The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.
 

Best Free Budget Templates & Spreadsheets

by J. Money on Monday, July 6, 2009

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“Financial Snapshot & Budget” @ Budgets Are Sexy
Google Doc | Excel | Example (filled in) | More detailsA 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“4 Step Budget Template” @ Life After College
Google Doc | More detailsMost 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.
Financial Life on One Page“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“Personal Monthly Budget” @ My Money Shrugged
Google Doc | Net Worth Google Doc | More detailsThis 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 Template“2010 Budget Spreadsheet” @ Finance for a Freelance Life Excel | Blog Income | Freelance Income | More detailsThis 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“E.O.D. Deluxe Budget 2.0″ @ Enemy of Debt
Excel | More detailsEOD 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.
Monthly Report Template“Monthly Report Template” @ Fiscal Fizzle
Microsoft Word | More detailsA monthly financial report presented to your family or significant other keeps everyone accountable, aware, focused on goals and progress, and gives you the opportunity to celebrate success. This short but powerful financial template includes areas for monthly cash flow review, net worth tracking, credit score monitoring, goal tracking, and a notes area to explain unusual financial activity for the month or upcoming months. While it’s easy to read and review with everyone out of “the box,” remember to customize this template for your own system!
Free Budget Spreadsheet“Free Budget Spreadsheet” @ Money Under 30
Excel | Really Simple Budget | More detailsUsing 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“How Much Debt Costs You” @ Debt Free Adventure
Google Doc | More detailsComplete 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*

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 ;))

Aggregate Template Sites:

And if you STILL can’t find anything good…or you’re just addicted:

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 :)
  • **NEW** 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 ;)
  • Outright (free) – If you’re looking for a Mint-like service, but for *business* accounting, Outright 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, and they’re free too :) I’m a huge fan!
  • 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!
  • Pear Budget (online version: free for 30 days, then $3/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!
  • You Need A Budget (free for 15 days, and then 1 time cost of $49.95?) This is the darling of the bunch, at least before Mint blew up.  Almost every blogger I know is a fan of theirs and I have yet to hear a complaint.  Although I don’t really stay on top of them much, either.
  • 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 :))

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!

Pimp my stuff:Tweet about this on Twitter79Share on Facebook178Share on Google+7

We recommend:

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Teicia August 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm

You Rock — well Rap — but You Rock doing it. Love your site. I just so happen to need a budget and going to check out your site some more. Yes, Budgets ARE Sexy.

Reply

2 J. Money August 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Haha, why thank you kindly ;) I hope you find a good budget to work from!

Reply

3 Jonha @ Happiness October 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Neat list! Just gotta love it. Sometimes budgeting can be very difficult when you don’t actually keep track of it. Like I have a habit of allocating a budget for this and that but I don’t really try to keep track my expenses, weird huh? So yeah, thanks for these templates

Reply

4 J. Money October 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Hope you find a good one us can use!

Reply

5 Thomas January 4, 2011 at 9:12 am

Here is a very powerful budget software using Microsoft Excel. Check out http://www.excelmybudget.com and let me know what you think!

Reply

6 pinky May 30, 2011 at 1:31 am

thank u for my new budget! I’ll be blogging abt it over at http://pinkdollarsigns.blogspot.com/ feel free to check it out

Reply

7 J. Money June 1, 2011 at 10:13 pm

@Thomas — Cool, I will :) Although it usually takes a LOT for me to change my own cuz I like it so much… maybe I’ll learn something though?

@pinky – Awesome! I’ll click over now and check it out :) Love your blog name btw, that’s great. Haha… sexy even!

Reply

8 Gene July 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I never could find a budget that did everything I needed it to do. So I basically made my own using Excel.

Everything I have in my budget is on one sheet along with frequency and when each bill is due. This sheet calculates some expenses that are shared with my roomate and shows exactly how much out of each paycheck needs to be deposited into my budget account.

The other sheet is a daily balance/expense tracker (one row per day – I’m up to like 1700 rows now). The estimated dates for my expenses and deposits from the budget sheet are automatically filled in. This lets me see what my projected balance will be for any given day. It also shows me what my minimum projected balance will be going far into the future. I just added enough $$ in the begining to give myself a $300 margin.
Now I don’t have to worry about being able to pay any bill that comes in. I know that there will be enough in the account to cover everything in my budget. (even if the mortgage, car insurance, ect. hits on the same day – I know I’m covered)
Since I don’t have to worry about having a bill come out of my account as soon as it is due, I can have them all come out automatically. I think I have a single check I have to send in for term life insurance once a year. Everything else is automatic.

