Budget spreadsheets are the tool of the future to get your money managed! We like doing our own with paper and pen, but not everyone is about the old school way of doing things.
We can’t all be great at math or keep great paper records, so the easy-to-use online spreadsheets can make a big difference for those who struggle to stay organized with time and money.
Budgets get a bit of a bad rep for sometimes being time-intensive, but we think that it’s essential when it comes to building wealth.
We tend to give it a bad rep generally because we hear people turn down things like fun nights out because they’re “on a budget” – which means that we equate budgets with not being able to do fun things.
However, here at The Savvy Couple, we think of things a bit differently. We actually think that if you want to do fun things, you need to budget.
If your goal is to obtain a bright financial future, you need a budget to get started and keep you on track.
How to Budget with a Spreadsheet
A budget spreadsheet is what you want if you’re looking for something quick and responsive and can do all of the math and number crunching for you.
Many spreadsheets come with help options or you can check the manufacturers’ website for instructions- but my favorite is watching a YouTube video so I can get a play-by-play of the action and repeat it myself.
There are lots of different ways that you can set up a budget using a spreadsheet – it’s all about what works best for you.
Many come with budget templates to use, where you can just plug-and-chug your own information easy-peasy.
7 Free Budget Spreadsheets to Make Life Easier
1. Microsoft Office – Excel
Microsoft Office has been well-known for years and its programs can make your lives easier! So many people have access to Excel through work or school, so why not give it a shot?
Plus you may have used Excel for spreadsheets in high school or college, so it’s something you’re already familiar with- if not, we have a guide to making a budget with Excel!
The great thing about using Microsoft Excel is that you start from scratch, meaning you can customize it to look how you’d like and include all the relevant details you need
If you don’t know where to start, there are Excel budgeting templates you can search through to find a simple budget.
If you have been thinking about getting a monthly budget planner to track your monthly income and expenses, we highly recommend it.
2. Google Drive – Google Sheets
If you don’t have access to Microsoft, Google Sheets can be a better option for you – and it’s free to use.
Google Sheets works in a very similar way to Excel, but be wary if you move a spreadsheet because the formulas don’t always match up when transferring data.
You don’t have to be a spreadsheet whizz to set up something simple, such as entering your daily spending or monthly expenses for a basic budget.
Another great feature on Google Sheets is that they have a template gallery where you can find or monthly or yearly budget templates to make starting easy.
They have helpful tools for your budget, such as a spending analysis, bill pay reminders, and credit monitoring.
You can link all of your accounts within Mint, from credit cards to loans, which gives you a good overall look at your personal finances.
It’s also great there’s credit report monitoring quarterly to see if there have been any changes to your credit score.
If you’re worried about the security side of things with linking all of your accounts, know that they have multi-factor authentication and fingerprint log-in.
If you’re looking for free budgeting tools, Vertex42 is a fantastic place to find budgeting spreadsheets.
There are a few systems that they are compatible with, such as Excel, Google Sheets, LibreOffice, and more.
There are a bunch of different spreadsheets that you can use based on what kind of thing you want to use them for.
For example, there is a college budget sheet, monthly household budget sheet, personal monthly budget sheet, and more.
Something that we think is really cool, is that they have provided videos on most of the sheets so that you can see how to use them, which is perfect for beginners.
NerdWallet is one of our favorite money sites, and we love that they are offering a budgeting spreadsheet for free.
NerdWallet recommends using the 50/30/20 budget method on their worksheet, where you split up your expenses into 3 categories: 50% towards your needs, 30% towards your wants, and 20% towards savings and/or debt.
On their site, they have a budget template worksheet where you can check how your expenses compare to the budgeting method.
You can download the Excel spreadsheet for free or sign up for NerdWallet to start your budget.
6. It’s Your Money
Over on It’s Your Money, you can find a bunch of different spreadsheets to choose from depending on what kind of thing you are after.
There are both free and paid spreadsheets, and these are separated on the page so you can head straight to the free ones if that’s what you want.
Some of the available spreadsheets include ones like a cash-flow budget spreadsheet, a spending plan spreadsheet, a spending plan spreadsheet, and more.
You can connect your bank account to the app and launch the Foundation Template as a base for your budget categories as well as loads your transactions.
It’s a Google Sheet that you put in your information, like income, bills, or debt payments, but it has more features than your typical Google setup.
Budgeting Apps vs. Printable Spreadsheets
So when you want to create a budget, you have the option to do it by hand or electronically, it’s all about your preference.
If you’re new to budgets and aren’t quite sure how to put budget spreadsheets together, then you may want to start with a template spreadsheet.
We’ve checked out some budget templates to take the guesswork out of getting started on your budget.
If you’re tech-savvy, then an electronic budget spreadsheet could be the best option for you. Some of the options below have apps to download so you can update on the go.
Avoiding the Challenges
There are some challenges you may face with your budget, but mostly because we have avoided delving into our finances in the first place!
The main challenge that comes with budgeting is staying consistent and on track with your budget spreadsheet.
When you first start budgeting, you will need to track your daily spending, which can feel like a bit of a chore.
There is a method to the madness, however!
The key thing to do to get around any lack of consistency is to make it part of your daily routine- schedule a time to fill out your budget, even set alarms and reminders, and soon it will become a good habit!
You need to keep your finances a priority in your life, so track well to get realistic numbers and analyze your spending. Once you know where you’re at, you can start obtaining your financial goals.
Other Budgeting & Money Saving Ideas
When it comes to saving money, there are so many ideas that you can try out.
Budget By Hand
Something that you may want to try out is budgeting by hand to track your spending.
Try printable templates with fill-in categories.
Many people like doing this because it feels like the numbers really sink in psychologically and take more thought to work on your savings.
Budgeting is personal and is a necessity if you want to save money for the future while still living the good life.
Like it or not, budgeting should be part of your lifestyle from now on. You work hard to earn your income, so it’s time to make sure that it’s going towards the things that you actually want.
A budgeting spreadsheet can make budgeting easier for you by automatically formatting everything for you, rather than using a printable monthly budget template by hand.