Budget Analysis with Excel Pivot Tables: Step-by-Step Guide for Expense Projection

Managing a budget can be a daunting task, but with the right tools, it can become a manageable and even empowering activity. Pivot tables in Excel are a powerful feature that can help you analyze and project your expenses with ease. This blog will guide you through the process of using pivot tables to get a clear picture of your financial situation and make informed decisions about your spending and saving habits.

How To Use Excel Pivot Tables For Expense Projection & Budgeting

Step 1: Gather Your Expense Data


Before you can analyze your expenses, you need to gather all your financial data. This includes all your spending across different categories such as housing, groceries, utilities, entertainment, and more. You can export your bank and credit card statements or manually track your expenses in a spreadsheet.

Here’s an example of how your raw data might look:

| Date       | Category    | Amount |
|————|————-|——–|
| 2023-01-01 | Groceries   | $150   |
| 2023-01-03 | Utilities   | $90    |
| 2023-01-05 | Entertainment | $60   |
| …        | …         | …    |

 

Step 2: Create a Pivot Table


Once you have your data, you can create a pivot table in Excel:

1. Select your data range.
2. Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and click on ‘PivotTable’.
3. Choose where you want the PivotTable report to be placed.
4. Click ‘OK’.

 

Step 3: Organize Your Pivot Table


Drag and drop the fields from your data into the PivotTable Fields:

– Drag the ‘Category’ field to the Rows area.
– Drag the ‘Amount’ field to the Values area.
– Drag the ‘Date’ field to the Columns area or Filters area, depending on how you want to view the data.

Your pivot table will now summarize your expenses by category.

 

Step 4: Analyze Your Data


With the pivot table created, you can now analyze your data:

– Look for high spending categories.
– Compare spending over different months.
– Identify trends or unusual expenses.

 

Step 5: Project Future Expenses


Based on the trends you identify, you can project future expenses:

1. Use the average spending per category to estimate future months.
2. Adjust for known changes (e.g., a planned vacation).
3. Create a new column in your pivot table for projected expenses.

 

Example of a Pivot Table Analysis


Let’s say you’ve been tracking your expenses for the first quarter of the year. Your pivot table might look like this:

| Category    | January | February | March | Average |
|————-|———|———-|——-|———|
| Groceries   | $450    | $400     | $500  | $450    |
| Utilities   | $270    | $280     | $260  | $270    |
| Entertainment | $180   | $200     | $150  | $176.67 |

From this table, you can see that your average monthly grocery spending is $450. If you want to reduce your expenses, you might set a goal to bring this down to $400 in the coming months.

 

Conclusion:


Pivot tables are an invaluable tool for budgeting. They allow you to quickly summarize and analyze your expenses, making it easier to identify where your money is going and where you can cut back. By projecting future expenses based on past trends, you can create a more accurate and effective budget. With practice, you’ll be able to master your budget and take control of your financial future.

 

Live Excel Support Transcript Example:

Below is a live transcript of one of our Excel experts helping a customer to organize expense data into a pivot table:

 

Full Conversation:

Customer: How are you, Carl?
Technician: I’m doing well. I got a request. She needed help with something.
Customer: Yeah. Thank you so much. Just give me a second.
Technician: Second. Okay. Now, I exported my bank account debits. I’d like to create a pivot table to see each day the expenses.
Customer: Okay. So typically I’d like to see the last two months, but I did download 12 months because I think once you do the pivot table, it doesn’t matter really. Because I want to be able to project burn rates for the next two or three weeks. Your sound keeps cutting out. I’d like to calculate my burn rate for the next two or three weeks. So I downloaded my past bank history, and I’d like to put it into a pivot table. So I’d like to see the bills per day.
Technician: Okay. Yeah, that’s definitely something we can do. Could you share your screen so that I can see what you’re working with?
Customer: How do I do that? Share screen.
Technician: Okay. Right. It’s not this one, actually. I downloaded a different one. So just give me a second. I’m going to open that one. I’m just going to close this one. Okay. Now I’m going to share the other one. Okay. Let me share the other one. Okay. Now you see this is the one. This is a 12-month report. Okay. I have about 1,500 records, and I’d like to create a pivot table. For some reason, sound keeps dropping out, but I think that might be on my end.
Technician: Okay. So what you can do is select columns A through E and then do insert and pivot table.
Customer: Okay. And then what you’re going to want to do is drag posting date down to rows and then put amount under values. And, yeah, that’s it.
Technician: That’s it. If I want to see what the transactions were, it doesn’t make sense because I want to see this.
Customer: Okay. So I go to August, and I see exactly how much each day costs.
Technician: Correct. September, the same thing. Right. And then you could include description, but it’s not really – that’s a hard thing to summarize. Right? Like, it’s easy to add up amounts. I don’t know what we’re going to do with descriptions, right, to, like, combine them. So I think that probably that’s the most useful form of the information is like that.
Customer: Got it. Okay. Much appreciated. All right. Anything else I can do for you?
Technician: No. This is it. Okay. Thank you so much.
Customer: All right. Very good. Well, let me know if I can help with anything else in the future, and you enjoy the rest of your day.
Technician: You too. Bye-bye.
Customer: All right. Bye. Thank you. Bye. See you later. Okay. Bye.