Budgeting Financial Planning Financial Software The Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Spreadsheets By Shelley Elmblad Shelley Elmblad Shelley Elmblad is an expert in financial planning, personal finance software, and taxes, with experience researching and teaching savings strategies for over 20 years. She earned her bachelor's in business administration from the University of Wisconsin and has successfully completed additional coursework and certificates in public administration, computer networking, small business accounting, and small business management. learn about our editorial policies Updated on January 30, 2022 Reviewed by Margaret James Reviewed by Margaret James Twitter Peggy James is an expert in accounting, corporate finance, and personal finance. She is a certified public accountant who owns her own accounting firm, where she serves small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals. learn about our financial review board Share Tweet Pin Email Is your cable bill out of control? Lower your cable bill and cut those unnecessary costs. Photo: JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images Money, without a doubt, is necessary. Basic living expenses need to be maintained for a reasonable quality of life, which can be attained by most people if they manage their finances correctly. One of the best methods for managing personal finances is to create a budget. Creating a budget can help you keep your finances organized and also control the amount of debt you might require to live the way you want. Budgets help you plan for your monthly expenses, activities, needs, and even your financial future. Managing your personal finances can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be: There are many budgeting and personal finance spreadsheets readily available online. Learn about all of your options, here. Personal Finance and Spreadsheets Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston created the first financial spreadsheet program in 1979. Since then, the technology has been adopted by businesses, banks, and governments. All of these entities use spreadsheets for creating budgets, tracking spending, and creating reports for their financial matters. Much like a business, a person benefits from using a spreadsheet for their finances because it places all the information they need in one easy-to-read place. Spreadsheets help you to see how much income you have, as well as how your money is spent. That way, you can budget your money appropriately for your needs. If you're trying to maintain a realistic budget, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends creating a budget spreadsheet or worksheet to track your income and expenses. Note While not a spreadsheet, the CFPB offers a budgeting worksheet to help you plan for your financial needs. The simplicity and number of available, premade spreadsheets make them easy to use. Many of the financial applications offered currently transfer financial data into spreadsheets for use also. While it is possible to create a spreadsheet yourself to help you with your financial planning, it is not necessary. Many sources are available for you to use, and they have already done most of the work for you. Note It might be easier for you to start with a pre-made financial spreadsheet and then expand it when you need to. Vertex42 Spreadsheets Vertex42 lists over a dozen free budget and personal finance spreadsheets that work with Microsoft Excel, as well as some that are compatible with LibreOffice Calc, Apache OpenOffice Calc, and Google Sheets. You'll find spreadsheets for monthly and yearly household and personal budgets, Christmas gift budgets, business budgets, wedding budgets, and the Money Management Spreadsheet for Kids. For those who want to track expenses against a budget, the Money Management Template is an excellent Excel or Calc spreadsheet that does not require the use of macros. Many of these spreadsheets include a demo video or tutorial, making the option more attractive for those not familiar with spreadsheets. It's Your Money Budget Spreadsheets Financial blog It's Your Money lists seven free budgeting spreadsheets, including a Cash Flow Budget Spreadsheet inspired by Dave Ramsey's budgeting methods. The Box Budget Spreadsheet breaks down each month into four weeks, giving you an easy visual of your expenses, savings, and income. These spreadsheets work with Microsoft Excel with macros enabled, and some work with OpenOffice Calc (free). It's Your Money offers an assortment of free or low-cost personal money management spreadsheets. PearBudget Free Budget Spreadsheet PearBudget is a free, comprehensive household monthly finance spreadsheet that can be downloaded and used with Microsoft Excel or any other spreadsheet software that supports Excel files. An analysis tab analyzes expenses by different categories and shows the difference between actual and budgeted spending. PearBudget also offers an updated online version of the budget spreadsheet that does not require a download and is available for a free 30-day trial. Google Sheets Use the Google docs template gallery for Google Sheets to find some great options for budgets. Monthly budget: A very simple budget spreadsheet using a percentage of income for budgeting, designed for those with non-complicated scenarios. Yearly budget template: A detailed yearly and monthly budget tracking spreadsheet. This budget spreadsheet lets you project income and savings as well as keep a record of actual income and savings. If you prefer using Google Drive spreadsheets, you can also find some of the Vertex42 budget spreadsheets in the Google Drive templates. Tiller Money Tiller is a company that offers spreadsheet integration with your bank account, providing options to create reports from the sheets that are created. You can also customize everything so that you can view what is important to you with your money. Microsoft Office Templates Microsoft has a large number of financial templates for use. You can find one for household expenses, holiday shopping, a college budget, and more. Using Budget Spreadsheets With the variety of available online and downloadable budget spreadsheets and templates, it's easy to manage your finances. In addition to budgeting for routine, daily expenses, these tools can help you save for an upcoming family event, a new business, or a college education. As you become more familiar with spreadsheet use, you will be able to generate graphics that can show you your habits for spending, saving, or earning. While offering you control over your finances, spreadsheets make personal finance planning, tracking, and viewing much simpler than it was in the past. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How do I create a budget? To start a budget, the first thing you'll need to do is tally all of your monthly income and expenses. Once you have accounted for everything, you can determine whether you are spending more or less than what you make. Then, you can categorize your expenses and set goals for spending and saving and monitor your progress each month. What should I include in a budget spreadsheet? Your budgeting spreadsheet should include categories for each of your income sources, along with categories for each type of expense you need to track. Use formulas to add up all of your income and expenses separately, and then subtract expenses from income to get the difference. You can also include savings categories that you use to allocate your monthly surplus. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources 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. Harvard Business School, Alumni, Stories. "Lessons From the Rise and Fall of VisiCalc." Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "Budgeting: How to Create a Budget and Stick With It." Vertex42. "Free Budget Templates." It's Your Money! "Excel Spreadsheets." Pear Budget. "Is the Old PearBudget Spreadsheet Still Available?" PearBudget. "Plan." Microsoft. "Budgets."