In honor of the upcoming America Saves Week, I want to talk about budgeting today. For the most part, there are 3 options you have when it comes to budgeting.
- You can use a pen and paper and manually create and use a budget.
- You can create an excel budget template to use a budget.
- You can buy a budgeting program that helps you use a budget.
All of these have their advantages and disadvantages. I’ve found my favorite option, and many others favorite option, is to use excel spreadsheet templates. The reason for this is simple.
Using a pen and paper is too cumbersome, and you can’t see your budget at a glance by using charts or create detailed reports.
At the other end of the spectrum are budgeting programs. These are nice because they save you some time by automating portions of your budget but they don’t offer any freedom or flexibility. In other words, what you see is what you get.
My favorites in this area are Goodbudget and Personal Capital. With Goodbudget, you can use the free version or the paid version. The paid version automates things and gets you more bells and whistles.
Personal Capital is 100% free and offers a wealth of features in addition to a budget. It’s completely automated so there is little work for you to do. If you go the program route, I highly recommend you look at Personal Capital.
For those not on either end of the spectrum, these people decide to create their own excel budget template. But this also leads to a potential problem, creating one from scratch. Because of the time involved, some people will decide against excel budget spreadsheets and just buy a program.
If this sounds like you, you are in luck. To save you time, I compiled this list of over 10 excel budget templates that are completely free to use. OK, some of the excel spreadsheet templates I list aren’t free, but the majority of them are.
All that is left for you to do is pick the one that fits your needs best and start budgeting. In the summary below, I’ll let you know which is the best budget spreadsheet and which ones are free excel budget templates.
10 Great Excel Spreadsheet Templates
Money Smart Guides Excel Spreadsheet Template 1.0
OK, this is a shameless plug here. This is the first budget template I used, so I thought it would make sense to offer it up to my readers. It is pretty straight forward and great for someone just starting out looking for a free budget template. You just plug in your budget categories and the amount you plan to spend in each.
Then you enter in the amount you actually spent and viola!, you see where you need to cut back on spending. Below is a screenshot of the budget and you can access it here.
Money Smart Guides Excel Spreadsheet Template 2.0
I’m all about the shameless promotion today! Here is the second budget I ever used. It’s a modified version of the one above.
I created this one because it has a much cleaner look to it and I even added a graph. No one can resist graphs! The screenshot is below and you can access this personal budget template (again, 100% free), here.
Budgets Are Sexy Budget Template
J$ over at Budgets Are Sexy has a great free excel spreadsheet budget for you to use as well. This one is cool because it works as a home budget spreadsheet. So if you have multiple sources of income, you can earmark one to pay the mortgage and other bills and the other paycheck can be used for savings.
It is set up in a similar fashion to my first free budget template I mentioned. Here is a screenshot of his budget.
Budget Planner Excel Spreadsheet Template
Of all of the budget templates I am suggesting, this is one that costs money. The one time purchase price is $15.95 which might sound crazy for an excel spreadsheet template, but this one is really cool.
First, you have a daily spending tab that allows you to insert your spending by category every day. This information is then linked to the rest of the budget to auto-fill (though you don’t have to use this feature, it makes sense to).
From there, there is a comparison tab that looks at your budget versus how you are spending up to this point in the month. This lets you see a “real-time” snapshot of where you might be getting into trouble. You also have a tab that looks at your budget on a monthly basis so you can see the year in total.
Lastly, the budget allows you to specify the frequency of the budget categories. So, if you pay your car insurance semi-annually, you can set this category up for semi-annual and the spreadsheet does the rest.
I wouldn’t normally suggest paying for a personal budget template, but this one is worth consideration. Here is a screenshot of the budget.
Mixing Maroons Budget Template
Mrs. Maroon recently posted how much she is an Excel geek, and I loved reading every last word. She created this in-depth excel household budget template from scratch and being a fellow Excel nerd, had to check it out. It is definitely amazing.
For some it might be overkill, but I still recommend it as you can just use the parts that make sense now. In time, when you want to track more things, you can keep using the same template, since it has the added features.
So why is this budget great? It is broken down monthly and has a summary page to see everything in one snapshot. From there, you can track your income, net worth, and even review your spending in detail.
For example, how much did you spend on fruit at the grocery store last month? That is how detailed you can get. It even has a mortgage amortization sheet too! Here is a screenshot of the summary page.
