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    
 CategoryMontly Budget AmountMonthly Actual AmountDifference
Gross Income    
 Wages, Salary, Bonuses   
 Interest Income   
 Investment Income   
 Other Income (e.g., child support, alimony)   
Taxes Withheld and Paycheck Deductions    
 Federal Income Tax   
 State and Local Income Tax   
 Social Security and Medicare Tax   
 Employer Health Insurance Premium   
 Employer Retirement Plan Contribution (e.g., 401k)   
Net Income Total:(Subtract taxes and deductions from gross income)   


Expenses Worksheet    
 CategoryMonthly Budget AmountMonthly Actual AmountDifference
 Mortgage or Rent   
 HOA Fees   
 Homeowner's or Rental Insurance   
 Property Taxes   
 Home Repairs/Home Maintenance   
 Home Improvements   
 Natural Gas or Oil   
 Telephone/Data Plan    
 Cable TV/Internet   
 Restaurants/Fast Food   
Family Obligations    
 Child Support   
Health and Medical    
 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 & OTC Medications   
 Fitness (e.g., Personal Trainer, Gym, Yoga)    
 Car Loan/Lease Payments   
 Car Insurance    
 Car Repairs/Maintenance   
 Public and Other Transportation (Bus, Subway, Taxi, Ride Share)   
 Other Transportation Expenses (e.g., tolls, parking expenses)   
Debt Payments    
 Credit Card Payment   
 Student Loan Payment   
 Other Loans   
Other Insurance    
 Life Insurance Premiums   
 School Supplies   
 Computer Expenses   
 Subscriptions and Dues   
 Other Entertainment   
Pet Care    
 Pet Food   
 Grooming, Boarding, Veterinary    
Personal Care    
 Household Products   
 Other Personal Care   
Savings and Investments    
 Retirement Accounts (not deducted from paycheck - e.g., IRAs)   
 Brokerage Accounts   
 College Fund   
 Savings/Emergency Savings   
 Other Miscellaneous   
Total Expenses:    


Monthly Surplus or Shortage 
Total Monthly Income: 
Total MonthlyExpenses: 
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.