Basic Monthly Budget Worksheets Everyone Should Have

Use these worksheets to track spending, saving, and monthly balances

A person plans a budget.

mapodile / Getty Images

Budgets help you plan your monthly spending to achieve your goals, whether those are trying to pay down debt, accumulate cash for a new car, or put away more in your savings account. Without a budget, money may sprint through your account as if it’s a revolving door.

Key Takeaways

  • Budgets can help you track, plan, and watch spending to achieve financial goals.
  • Budget worksheets offer a way to review ingoing and outgoing amounts in black and white.
  • As you work with budget worksheets, you can adjust your budget as you refine your numbers.

Budgeting has also become increasingly popular in recent years; in 2022, 86% of respondents to a survey said they tracked income and expenses. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of respondents did so. Almost one-third of respondents indicated they maintained a budget with spreadsheets.

Find out more about how to set up and fill in a budget worksheet template. Use it for a month or so to see how it works for you.

How To Use Monthly Budget Worksheets

Budgets can help you manage your finances daily, monthly, and over the long term. You’ll gain insights into how you’re spending and saving money. Budgeting worksheets can help reconcile how much you planned to spend with how much you actually spent. There may be surprising expenses you frequently forget about or that add up fast despite being smaller amounts.

A budget could reveal areas of impulse buying, lack of savings, unused subscriptions, or other financial mismanagement signs, such as repeated late-bill fees. A budget worksheet can help you decide your priorities and even change your spending habits over time. If you get into the habit of using a budget worksheet, you may notice that you spend less and save more. You’ll be able to use that extra money to pay off debts, add to your emergency fund, or invest money for retirement.

Various budgeting approaches exist. The 30-day budget is the budgeting worksheet approach we’ll cover here. Reviewing income and expenses a month at a time is a manageable solution for many people.

Other ways to calculate your budget are with apps, pen and paper, or your financial institution’s budgeting tools. However, a simple worksheet doesn’t require bank logins, is accessible from multiple locations, can help perform automatic calculations, and needs just the right amount of maintenance.


A good “rainy day fund” amount is around three to six months’ of living expenses, but any savings is a great start. Keep your emergency savings in a bank account paying higher interest rates.

How To Complete Monthly Budget Worksheets

To complete monthly budget worksheets, gather your income information (from all sources) and your spending habits for the past month or so. Use your bank account statements, credit card statements, and other monthly income and expense records.

You also can use a Spending Tracker Worksheet (see above for the download link) to track your spending over a month. Before you use it, make a copy first:

  1. Click “File”
  2. Click “Make a copy”
  3. When the “Copy document” window pops up, type in a new name for your worksheet, such as “Emma’s Tracker.”
  4. Ensure you’re saving it to a folder you can access, then click the green button that reads “Make a copy.”

A step-by-step guide to making a budget can offer more details, including what to do if you receive variable incomes from gig or freelance work.


Do not enter any numbers into the worksheet cells tinted with pink, blue, or green—those cells contain formulas that shouldn’t be altered.

Monthly Budget Worksheet Templates

First, copy the Monthly Budget Income and Expenses Calculator (see above for the download link) described in “How to Complete Monthly Budget Worksheets,” above. Following these steps gives you a worksheet you can edit. Then work through the tabs in the worksheet linked above.

Monthly Income Calculator

A good first step is to calculate your monthly income. On the first tab of the worksheet, enter the income you expect to receive from all sources in the “Gross Income” category in the “Projected” column. Enter any deductions from your paycheck in the “Taxes Withheld and Payment Deductions” section and the “Projected” column.

You might base this on your previous month’s income—but if you’re expecting to work more or fewer hours this month, the budget worksheet is flexible enough to reflect fluctuations.

In the “Total Take-Home Pay,” you’ll see your projected net income.

Monthly Expenses Calculator

Click on the “Monthly Expenses Calculator” tab. There, enter your budgeted amount for each category in “Projected.” Expenses could be based on past spending habits you gather from account statements or your spending tracker.

Ensure you’re only entering amounts not already deducted from your paycheck. For example, if your health insurance premium is deducted from your paycheck, enter that on the “Monthly Income Calculator” tab, not as a monthly expense.

Feel free to add or delete categories based on your spending priorities and lifestyle. For example, you might not spend money on coffee or alcohol. Or you might pay alimony, but not have a pet to care for.

Monthly Surplus & Shortages Calculator

In the “Surplus & Shortages” tab, you’ll see how much money you project you’ll end up with at the end of the month. If you find your expenses are more than your income, look for ways to cut back, or earn more money before you find yourself in serious debt. If your income is more than your expenses, congratulations—you have money to stash in your savings.

At month’s end, review the amounts you entered for each tab and enter what you actually spent. Did you vastly overestimate some categories and underestimate others?

Some amounts will mostly stay the same, change slowly over time, or only change once a year. These fixed expenses might include mortgage, rent, health insurance, and car loan payments. Other expenses could fluctuate according to season, usage, or choices; for example, water bills, groceries, or gas. Some are required, while others, like a streaming service, might be optional, discretionary expenses.


You can continue to use the monthly expenses tracker to track spending through the month and keep tabs on big buys or categories you need to add (or delete). Some people find it easier to manage a budget when breaking down spending by week.

What To Do After Making a Budget

Use a budget to help shape your financial goals and vice versa. For example, you may decide you want to use your budget to help you get out of debt, buy a home, or save up for your kids’ future education. If you want to save money for a specific goal, you may need to “pay yourself first” with even $5 or $10 into a savings account to ensure money goes toward your goal every month—even if that means eating out less or spending less on groceries.

Take the opportunity to analyze your spending habits. Perhaps you budgeted only $100 per month for gas. At month’s end, you discover that you spent $150. If you ponder the reason for the difference, you may find it was due to inflation, big trips, or you just underestimated your gas usage. This could help you plan for next month’s gas budget and help answer why you’re chronically short on cash.

Review your budget at the end of each month and adjust for the coming month. Within a few months, you may be spending less and saving more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a balanced budget?

A balanced budget is one where your income and expenses are balanced evenly, without too much or too little left over. One way to implement a balanced budget is with a zero-based budgeting approach, which aims to assign every dollar of your income to an expense, savings, or spending.

How can budgeting impact your overall wealth?

Budgeting can increase your overall wealth through:

  • Creating limits on your spending
  • Offering a savings path toward your financial goals
  • Establishing or accelerating debt repayment
  • Boosting emergency savings
  • Initiating investing or retirement savings

A financial cushion can help prevent debt from building up or unexpected expenses from wiping out your reliable spend-and-save habits. Ideally, budgeting can help build generational wealth.

Was this page helpful?
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. “Americans Are Budgeting More Than Ever.”

  2. University of Utah Cooperative Extension. “Balancing the Budget, Fitting It All In.” Page 3.

  3. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “Budgeting: How To Create a Budget and Stick With It.”

  4. Rutgers University Extension. “The Benefits of Budgeting.”

Related Articles