One of the first steps toward getting a handle on personal finances is to develop a budget.
Over the years, I’ve tracked household expenses in everything from simple Excel budget templates that print on one sheet to elaborate income and expense worksheets with many tabs.
One of the best monthly budget templates I’ve ever seen can be downloaded for free from Vertex42.com.
Free Sample Monthly Budget Template
This worksheet can be used with Open Office, Google Docs, or Microsoft Excel versions 2002 (XP) or later. This simple budgeting template is visually appealing and easy to understand, and it lists household income and expenses within logical categories:
Example Income & Expense Worksheet Categories
The person who created this monthly budget template listed more lines under income than many other standard spreadsheets provide; there are lines for wages & tips, interest income, dividends, gifts received, refunds, and transfers from savings. These are very useful line items for the average household.
Monthly household expenses are categorized as follows:
- Charity / Gifts – gifts given, charitable donations, religious donations
- Daily Living – groceries, personal care, clothing, cleaning, education or lessons, dining out, hair cuts, pet food
- Entertainment – movies, music, games, rentals, movie theater, concerts or plays, books, hobbies, photos, sports, outdoor recreation, toys or gadgets, vacation travel
- Health – health insurance, doctor and dentist, medicine, health club dues, life insurance, veterinarian fees
- Home expenses – mortgage or rent, home or rental insurance, electricity, gas or oil, utilities (water, sewer, trash), phone, cable or satellite, internet, furnishings and appliances, lawn and garden, maintenance and supplies, home improvements
- Miscellaneous – bank fees, postage
- Obligations – student loan payments, other loan payments, credit card payments, alimony/child support, federal taxes, state and local taxes
- Savings – emergency fund contributions, transfers to savings, retirement plan contributions, investments, education
- Subscriptions – newspaper, magazines, dues and memberships
- Transportation – vehicle payments, auto insurance, fuel, bus or other fare, repairs, license and registration
Because the template is customizable, this budget spreadsheet is appropriate for either single or married people with or without children.
Household Monthly Budget Worksheet Features
Beside each line item noted above is one column for entering budgeted amounts, a second column for entering actual amounts, and a third column to indicate the difference between the two.
And my favorite feature – any budget deficit will show up in red text. This allows you to quickly identify problems areas within your household’s monthly budget.