Vertex 42 Excel Spreadsheet Template
Vertex42 has a ton of excel spreadsheet templates. Too many to list here in fact. I’m certain that have one to fit your needs. Their excel spreadsheet templates are free as well. They look great and are super easy to use. Here is a screen-shot of the budget.
4 Step Budget Template
This excel spreadsheet template can be found on Life After College. What’s nice about this template is that after you fill in your income, and important expenses, it gives you your allowance to spend on discretionary items.
In other words, you make sure you are covering all of your necessary expenses before you can spend money on your non-essentials, making it a great household budget template. Here is a screen-shot of the budget.
Before I was using my current budget, the free budget template I used was Pear Budget. All of the instructions to use it are listed on the first tab of this template. You really need to read through it first before using it to get the whole picture of how it works. This isn’t to say that it is difficult to use, you just have to understand it in order to get maximum benefit from it.
Make sure you use my link here to access the budget. If you go to the Pear Budget website, they offer it free for 30 days and then charge you a monthly fee. I’m not a fan of that at all! Here is a screen-shot of the budget.
Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Templates
If none of the above free excel monthly budget templates tickle your fancy, there is Microsoft itself. They have over 100 free excel templates to choose from. If you can’t find one there, then I don’t know what to tell you!
I guess you could always spend the time to manually create one yourself. Here is a screen-shot of one of the free excel templates they offer that I like.
Tiller Spreadsheet: The Best Budget Spreadsheet
My biggest gripe with budgeting had been finding one that did what I wanted. I tried automated services, but they never met my needs 100% of the time. They were set up to use the way the developer wanted, not how I wanted. So I switched over to excel budget templates and created my own custom budget.
This worked great. But there was one downside: time. It wasn’t an issue before, but once I got married and had a kid, manually entering everything into an excel spreadsheet template took a lot of time. But, it was the best option I had.
That was until I stumbled upon something else over the summer. It is called Tiller. It is a hybrid spreadsheet budget and in my eyes, is far and away the best budget spreadsheet out there.
When you sign up, Tiller creates a secure personal budget template for you and automatically updates your transactions.
You have 100% control over the look and feel of the budget and the categories you want to track. You can add graphs, create pivot tables and more. They simply pull the data for you to save you time. All you do is verify everything is correct.
I have to note that Tiller works off of Google Spreadsheets and not excel. At first I was nervous but I’ve found Google Sheets to be a breeze to use. And, I love how easily I can share the spreadsheet with my wife.
No more updating the excel spreadsheet budget, saving it to Dropbox, and having my wife go there to look at it. With Tiller, my wife can easily access the budget anywhere she has an internet connection.
You can try Tiller is free for 30 days. I highly recommend you try it out. Coming from an excel geek, I’ve found it amazingly useful and easy to use. It saves me so much time. Below is a screenshot of the budget. You can also read my full review of Tiller.
XL Your Finances
Let’s say you like the idea of the Tiller spreadsheet above but you would rather it be in Excel. Or maybe, you like some automation, but don’t want to give your banking and credit card passwords out. Do you have any other options? You do!
It’s an excel spreadsheet template budget from XL Your Finances. It is all set up for you, all you have to do is enter your transactions from your bank and credit cards. It’s super easy to do this too.
Just download your statement in a .csv file and import it. Then with a little clean up, you have your budget. It helps you with auto-labeling transactions, removing duplicate transactions, and offers a couple of reports.
By using this spreadsheet, you will save yourself a ton of time and many headaches. You can see this spreadsheet in action by watching this video.
How much does it cost? That depends. There is a free version that you can easily download and start using, but it requires a good amount of manual work. If you opt for the paid version, it is only $19.99.
It’s a one-time charge and you get free upgrades for life. You can access the paid version here.
A budget is a key tool in making certain that you are living within your means. As a result, you need to find one that you will enjoy using and that you understand. Since everyone is different, there are lots of free excel spreadsheet templates to choose from as well as more automated options as well.
As I mentioned in the post, I feel that Tiller is the absolute best budget spreadsheet out there. The others listed are good as well, but Tiller does so much for you, saving you time, while still allowing you to completely customize your budget.
I hope you found this round up of excel budget templates useful and found one that you can start using to budget your money.
Be sure to check back often as I am always updating this post with new free excel templates that I feel are worthy to be included.
[Photo Credit: photosteve101]