Without a set budget your finances aren’t tracked properly and most of your spending goes unnoticed. This can lead to overspending and the constant “wow… where did all my money go.” Following budget templates will allow you to track how much you’re earning, saving, investing, and spending on certain things each month.
Don’t think you’re alone when it comes to creating a budget. There are many.. many helpful budget templates out there that can fit just about anyone’s unique lifestyle. If you decide to not use a template you might find yourself missing information or not tracking something important.
In this article we’ll discuss the importance of creating a budget as well as the best budget templates and tools to get you there.
What are budget templates?
A budget template will help you manage your budget by tracking any and all expenses. Most are fully customizable so you can make the budget specifications fit your lifestyle.
On a weekly or monthly basis you’ll know just how much money you have left to spend with a detailed view on what you’ve already spent money on. This removes the hassle of having to run through your checking account transactions one by one.
After sticking to a budget for a few months you might notice months that are more expensive than others. Or discover a larger charge that only comes around once in awhile that you should be saving for each month.
The longer you use a budget template the more accurate the budget will get and the better you’ll be at avoiding overspending and without a doubt will be saving tons of money.
Best budget templates and apps
There’s many different ways to structure and style an expense tracker, so below we’ve listed some of the best budget templates we could find.
Google Sheets Budgeting Templates
Believe it or not Google Sheets has a free budget template.
If you’re very data oriented and enjoy sheets this might by a good template for you. Unfortunately, you will have to enter all your spending manually. This involves saving receipts for cash purchases and looking through bank statements for card purchases.
Overall, the Google Sheet budget template lacks spending visualization in comparison to other alternatives. Regardless, the numbers don’t lie. You will just as easily be able to see what it is your spending your money on. The data-entry can seem a bit time consuming but if it means better understanding your spending patterns it is well worth it.
Here is the link to the Google Sheets template. It’s basic and very easy to understand and fill out. Every column and aspect is completely customizable to fit your needs. Simply click the link, select “use template” in the upper corner and start tracking.
Microsoft Excel Budgeting Templates
If you’re well versed in Excel you might love their budget template. It’s similar to Google Sheets, however you’ll have to pay to use Excel’s version if you don’t already have Microsoft 365.
Similar to Google Sheets, all data must be entered by hand and it may take some time to get used to the format. Depending on your personal expertise with Excel you might find it easier and more beneficial to create your own budget template within the tool.
Clever Girl Finance
Clever Girl Finance offers a wide variety of free budget templates in both printable and spreadsheet formats. The templates are very beginner friendly and help you walk through all the important aspects of a budget.
This includes things like spending goals per category, your debt levels, all sources of income, and much more.
There’s room to take notes about your spending habits and it’s very easy to make changes to your budget. One of my favorite parts about their templates are the questions you’ll have to answer that force you to think about ways to cut back on your expenses or increase your post-tax income.
This budget template lacks automation but makes up for in ease of use and it’s engaging design.
Mint is an AMAZING free tool to automatically track your budget on the go.
Making your budget with their tool is as easy as 1,2,3. Since your Mint account will be linked to your bank account all the spending gets entered into Mint automatically to save you loads of time. This inherently makes the expense tracking more accurate as well.
The data visualization is great and their software provides info on both your long-term and short term spending. It is impossible to know more about what you do with your money if you’re using Mint.
Download it and try it out for yourself.
Do I need to use budget templates?
Without a doubt, yes! Everyone should be using a budget template or app to manage their money. They are almost always free and will allow you to keep your budget under control and help you become aware of your spending habits.
You will be able to visualize where every dollar you own goes from the day you’re paid to what you spent it on.
And don’t think that just because you make a lot of money you don’t need a budget. Even those with six figure salaries need to budget carefully as it’s common to increase our expenses to match our increased income.