I love my budget, it frees me from worry. Budgets are indeed sexy.

Reply

9 Michael Mahoney April 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

would u share your form? sounds good. mike

Reply

10 J. Money April 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm
11 J. Money July 24, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Yes!! love that you went and created your own – that’s awesome :) I’m sure the others would love to see it if you could put a template online somewhere? maybe through Google Docs? Either way, I’m glad you found something that works for you. And I love the $300 margin too – it def. helps you relax more and know you’re covered in a lot of different scenarios.

Keep rockin’, yo!

Reply

12 Gene July 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I don’t have any problem sharing my budget, but it’s not a good template and I don’t have any illusions that it is user friendly. :) It could give you an idea of what I was doing though.
Here’s a link: https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8ywWgK1Pq-cZTkyY2Q3YjgtZDA4Ni00YzEzLTkwMTUtY2RlYWQ5NzA1MDU2&hl=en_US
I recommend downloading it and viewing it with Excel. The budget sheet is pretty straight forward. The Daily sheet has a different formula in each column to put in each expense and deposit where it is forcast. Purple areas have been copied and had the values pasted in to prevent changes in the budget from affecting the “past”.
I take about 10 min every 2 weeks or so and check it against my account to keep it accurate. Bills are frequently off by a day or two depending on when the bank actually pulls the payment out. I just overwrite it on the Daily sheet when that happens.
This has worked for me for years (as you can see from the past data).

Reply

13 Sarah R. April 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Gene-you are a genius! I’ve never found a template that worked well for me, minus a basic excel spreadsheet. Yours tweaks that and steps it up a notch. Thanks!!

Reply

14 Gene Roberts April 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

I am glad that it was helpful. It’s kept me out of trouble for years.

It really helps to see a projected daily balance into the future and know that you will always have the money to cover any budgeted bill when it is due.

Reply

15 J. Money July 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Awesome, thanks! I’ll be sure to download it and poke around shortly :) Appreciate you sharing it with us all – maybe someone reading will get some good use out of it!

Reply

16 Chris Quinn August 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I use http://www.mint.com – it’s free and way better then typing into these templates. All you do is sync your username and passwords on this site and it automatically tracks everything providing unique views and even makes recommendations for you on how to save money. TRY IT!

Reply

17 J. Money August 18, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Agreed – Mint IS good, as long as it works for you :) I prefer manually doing it myself, but I know lots of people that swear by Mint.

Reply

18 M.A.C. September 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

I love Mint.com, but it sometimes has trouble with logins to the various sites it pulls the info from.. I have begun using adaptu.com. very similar to mint, but but seems more userfriendly. occaisionally, I have to change the name of each transaction category cause it defaults to uncatagorized. I have created my own budget excell spreadsheet which review nearly everyday (that I spend money). itis basedoff my banks listing of my checking account. I only use credit for gas and occaisionaly eating out. thanks for the tips here.

Reply

19 J. Money September 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Yeah, a lot of those programs get wonky every now and then. I’m all about the excel spreadsheets too :)

Reply

20 Catherine Cleland December 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Hey, just stumbled upon this from the Credit Sesame site. Good stuff to share for my real estate clients (and my self!).

Reply

21 J. Money December 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Glad you find it useful! Love your blog name too, btw, clever ;) Maybe one day I’ll run into you here in the DC area?

Reply

22 Lianne December 29, 2011 at 2:36 am

Hi SIr J! Thank you so much for sharing these amazing resources. :) I am grateful because I really want to find a tool which I can customize and use all the time. :)

Reply

23 J. Money December 30, 2011 at 1:21 am

Great! Most of these templates sure are flexible for that too :) I’m constantly tweaking/changing up my own, so hopefully they do the trick for ya! Happy new year!

Reply

24 Tony May 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

The problem with sites like mint is that they can never offer the kind of flexibly a spreadsheet will. Of course, if you really are doing detailed, those sites are better. I vote for the flexible spreadsheets though.

Reply

25 J. Money May 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

True true… I prefer spreadsheets myself, even though it’s more manual, cuz I love having everything MY WAY. And I change my mind all the time so it’s nice to have that flexibility indeed. Great comment.

Reply

26 Tonya June 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I am about to the point of quitting when it comes to budget templates. I have tried about ALL of the online budgeting planners (including YNAB which I paid $60 for) and many of the pre-made templates at MS. The problem is that I need a user friendly weekly budget template. None of the online programs offer this. I have income coming in every week because my husband and I are each paid bi-weekly but on alternating weeks. I have just been using a chart in Word to do my budget because I’m not knowledgeable enough in Excel to make my own spreadsheet. Any suggestions for me would be so helpful.

