50+ Sample Expense Worksheets

What Is an Expense Worksheet?

An expense worksheet is a working file, either online or printed, that lists all outgoing monetary flow. It is an organizing and accounting tool that compiles a person’s expenses, its corresponding amount, and other key information.      

In an online article published by personal finance company The Balance, author Miriam Caldwell lists three main reasons why everyone should start tracking their expenditures. The first reason is it helps people stick to their budget. The second is monitoring expenses can help reveal spending issues and patterns. Lastly, tracking your expenditures is a helpful tool in meeting financial objectives and saving goals.    

Who Can Use Expense Worksheets? 

Expenses are a part of daily life. Both individuals and companies alike have to contend with ordinary and everyday expenses. The examples listed below are common scenarios along with their typical corresponding costs:  

Small Business: Micro, small, and medium-sized companies have a lot of operating expenses that are needed to keep a business running. On top of the overhead costs of maintaining a store or commercial space, business owners have to pay for rent and repairs. Sometimes, small businesses are subject to additional fees or are required to contribute for the maintenance of common areas. Self-employed people also need to pay for manpower and wages. And almost all businesses need a reliable and steady flow of supplies. Contractual labor, vendor management, and even promotions and advertising are all typical expenses of a business owner. Household: Running a household may seem simple, but it is anything but easy. Depending on the size of a household, expenses can range from utilities, housekeeping or hired help, groceries, allowances, upkeep, and mortgage payments. Household management requires not just leadership and responsibility, but also a keen sense of pragmatism. Especially if the home has young children, being the head of a household can have its share of challenges. School: Unless you are on a full scholarship, a student’s list of expenses can be a lengthy one. The cost of higher education is greater, of course, than primary school. But both can incur similar expenses. These costs can include tuition, textbooks, school supplies, meals, extracurriculars, and miscellaneous fees. If we were to take into account today’s pandemic situation, internet costs is added to the list because of online and remote learning. For college students, sometimes there’s the addition of room and board, utilities, groceries, transportation, and recreational expenses. Holiday: Anyone who has been on holiday knows that it’s not always free welcome drinks or inclusive use of the swimming pool. Charges can unknowingly pile up whether you are on a quick out-of-town getaway or a two-week Mediterranean cruise. Aside from air travel and accommodation, other possible expenses can range from airport transfers or van rentals, guided tours, daily meals, entertainment and recreation activities, entrance fees, personal shopping, all the way down to tips for hotel staff.

Sample Expenses

Everything that can be assigned value and anything that can be made commercially available, will always entail some expense. Expenses can easily be classified into essential and non-essential. It is just up to the consumer to decide where each item belongs. The examples below are common, everyday expenses that most people are faced with. 

Housing and Rent: This is one of the most basic expenses for any household. Whether it’s building a house or renting one, you need to be able to pay for it. People pay monthly dues to continue living in rented homes or apartments. Or if you took out a loan to pay for your house, mortgage payments are an essential bill. It’s not only the house itself you’re paying for either. The upkeep, maintenance and repair, and even sometimes hired help are all part of managing housing expenses. Food: Food is a basic need. Every individual, family, and household needs a steady flow of supplies in order to survive. In most urban settings, people have the option to cook at home or dine out; both groceries and restaurants carry a variety of food to choose from too. Prices of food can also range from very affordable to overpriced. And since everyone has their own personal taste and preference when it comes to food, the responsibility falls entirely on the individual to properly budget and manage food expenses. Utilities: Basic utilities like power and water are part of any household or business. Because of their universal and fundamental use, various sectors and advocates continue to push for action and conservation of these two basic utilities. If energy and water become scarce resources, having to pay a higher price for utility bills could be the fate of all consumers. Medical: It is not easy being admitted and confined in a hospital. Even with adequate insurance and healthcare, many families still struggle to pay hospital bills. Medical charges can cover anything from room fees, consultation and doctor’s fees, medicines, medical procedures and treatment (e.g., chemotherapy), and so many others. Vacation or Recreation: A lot of people set aside savings to be able to travel for leisure. Family vacations or group travel can even take weeks of planning and preparation. More detailed travel itineraries include the estimated expense for each day. Examples of these expenses are accommodation fees, transportation charges, daily meals, entrance fees, shopping allowance, rentals, and other miscellaneous charges. Transportation: With the ease of transportation nowadays, it’s more convenient to get around because of the many options. Getting from point A to point B is routine for a vast majority of people. Whether through private or public modes of transportation, each option always entails some cost. You need to be able to continue using a private car by gassing up regularly and maintaining and/or repairing the vehicle. Commuting on public transit also usually incurs minimal expense. Transportation expenses are just as essential as utilities or housing. Charity: People give to charity for various reasons. Church donations are considered a normal practice for a lot of religions. Nonprofits and civic organizations are known for fundraising programs and projects. All in all, donating and almsgiving are still considered an expense. It may not be an essential expense; but the motivation and reason behind donations transcend any practical reason. Debt: Since the dawn of credit cards and financial technology, it has become easier and easier to incur debt. People who lag behind in their bills or who struggle to pay back debt can often find themselves in stressful situations. Not only can interest rates contribute to higher expenses, but various penalties like late fees may apply as well. To save yourself the unnecessary burden, try not to borrow money for unessential items as much as possible. Of course, loans can help you afford important needs like a home or an education. But if it’s a non-essential item, you want to avoid paying for it by using borrowed money. Subscriptions: Every service entails some form of cost. It can either be fixed, recurring, or flexible. Everyday essentials like telecommunications are considered basic expenses. However, you do have the freedom to choose one that works for you. Telecom companies offer all kinds of mobile and data plans, and some of these are unnecessarily expensive. One way to cut down on expenses is by restructuring or modifying your subscriptions. You don’t have to pay for unlimited internet access on your mobile phone, if you don’t really need it. It’s the same with streaming services. It’s perfectly fine to spend money on entertainment. But if you’re looking to lessen expenses, food and electricity will always take priority over Netflix.

