How to Manage and Budget Utilities Using Google Sheets

In this article, we will delve into the various features and functions provided by Google Sheets, as well as expert tips on how to optimize its utility management capabilities. With the power of Google Sheets at your fingertips, you can gain a clear understanding of your utility usage patterns, set realistic budgets, and make informed decisions to cut costs and conserve energy. Embrace the convenience and efficiency of Google Sheets, and take control of your utility expenses like never before.

How to Extract Data from One Google Sheet to Another Based on Criteria

Understanding the costs of utilities

  • Electricity
  • Natural gas
  • Water/sewer

is crucial for managing your budget effectively. To help you track and analyze these costs, the Utilities template offers several features:

1. Consumption/Usage and Cost Tracking:

You can keep a record of the consumption/usage and cost for each utility service over a five-year period.

2. Graphical Representation:

The template displays your consumption and cost data in graph form, allowing you to compare the changes over time.

3. Payment History:

It shows the amount you have paid for each utility service over the past five years, based on previous transactions.

4. Payment Graphs:

You can also view your payment history in graph form to analyze any trends or fluctuations.

5. Budget Generation:

The template enables you to generate budget amounts based on either last year’s usage or usage patterns derived from all your logged data.

Installation:

  1. Copy the Utilities sheet from the provided demo template to your Tiller Foundation template.

Setup:

  1. Expand the Settings section by clicking the “+” symbol above column AB.
  2. Set the “Transactions Based On” field to either “Category” or “Description.” This determines how the template identifies your utility transactions on the Transactions sheet.
  3. For each utility chosen under “Category,” select the respective category from the drop-down menu in the Transaction Categories section.
  4. For each utility chosen under “Description,” enter the exact transaction description in the Transaction Descriptions section. Ensure that all transactions for a specific utility have the same description.
  5. Choose the desired Budget Type to determine this year’s budget numbers. Options include Last Year, Last Year – AVG, Last Year – MAX, AVG Per Month, and MAX Per Month.
  6. Enter the first date of your budget period in the Budget Start field, e.g., 1/1/2023.

Usage:

  1. In the green cells of the Consumption section, enter the consumption data for each month that you have available. This allows you to observe consumption patterns throughout the year and across different years.
  2. Enter the corresponding invoice costs in the green cells of the Cost based on Invoices section. This helps you understand the cost of each utility in the month of consumption.
  3. The Cost based on Transactions section will automatically calculate totals based on the information provided in the settings. This provides insights into how the cost of your consumption affects your budget.

Budgeting:

  1. The External References section displays your budget information based on the settings you entered. To use this information in the Budget Plan 13 template, create a new Budget Item and set the frequency to “ExternalSource.” In the Notes column, enter the appropriate reference for each utility category (e.g., Utilities!$AF$4:$AQ$5 for Electricity).
  2. If you are not using the Budget Plan template, you can utilize the Categories template. Use the following formula for each utility category in the first budget period month (e.g., Jan 2023): “=Utilities!AF$5” for Electricity, “=Utilities!AF$9” for Gas, and “=Utilities!AF$13” for Water/Sewer. Copy the formula across the remaining months by dragging the fill handle in the lower right corner of each cell.

Notes:

  1. It is not necessary to manually enter consumption or invoice costs. The template can be used solely for budgeting utilities based on past transactions.
  2. You can choose to track and budget specific utilities, depending on your needs. In the provided example, only electricity and gas usage are budgeted, while water/sewer is managed through the Budget Plan template.
  3. If you encounter any issues or have suggestions for improving the template, please let us know. If there is sufficient interest, we may consider creating an Excel version as well.

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How to Manage and Budget Utilities Using Google Sheets 2

How do I organize bills in Google Sheets?

Organizing bills in Google Sheets can help you keep track of your expenses and payment due dates. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to organize bills in Google Sheets:

  1. Create a new Google Sheet: Open Google Sheets and create a new spreadsheet.
  2. Set up column headers: In the first row of the spreadsheet, create column headers to label the different categories of information you’ll be tracking. Common headers for organizing bills include “Company/Provider,” “Bill Type,” “Amount,” “Due Date,” “Status,” and “Notes.”
  3. Enter bill details: In the rows below the column headers, enter the details of each bill. Fill in the corresponding information for each column, such as the name of the company or provider, the type of bill (e.g., electricity, phone, rent), the amount due, the due date, and any additional notes.
  4. Use conditional formatting: Conditional formatting can help highlight bills that are due or overdue. Select the “Due Date” column and apply conditional formatting rules to format the cells based on the date. For example, you can set it to turn red if the date is in the past or approaching.
  5. Track payment status: In the “Status” column, mark whether the bill has been paid, is pending, or is overdue. You can use different symbols or colors to visually represent the status.
  6. Add formulas for calculations: If you want to track totals or calculate amounts, you can use formulas. For example, you can use the SUM function to calculate the total amount of bills or the COUNTIF function to count the number of bills paid.
  7. Set up reminders or alerts: If you want to receive notifications or reminders for bill due dates, you can use Google Calendar or set up email reminders in Google Sheets. Linking your bill due dates to your calendar or setting up email reminders can help you stay on top of your payments.
  8. Customize and format the spreadsheet: Format the spreadsheet to make it visually appealing and easy to read. You can adjust font styles, add borders, use colors, and apply conditional formatting to highlight specific information.
  9. Regularly update and review: Update your bill tracker regularly by entering new bills as they come in and marking bills as paid when you make the payment. Review the spreadsheet periodically to ensure accuracy and to stay aware of upcoming bills.
  10. Consider using templates: If you prefer a pre-designed template, you can explore Google Sheets templates or search for bill organizer templates online. These templates often come with pre-built formulas and formatting options that can help streamline the process.

In Conclusion

Managing and budgeting utilities using Google Sheets can be a highly effective way to track and control your expenses. By implementing various features and tools available in Google Sheets, you can easily monitor your utility usage, analyze trends, and allocate funds accordingly.

The versatility and accessibility of Google Sheets make it a convenient platform for individuals and households seeking to optimize their utility budgeting and management process. Furthermore, the ability to collaborate and share data with others allows for effective communication and decision-making within a team or household setting.

By adopting the practices outlined in this article, you can take charge of your utilities budget and enhance overall financial planning. Start using Google Sheets today to streamline your utility management and achieve greater control over your expenses.

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