How to Create a General Ledger

A General Ledger will help you track your income and expenses. Here’s how it works.

Download a blank ledger template here (pdf).

  1. Create a chart with 5 columns
  2. Label these columns: Date, expense, location, budget category, account balance/money left to spend.
  3. Fill out these columns with the expenses you have.
    [For example, if you purchased a $10 movie ticket on April 7, you would fill out the general ledger as follows: You’d put April 7 under the date column; -$10 under the expense column; Regal 7 Cinema under the location, entertainment under the budget category column, and then the total amount you have left to spend under account balance/money left to spend column.]

    example general ledger

    If you don’t have a budget category for a particular expense, that could mean it is a new or unexpected expense that you did not account for in your budget.

  4. Record your income:
    You also record income you have to spend in your general ledger. Instead of recording it as an expense “-$10 Movie tickets”, you record it as income “+100 gift from Uncle Ron.” Of course, you would add to the amount you have in your account balance/money to spend, unlike an expense, where you subtract the amount.

    Reconcile your general ledger with your bank statement.

On to the next section!