Creating a budget in Excel can be a painstaking process. Auditing what you spend on groceries, entertainment, rent, utilities, etc.. every month is a sobering exercise. However, if you know your way away some common functions in Excel in addition to Pivot Tables, the process will feel less like a burden.

Look Familiar?

Here we have our expenses for March, and we’re trying to figure out how much we spent on coffee. But imagine if we had 30 transactions over 4 months, and we wanted to know how much we spent across that entire period. Adding every amount up by hand wouldn’t scale.

### SUMIFS to the rescue

In this case SUMIFS takes three arguments:

1. The Sum range – What column do you want to add up? Column D has all of the amounts we spent, so we choose column D
2. Criteria Range – Where are we looking to focus in on criteria? Since we’re looking for all of our coffee spending, we look in column C
3. Criteria – Let’s tell Excel exactly what we’re looking for in column C: Coffee. In this case we’ve select F4 because it contains the word “Coffee”

Result: \$12.25 spent on coffee in March. And it was damn good.

Want to search for the sum of a different category? Simply change the value in f4 and the formula changes with it.

We spent \$103 in March at restaurants and bars.