There are lots of ways to budget, but if you pick a spreadsheet, where do you even start? Staring at a blank budget spreadsheet can be daunting.
You don’t have to go it alone though. A spreadsheet template can help you get started by laying out an easy road map to follow. Someone else has done the tricky work of setting up the spreadsheet. You just have to put in your numbers .
Budget spreadsheets can keep your banking and spending information offline if you want, offer more customization than apps, and there’s a free budgeting template for most methods.
Whether you use Microsoft Office Excel, Google Sheets or Apple Numbers, there’s a free spreadsheet for you. These budgeting templates will give you a head start from simple monthly and yearly budgets to 50/30/20 and zero-based budgets.
4 Steps to Preparing Any Budget
How you prefer to budget will affect what you want in a spreadsheet template. Figure out how you walk through these basic budgeting steps to know what you want from one.
1. Identify Your Goals
Is your primary goal to pay off debt? Then you might like a zero-based budget. Do you have a stable income and are just trying to organize your finances? You might like the 50/30/20 method. Or maybe you’d like to be able to see your entire year in one sheet.
2. Calculate Your Monthly Income
How much money do you have coming in each month or week? You can make a more strict budget if you have a stable salary and a clearer view of your total income.
Alternatively, if your take-home pay fluctuates or you get paid in tips, you’ll need a budget worksheet that’s more adaptable. Don’t forget supplemental sources of income like child support or alimony.
3. List All Your Expenses
The easiest way to do this is to go through your credit card and bank statements for the last few months and list all your transactions — both fixed costs and variable expenses — on a monthly basis. From there, you’ll need to decide if you want your…