Thanks

Reply

27 Manda April 11, 2013 at 10:23 am

I use eebacanhelp.com
My husband & I can enter transactions on our phones or the computer (it all connects) and we can set it up weekly which was the biggest plus for us :-)

Reply

28 J. Money April 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

Pretty cool you can do stuff on the phone!

Reply

29 J. Money June 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hmm… that’s a tricky one indeed. I usually tell people to modify any of the spreadsheets above that I have listed for their own personal situation, but if you’re not that familiar with Excel then yeah – it can be tough. I don’t know of any templates specific to your situation, but I’ll keep my eyes open and holler if I come across one :) Maybe in the meantime try downloading a few of the Excel sheets above and give them a shot?

Reply

30 Lukasz January 22, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Hi J. Money,
Thanks for sharing with us this awesome blog and this list of templates. Could you walk us through or point me to an entry where you explain your process how you arrive at your total expenditures by category?

Also, looking at the template you made, is putting money away into savings considered a category?
Why split a month into two paycheck budgets unless one is truly using the cash method?
Is the credit card section of your template only for calculating networth because I would not want to count transactions twice?

Reply

31 J. Money January 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hey Lukasz, glad you like the list here :)

RE: “total expenditures by category” – Do you mean the left columns in the “paycheck” areas? If so, that’s just all the expenses you incur for that period (or that you alott for that period) which your paycheck will be covering. For example if you pay rent and your cell bill with your first paycheck, then you’d list it in that section and budget it with whatever money you have for that period – make sense?

RE: “is putting money away into savings considered a category” – It could be! But it’s whatever you prefer :) I don’t automate any of my savings so I never know what that “expense” would be, so I don’t personally include it myself there. I use the “savings funds” area as side pockets where my money is.. For example, cash I have in my safe for emergencies, money set aside for birthday gifts I’ve gotten, etc. Sometimes I even use that area for the amount of money in my wallet when I run my Net Worth updates so that everything’s accounted for. It’s really there to be used however makes sense to you :)

RE: “Why split a month into two paycheck budgets unless one is truly using the cash method?” – Because for me I really enjoyed budgeting that way. I liked evening my money out throughout the month (ie splitting bills and savings/etc per paycheck) instead of paying large chunks all at once like most budgets incorporate. It just made sense to me and kept me going, so I figured I’d share it with others in case it does the same for them too :) Plus, it’s nice and colorful which I love.

RE: Is the credit card section of your template only for calculating networth because I would not want to count transactions twice?” – Yes, for both net worth tracking, but also so that YOU know how much each card’s balance is so you can track it over time and hopefully watch it go down. But again, anything in this budget can be modified and used however it is that makes sense with your style. You can download the spreadsheet and tweak it to your liking – it’s currently set up for what works for me :)

Hope this helps!

Reply

32 Lukasz January 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Hi J. Money! I really appreciate your personalized response.
RE: “total expenditures by category” Yes, we are talking about the same section. For your readers, that is the section BUDGET: CHECK #1 or #2 where you have “Category #1” through #6. I am on the same page as your response, but I guess I am considering a more cumbersome scenario. Say, I have 11 visits to the grocery store and say during two of those visits I purchase non-grocery items, like a household cleaners. So, I have to split transactions for sure, but what method do you use to sift through and tally up those 11 transactions? After trying various programs throughout the years (i.e. MS Money, Mint.com, spreadsheets), I realize it’s all just a fancy spreadsheet, and I know you use spreadsheets, but still, there has got to be a method to the madness to find the total category sum. What is your method?

I am one of those people who pays down credit card each month. I think of it like cash, except I additionally stick it to The Man by using his money on my time without accruing interest. So, I have no need to watch my c/c draw down. I only care about the transactions. Contrary to your suggestion, I pay as late as possible, but I accept the risks associated with that.

RE: “is putting money away into savings considered a category” According to Rich Dad, we should pay ourselves first, which means to always put away the same savings each month and just deal with expenses with what is left over. If that means paying late fees, so be it to punish oneself; however, I do not go that far and instead actually pull out of savings to pay down c/c every month if need be. However, now that I have a bit more income, I gave myself a rule that whatever financial punishment I incur (i.e. late fee or c/c interest), I donate the same amount to an independent artist of my choice who has PayPal set up to accept donations.

