The Best Personal Finance and Budgeting Spreadsheets
Money, without a doubt, is necessary for life. 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 keep your finances organized while controlling 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 appear to be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be—budgeting and personal finance spreadsheets are readily available online.
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, who 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 in one easy-to-read place. This helps you to see how much income you have, as well as how your money is spent, which allows you to budget your money appropriately for your needs.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends creating a budget spreadsheet/worksheet to track your income and expenses to assist you in creating a realistic budget for yourself.
While not a spreadsheet, the CFPB offers a budgeting worksheet to help you plan.
The simplicity and number of available, pre-made 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, having already done most of the work for you in creating money management sheets.
It might be easier for you to start with a pre-made financial spreadsheet, and then expand it when you need to.
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 a Money Manager 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
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 Spreadsheetbreaks 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.
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 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. Spreadsheets make personal finance planning, tracking, and viewing much simpler than it was in the past while offering you control over your finances.