The Basic Monthly Budget Worksheet Everyone Should Have

Use This Budget Worksheet to Get a Handle on Your Finances

Couple budgeting
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A personal or household budget is an itemized list of expected income and expenses that helps you to plan for how your money will be spent or saved as well as track your actual spending habits. Though the word budget has taken on a more negative connotation over the years invoking an image of pinching pennies or limited spending, a budget is really just a tool—and a great tool at that—to gain better and more accurate insight into your spending habits.

By listing all of your sources of income against all of your monthly expenditures (from required expenses like mortgage or rent payments to discretionary spending like eating out or going to the movies), you get a true picture of your personal cash flow, which will allow you to make better and more informed financial decisions. An accurate budget will also help you to answer that ever elusive question, "Can I afford it?"

How to Use Your Monthly Budget Worksheet  

Below is a worksheet that attempts to list possible sources of monthly income as well as expenses. As everyone's financial situation is different, you may find that not every category is applicable to your income or spending. You may even find that some months are different than others, but you should find through going through this exercise you are better prepared for those changes and even accounting for unanticipated expenses.

Though a monthly budget is generally the most reasonable timeframe for which to set up an initial personal or household budget, there are many sources of income and expenses that do not perfectly follow a monthly schedule.

For instance, you may receive a paycheck every week or two weeks, not once a month. In that case, you will want to calculate how that adds up over one month's time and write that in the appropriate row and column. You may also have certain expected or even recurring expenses that occur more or less often than monthly.

To account for those expenses (like car insurance) in your monthly budget, simply calculate the total expense for the calendar year and divide that by 12 in order to find the "monthly" expense. Write that number in the appropriate row and column. 

How to Complete Your Monthly Budget Worksheet

To begin, we suggest gathering all relevant financial statements like your pay stubs, credit card bills, and any other information that will inform the best and most accurate estimate of your expected income and spending.

You will first complete the "Monthy Budget Amount" column to the best of your ability for the next month. Theses should be your best, informed estimates. Should a certain category not apply to you, you can simply leave it blank or enter a zero '0' in the box. Over the course of the month, track your income and spending. At the end of the month, complete the "Monthly Actual Amount" column and compare it to your original estimates. Did you overestimate how much you'd spend on clothing, but underestimate the amount you'd spend eating out? Record the difference. Though you do not need to go through this exercise every month, it is extremely helpful at the start as it helps you to develop the most accurate monthly budget to reference moving forward.

For more help getting started, be sure to check out our How to Make a Budget Guide.

Your Monthly Budget Worksheet

Net Income Worksheet: Gross Income

Category

Monthly Amount

Wages, Salary, Bonuses

 

Interest Income

 

Investment Income

 

Other Income (e.g., child support, alimony)

 

 

Net Income Worksheet: Taxes Withheld and Paycheck Deductions

Category

Monthly Amount

Federal Income Tax

 

State and Local Income Tax

 

Social Security and Medicare Tax

 

Employer Health Insurance Premium

 

Employer Retirement Plan Contribution (e.g., 401k)

 

Other

 

 

Net Income Worksheet: TOTAL

Category

Monthly Amount

(Subtract taxes and deductions from gross income)

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Home

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Mortgage or Rent

 

 

 

HOA Fees

 

 

 

Homeowner’s or Rental Insurance

 

 

 

Property Taxes

 

 

 

Home Repairs/Home Maintenance

 

 

 

Home Improvements

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Utilities

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Electricity

 

 

 

Water/Sewer

 

 

 

Natural Gas or Oil

 

 

 

Telephone/Data Plan

 

 

 

Cable TV/Internet

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Food

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Groceries

 

 

 

Restaurants / Fast Food

 

 

 

Coffee / Alcohol

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Family Obligations

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Child Support

 

 

 

Alimony

 

 

 

Daycare / Babysitting

 

 

 

Activities / Lessons

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Health and Medical

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Health Insurance Premiums (if not deducted from paycheck above)

 

 

 

Vision Insurance Premiums (if not deducted above)

 

 

 

Dental Insurance Premiums (if not deducted above)

 

 

 

Unreimbursed Medical Expenses / Insurance Co-Pays

 

 

 

Prescription and OTC Medications

 

 

 

Fitness (e.g., Personal Trainer, Gym, Yoga)

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Transportation

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Car Loan / Lease Payments

 

 

 

Car Insurance

 

 

 

Gasoline

 

 

 

Car Repairs / Maintenance

 

 

 

Public and Other Transportation (Bus, Subway, Tax, Ride Share)

 

 

 

Other Transportation Expenses (e.g., tolls, parking expenses)

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Debt Payments

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Credit Card Payment

 

 

 

Student Loan Payment

 

 

 

Other Loans

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Other Insurance

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Life Insurance

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Education

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Tuition

 

 

 

Textbooks

 

 

 

School Supplies

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Entertainment / Recreation

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Computer Expenses

 

 

 

Subscriptions and Dues

 

 

 

Hobbies

 

 

 

Vacations / Travel

 

 

 

Other Entertainment

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Pet Care

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Pet Food

 

 

 

Grooming, Boarding, Veterinary

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Personal Care

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Toiletries / Cosmetics

 

 

 

Household Products

 

 

 

Clothing

 

 

 

Other Personal Care

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Savings and Investments

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Retirement Accounts (not deducted from paycheck - e.g., IRAs)

 

 

 

Brokerage Accounts

 

 

 

College Fund

 

 

 

Savings / Emergency Savings

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: Miscellaneous

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

Gifts/Donation

 

 

 

Other Miscellaneous

 

 

 

 

Expenses Worksheet: TOTAL EXPENSES

Category

Monthly Budget Amount

Monthly Actual Amount

Difference

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Surplus or Shortage

 

Total Monthly Income:

 

Total Monthly Expenses:

 

Total Monthly Surplus or Shortage (Income Minus Expenses):

 

 

You've Completed the Budget Worksheet, What Now?

Should you find that at the end of the month that you are consistently spending more than you are bringing in, it might be time to take a closer look at where you're spending your money and adjust those areas you can to make up the difference. Should you find, on the other hand, that you consistently have money left over every month, you now have the opportunity to decide what to do with that extra cash. Do you need to build up an emergency or "rainy day" fund? Could you be contributing more to your retirement savings? Could you pay certain loans off faster? Or perhaps you would like to save up for a special or large purchase.