RE: “Why split a month into two paycheck budgets unless one is truly using the cash method?” I’m following you, and I support your perspective. I look at cash flow like a river, and I consider monthly reports to be just snapshots in time, which unfortunately do not easily illustrate the Z axis, time. So, splitting into months is an arbitrary, not to mention an inconsistent, length of time, and therefore so is splitting it down further to 15/16 (sometimes 14) day increments. I’ve consider not dividing down further than a quarter year, but I’m still working on that.

Reply

33 J. Money January 26, 2013 at 8:25 am

Howdy :)

RE: “total expenditures by category” — Personally I put everything on my credit card so I just have one section under “categories” that says “Credit card” which I pay early in the month. I keep it as simple as possible as that’s what helps me stay on track.

However if you’re one to track everything down in super detailed format (ie you want to separate out the 11 trips to the grocery store), then I guess your best bet is to either add in more cells to the spreadsheet so you can track it all, or better yet list them down at the bottom in the area I provided and then total up the numbers and throw it into one single category called “groceries.” Similar to my credit card method, only more separated out specifically for groceries… Just depends on how far you want to take it.

RE: “is putting money away into savings considered a category” — Yeah, I say do whatever works best for you :) Some people prefer to pay themselves first, and others afterwards. There’s no “right” answer really, just the one that works for YOU.

RE: “Why split a month into two paycheck budgets unless one is truly using the cash method?” — Whatever you wish, my friend! I’ve since edited the way I track all my money too since going to self-employment, and now have it all in one main simplified budget. Kinda like a merging of “paycheck #1″ and “paycheck #2″ really. Because now I pay myself once a month.

I think it’s always great to revisit our methods over time, and tweak them as things change in our lives. As long as you’re doing that, you’ll be fine :)

Reply

34 P B February 4, 2013 at 8:47 am

I donot trust websites with my personal account information. But I do like spreadsheets.
Thank you for your postings.

Reply

35 J. Money February 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Well you’ve come to a good place then :) Hopefully you can use one of these guys posted above!

Reply

36 Mohamed May 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Hi J. Money,
I really enjoyed a moment of learning from your ideas. I thank you very much.

Can you get me a template for agricultural related budgets? That is, an estimated cost of production per hectre of land, including labour, inputs, personnel, other costs and sales projections.

Reply

37 J. Money May 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Sorry my man, can’t help you there. You can use any budget template to track it all (you just switch the wording and numbers), but I don’t have the slightest clue on avg costs of agricultural-type stuff. I’d throw it into Google and see what happens :)

Reply

38 Leo Ostapiv September 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Hi,
I have made my own home budget 2103 template in Excel.
It’s free to download from the blog
http://www.homefinances.info/2013/08/free-household-budget-template.html
also I have free net worth template, the link is the same
Please add those to your article, thank you.

Reply

39 J. Money September 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Cool. I’ll leave the link here in the comments in case others want to give it a shot :) Thanks for passing it by.

Reply

40 Megan @ Momma Loves Money October 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Great post, I love the variety. I shared your link in my post at http://www.mommalovesmoney.com/stay-at-home-mom-divorce-coping-financially/

Reply

41 J. Money October 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

Cool, thx! Glad you found all these useful :)

Reply

42 Stephanie Graham February 7, 2014 at 12:04 am

Thanks for posting these!! They are all great! Getting my personal finance is a huge goal for me this year, so I am so happy to have found your blog ! Thanks for sharing your experience. I love my template (my counselor from a Dave Ramsey workshop created it for me) but some of these def give them a run for the money. My issue is actually making all the hard work I put into the budget actually a living document that I refer to on a consistent basis. I want to get into mint.com I am all signed up but I want to lear a good habit system, Im sure I can learn that here on your blog and all the other great resources that you provide.

Thanks for all you do!

Reply

43 J. Money March 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for the kind words! And congrats on having a starting point there – that’s great :) It doesn’t really matter *what* you use to track it all, as long as you DO IT. That’s the hardest part (well, besides not spending all your money on fun stuff, haha…).

Hang in there though – your future self will love you for it!

Reply

44 Mr Ikonz February 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I love these templates!
Even though I’ve been changing my financial habits over the past 14 months, on my way to becoming a millionaire, I’m struggling to develop a budget.

Looks like I’ll be using one of these bad boys!

Thanks for sharing!

Reply

45 J. Money March 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Awesome! Please do. Remember you can tweak any of them too :) I have to do that every now and the myself as life/goals change. The trick is staying on top of it all though!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: