Use this free budgeting worksheet sample to get you started on saving money and your own financial freedom
Budgeting sucks! There I said it. We were all thinking it anyway.
Everyone knows they need a budget but few actually take the time to put together a real budget and see where their money is going. For those that do, it can be a real eye-opener.
My own first money blunder was a budgeting mistake and one of our first PeerStories on the blog was how a friend turned her budget around to pay off more than $20,000 in debt within a year.
One of the most difficult parts of budgeting is remembering all your bills. It can be so discouraging to see your budget fall apart because you forgot to add something that a lot of people drop the whole plan. So I’ve put together a free budgeting worksheet below as a part of my financial freedom project.
Beat your Budget with this Free Budgeting Worksheet
The free budget worksheet includes 49 different expense items, everything from normal living expenses to infrequent expenses like car maintenance and taxes. I list out eight different income sources but you can always expand or delete items from the list.
The budgeting worksheet is automated so all you do is list how much you make and how much you pay for each expense. Besides adding up all your income and expenses, the worksheet also tells you what percentage of your budget is going to each item. This can really come in handy when you see you’re spending 20% of your budget on frivolous stuff that can easily be cut.
Finally, the free budget worksheet also includes 14 article references for different items in the budget. Spending too much on groceries or electricity but don’t know what to do? There’s an article for that!
Click here to download your free budgeting worksheet sample in Microsoft Excel
The link is completely safe and will download your free budgeting worksheet in an Excel spreadsheet. For those of you that don’t like to download things off the internet, I’ve included a list of the expense items below but you won’t get the cool features like article ideas and percentage you’re spending on each.
Use this budget worksheet to track your monthly income and expenses. You won't have all the income or expense items listed but I wanted to be as thorough as possible. Just delete the lines you do not need.
For expenses that do not occur monthly, try estimating the year and then dividing by twelve. It's important to budget for these infrequent expenses every month so you aren't caught paying for them all in one month.
Using the free budgeting worksheet to reach your financial goals
In our article about budgeting and setting financial goals, we talked about focusing on the big four of budgeting: buying a house, saving for retirement, education and a financial safety cushion. Make sure you build each of these into your budget. Until you’ve got a clear path to each of these, the rest of your goals should take a back seat.
One budget mistake that most people make is working through their budget with expenses first. When they finally get to savings and investing for retirement, there’s nothing left. They break-even on their budget but never get around to saving any extra money. On the free budget worksheet above, try budgeting for a minimum amount of savings and investment first. After you’ve taken out money to secure your financial future, then work through your monthly expenses.
Understand that there will be setbacks to your budget plan and that it doesn’t mean you need to start over from scratch. The free budget worksheet can be changed as many times as you need according to the changes in your financial life. Create a new budget worksheet each month, copying it over to a new spreadsheet, and compare your monthly budgets every few months. In less than a year, you’ll have saved money and developed some great spending habits.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.