How to Create an Expense Worksheet

To create an expense worksheet, you have the option to customize your own or use an editable template. If it’s convenience you want, using a sample template will save you time and effort. Choose from any of the available options above. Otherwise, follow the four basic steps below to get started:   

Step 1: Use the Right Format

The most practical way to create a worksheet is by using a MS Excel spreadsheet. It’s not only convenient, but it keeps your list organized and structured. It does not have to be a complicated worksheet. Keep it simple by only including the basic details. Another option is creating a table using MS Word. Whatever application you choose, just make sure to keep in mind the proper formatting and layout.        

Step 2: List Down All Expenses

Itemize all your expenses and indicate the amount for each item. You have the option to add extra columns for the date of purchase, brief description of expense, source of funds, and other additional information. You can keep it simple with a plain table or a detailed spreadsheet, whatever suits your needs. To spruce up your worksheet, you can add colors and play around with fonts just to make it more interesting.   

Step 3: Organize and Classify 

The third step is important because a clear and comprehensible list is better than a messy or disorganized one. There are different types of expenses; you can group together the similar ones by assigning categories. It’s important to classify your expenses for easier tracking. For example, group together rent, utilities, internet, cable, appliances, and lawn maintenance under ‘Household’. Student loans, life insurance, child support, and legal fees can be labeled as ‘Obligations’.   

Step 4: Update Regularly

In order to maximize your expense worksheet, it needs to be updated regularly. For any purchase or outgoing money transaction, be sure to include it in the worksheet. It doesn’t matter if it is a small online purchase or a generous charity donation; list it down so all your funds are accounted for. Tracking your expenses will give you a better idea of your spending patterns and could serve as a personal reference point for improvement.    

FAQs

What are the expense categories?

According to an online article on FreshBooks, the three basic expenses categories are fixed, variable, and periodic. Fixed costs are your semi-permanent payables like rent or insurance. Variable expenses are flexible and may vary from month to month. These include meals, power, and water bills. Lastly, periodic expenses refer to those rare instances where an expense is unplanned such as an emergency situation or spontaneous out-of-town trip.

How do you track daily expenses worksheets?

The easiest and most convenient way to to track daily expenses is by inputting them in an Excel spreadsheet. Simply create a spreadsheet and key in the categories, items, and amounts. If this is too time consuming for you, there are dozens of available apps you can download. Income and expense tracking apps are popular because of their functionality and practicality.

What is the 70 20 10 money rule?

The 70-20-10 rule is a method of saving that people have the option to use. The rule states that 70% of one’s income is to be allocated for spending- both essentials and non-essentials. The 20% is to be set aside as savings. And the remaining 10% is reserved for donations or for charity. The 70-20-10 method is one way of budgeting and controlling one’s spending habits.

What are common monthly expenses?

Some common monthly expenses are rent, transportation costs, meals, utilities, life and health insurance, gym membership, childcare, credit card bills, student loans, cell phone plans, streaming subscriptions, and personal hygiene/care. Most of these expenses are essential; but a good tip to remember is that priority is always key. It is best to arrange all your expenses based on urgency and priority.

What is the best app for tracking expenses?

According to a recent CNBC article, the best free app for tracking expenses in 2021 is Mint. Goodbudget was awarded the best app for beginners. The app best suited for small businesses is QuickBooks Online; and Expensify was deemed the best app for business expenses.

It is almost impossible to completely dodge expenses. Even if you are the most frugal or stingy person there is, expenses will always be part of everyday life. The best you can do is to learn how to track and effectively manage your spending habits. Choose from dozens of free and editable templates above to customize your own expense worksheet today!