These are the best free budget templates around – mostly from fellow personal finance bloggers! How awesome is that? ;) I have to put mine at the top, of course, but ANY of these have the potential of working well nicely.
Remember, none of these budgets are perfect, but you can tweak & edit and use the one that’s the most perfect for YOU. I change mine up every once in a while – getting rid of the parts that don’t make sense any more, and adding in those which do – but the important part is FIRST choosing a workable template. So hopefully one of these works.
Best Free Budget Templates & Spreadsheets:
Here are the best free budget templates I’ve found so far! If you come across any others you think are worth adding, drop me a note. I’m always looking for more great ones ;)
|“Financial Snapshot & Budget” @ Budgets Are Sexy
Google Doc | Excel | Example (filled in) | More details
A colorful and easy way to track your budget and overall Financial Snapshot! Room to budget per paycheck, detail your net worth (if you want), credit card balances, savings funds, total income, and an extra budget just in case :)
|“4 Step Budget Template” @ Life After College
Google Doc | More details
Most budgets are too cumbersome to be useful (in my humble opinion). Check-out this handy four-step budget: After filling in income, must-have expenses and nice-to-have expenses, you’ll get a “monthly allowance” for you to spend on discretionary items as you’d like, with the peace of mind of knowing that your main expenses are taken care of.
|“FLOP: Financial Life on One Page” @ Christian PF
Excel | More details | His other great templates!
I love this one because it’s a single file for all your financial account details. It has three main purposes: a balance sheet, a place for all login info, and a financial roadmap. And Bob recommends keeping an updated file of this somewhere safe in case a family member needs at any point.
|“Personal Monthly Budget” @ My Money Shrugged
Google Doc | Net Worth Google Doc | More details
This budget spread sheet works because it allows you to put in projected and actual income and cost and then shows you the difference. It is a great way to be able to compare each category or individual areas. This budget is also broken up into different categories based on major areas of your budget – housing, transportation, insurance, food, savings, etc.
|“2010 Budget Spreadsheet” @ Finance for a Freelance Life Excel | Blog Income | Freelance Income | More details
This budget spreadsheet is very basic and is meant to be adapted to any person’s unique situation. It’s easy to add or delete lines and to change the names of categories to better fit your life. For convenience in tracking specific purchases throughout the month, it has a spending log as the first page. This way, you can not only see how much you spent in each category at the end of the month, you can track how purchases added up.
|“E.O.D. Deluxe Budget 2.0” @ Enemy of Debt
Excel | More details
EOD Deluxe Budget 2.0 is a comprehensive budget spreadsheet including a zero-based budget, an allocated spending worksheet, a checking account ledger, a savings allocation worksheet, as well as a lump sum payment schedule.
|“Free Budget Spreadsheet” @ Money Under 30
Excel | Really Simple Budget | More details
Using the spreadsheet is easy. Enter the monthly amounts in the appropriate categories, estimating any value that fluctuates from month-to-month. Once you’ve entered the values, the spreadsheet will tell you how much you will have left at the end of the month to save or put towards debt. It will also tell you how close you are to an ideal income allocation (such allocation models are frequently used by banks and other lenders for determining your financial balance).
|“How Much Debt Costs You” @ Debt Free Adventure
Google Doc | More details
Complete with CHART. Figure out how much your debt costs you each month. Specifically, how much of your loan payments are allocated toward interest (paying for the debt) and how much toward principal (paying the debt down.) *Included are 3 sheets: Data, Chart, and Print*
|“Early Retirement Spreadsheet” @ Budgets Are Sexy
Excel | Version 2 | More details
*NEW* I put this together to help me calculate how far away early retirement / financial independence is. It’s not budget-related, but if your dream is to retire and do what you want before your 60s, I highly advise running your numbers and seeing if they make you happy ;) If not, time to start tweaking!
Other Great Templates & Spreadsheets:
Sometimes less options are better, but I didn’t want to leave you hangin’ if none of those above options did the trick for ya. Keep in mind that all these spreadsheets & templates are customizable, but see if you like any of these better: (I’m listing them out or else this page would go on forever ;))
- USAA: Budget Worksheet (.pdf)
- Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Wedding Budget Worksheet (html)
- Gail Vaz-Oxlade: Gail’s Interactive Budget Worksheet (excel)
- 27 and Frugal: Beginner’s Budget (google doc)
- My Money Blog: Within Your Means (excel – created by leisure guy)
- My Money Blog: Spreadsheet #2 (excel – by Neil Rothma)
- My Money Blog: Spreadsheet #4 (excel)
- Pear Budget: Original Spreadsheet (excel)
- Budgets Are Sexy: Early Retirement Spreadsheet (excel)
Aggregate Template Sites:
And if you STILL can’t find anything good…or you’re just addicted:
- Google Docs: Handful of Budget Templates
- Microsoft Online: Top 25 rated templates! (excel – out of 100+)
Best Online Budgeting Sites:
And now, we’ve got the places online where you can budget & track all your financials instead of manually doing them yourselves. Well, you’ll still have to manually keep up with this stuff online, but most of these places make it super easy for you – my favorites being Mint & Personal Capital (although I personally still use spreadsheets). The best online budgeting sites around:
- Mint.com (free) – An EASY and super friendly online site that pulls in all your numbers from around your institutions, and plops them right there in a great interface for you to keep track of. They’re constantly adding new upgrades and options all the time, and it takes 15 secs to sign up.
- Personal Capital (free) – This one concentrates more on investments and net worth, and not so much budgeting per se, but it’s a GREAT tool to try out and people rave about them. I recently signed up myself and it’s awesome seeing everything in one spot – similar to mint.com or even my “financial snapshot” spreadsheet above, only it’s automated ;) Here’s a review we did on the blog about it too from a millionaire friend of mine who’s addicted: Why I Use Personal Capital Almost Every Single Day
- YNAB (You Need A Budget) (free for 34 days, and then $5.00/mo or $50/year) This is the darling of the bunch, and almost every blogger I know is a fan of theirs – I have yet to hear a complaint. And although I don’t use them personally, I’m friends with the founder (Jesse Mecham) and I can vouch for how much care and attention he and his team put into it. Highly recommend if you haven’t found a system that works for you yet.
- USAA Money Manager – (free) This one’s a bit different than the rest since you actually have to have a USAA bank account to use it, but if you’re looking for an excuse to sign up this is it. It’s perfect for the “average” budgeter, and will hopefully get even more tweaked for those of us who like to get into more complicated stuff. (You can see my mini-review and snapshot of one of my accounts w/ USAA here :))
- Pear Budget (online version: free for 30 days, then $4.95/mo.) Haven’t used this one either, but from what I remember they have a pretty good rep around town. They’re a husband and wife team who’s sole goal is to make budgeting as simple as can be. Gotta admire that!
- PocketSmith (free, w/ options to upgrade (not free)). This big pull with these guys is the unique way they set everything up – all via a calendar!
- Go Daddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright.com, $9.99/mo) – If you’re looking for a Mint-like service, but for *business* accounting, this one is the one you want. They may work well for personal finances too (just not sure since I only use them for biz), but I can’t tell you how much time and stress I’ve saved with them. Really simple recording of all income and expenses to keep you on track – I’m a huge fan!
GOOD LUCK everyone!! And if all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with taking out a pen and paper and budgeting that money old school ;) Whatever gets the job done!
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|