.

The project is designed to be completed over the course of a semester. Each Unit is designed to be completed in a week, most of it should be able to be completed in the time set aside in the Basic Economics Course if you are enrolled in it. However some weeks will require more time for the research. Each week you will investigate one category of income or expenses and make decisions about how you think you might budget that area. You should develop a notebook with thorough notes on all your research and document the sources of any information you use. You may want to go back to some information once your spreadsheet is more complete.

Download and save the spreadsheet from the Boundary Stone website to your computer. There are three format choices. Choose the one that works best for your needs:


Use this if you have Microsoft Excel installed on your computer, or if you want to use Google Sheets. Many of the cells in this sheet are protected so that you do not change something accidentally. You can also save this version to Google Drive and use their free software, Sheets.


Use this if you have a Mac with Numbers installed.


Use this if you do not want to use a spreadsheet program. Simply print it out and hand write in your entries. You will have to do the computations yourself. Click on the image to open in full-screen mode. There will be a toolbar on the bottom of the screen with a download icon.


Complete the Minimum Wage Lesson

Go to the bottom of this page and click on Minimum Wage Lesson to proceed. The Minimum Wage Lesson will have you find the minimum wage in your area and enter your starting figures in the spreadsheet. If you need navigation help, see Navigation box above.

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