The 3 Best Budget Worksheets
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No matter how careful you are about spending money, it can be hard to keep yourself on track if you’re not using a budget worksheet to track your expenses. Sure, you know what your total income is (and hopefully you also have a good have a sense of your monthly income, your income taxes and your take-home pay) — but do you have a plan in place to translate that info into a monthly budget?
There are tons of sneaky ways we spend more than we mean to, so if you’re looking to grow your savings for long-term care, you need to start budgeting each month so you make some financial progress. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to start behaving like a real adult and take control over your personal finances.
While you’re not necessarily in total control of your salary or whether you’re getting paid fairly, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding what to spend on — and when. So whether you just got a raise and want to make sure you’re using the extra income wisely or you’re overdue for a raise and you have to pay extra close attention to your money situation, there’s no time like the present to begin being more responsible about your finances.
Of course, some expenses are 100% essential and certain items will drain your cash flow and monthly income; even so, you’re still largely able to dictate your overall spending patterns and habits.
If you’re new to personal budgeting, the thought of a monthly budget plan may make you nauseous, but once you get started and have a clear outline of your spending and savings goals, it’s really not so bad — especially if you’re using a budgeting worksheet to guide you.
Maybe you’ve already tried yourself by creating a template in Excel for your monthly expenses — but it can be hard to design your own plan. That’s why we’re hooking you up with a list of what we think are the best monthly budget worksheets to help you get started:
1. Kiplinger’s household budget worksheet: This worksheet allows you to choose your budget period (anywhere from one to 12 months) and insert your take-home income. If you have multiple sources of income (or if you live with a partner whose income also affects your budget), you can add those numbers as well.
This worksheet provides suggested categories of expenses that you likely have, whether you are single or trying to set a monthly familiy budget — such as mortgage/rent, credit card, car loan, and student loan — and also allows you to input additional rows with your own categories. There are sections prompting you to enter what you pay for your utilities and insurance premiums, as well as sections for your savings and investments (as well as miscellaneous expenses).
The sheet tracks your cash inflow, total income, total expenses, and income minus expenses so you can keep track of how much money you have to spend and can create a budget within any period you chose.
2. Budgetworksheets.org also provides a useful budget worksheet that can help you manage your spending habits. First, there’s a suggested “deductions” section (although you can rename any text as you wish) where you can track expenses like savings and child support by entering an amount for your budget and the actual spend amount (the worksheet will calculate the difference).
This resource categorizes expenses by housing (which includes mortgage/rent, utilities, home insurance and taxes, and home repairs (to set aside); debt payments (which includes student loan payments, credit card payments, etc); food (which is broken up into groceries, eating out, etc.); transportation (which accounts for car payment, car insurance and maintenance, gas, public transportation, parking, tolls, etc.); personal & health (which includes clothing, gym memberships, doctor and dentist visits, etc.); education (which includes tuition, books, etc.); entertainment (which is where you would track tickets for shows, DVDs, books and magazine subscriptions, etc.) and miscellaneous (which includes anything that doesn’t fit into your chosen categories — such as charity, pet supplies, etc.)
Again, the above categories are helpful suggestions to guide what you’re tracking, but you’re able to edit the wording to create your own sections and items you’d like to monitor.
3. Consumer.gov also offers a budget worksheet that will allow you to see how much money you spend each month and then use that information to plan your budget for subsequent months.
Like the other worksheets, this breaks up your expenses into sections so that you can easily keep an eye on your spending habits in various aspects of your life. This plan advises you to track expenses in the following categories: housing, food, transportation, health, personal and family, finance, and other.
Once you’ve filled out the fields, you can then print the form so you have a printable budget that’s easy to refer to if you tack it up by your computer or above your desk.
We’re now halfway through the year, and if you’re like any other normal person, you probably made some New Year’s resolutions that you didn’t quite stick to. Whether not your 2017 goals involved budgeting, if you’re reading this, that means it’s wise to start paying better attention to how much money you have at your disposal and how much you hope to save — as well as how your spending habits are in line with that (or whether they need to be adjusted).
With a budget worksheet to inform your planning, you don't have to start from scratch with your own spreadsheet of income and expenses. With one of these budget worksheet templates, you’ll be a personal finance pro by the end of the year!
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