The Best Free Budget Spreadsheets for Every Type of Budget (2024)

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There are lots of ways to budget and save, but if you pick a spreadsheet, where do you even start? Staring at a blank budget spreadsheet can be daunting.

The good news is you don’t have to go it alone. A spreadsheet template can help you get started by laying out an easy road map to follow. Someone else has done the tricky work of setting up the spreadsheet. You just have to put in your personal numbers.

Budget spreadsheets can keep your banking and spending information offline if you want, offer more customization than apps, and there’s a free budget template for most methods.

Whether you use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or Apple Numbers, there’s a free spreadsheet for you. From simple monthly and yearly budgets to 50/20/30 and zero-based budgets, these budgeting templates will give you a head start.

4 Steps to Preparing Any Budget

How you prefer to budget will affect what you want in a spreadsheet template. Figure out how you walk through these basic budgeting steps to know what you want from one.

1. Identify Your Goals

Is your primary goal to pay off debt? Then you might like a zero-based budget. Do you have a stable income and are just trying to organize your finances? You might like the 50/20/30 method. Or maybe you’d like to be able to see your entire year in one sheet.

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2. Calculate Your Monthly Income

How much money do you have coming in each month or week? You can make a stricter budget if you have a stable salary and a clearer view of your total income.

Alternatively, if your take-home pay fluctuates or you get paid in tips, you’ll need a budget worksheet that’s more adaptable. Don’t forget supplemental sources of income like child support or alimony.

3. List All Your Expenses

The easiest way to do this is to go through your credit card and bank statements for the last few months and list all your transactions — fixed costs and variable expenses — on a monthly basis. From there, you’ll need to decide if you want your budget categories to be broad, transaction-specific or a mix of both.

4. Organize and Prioritize

Different people prefer different things when it comes to the organization of a budget. Is it essential for you to see your entire year at a glance? Or do you want to see only a week-by-week view?

Prioritize expense categories as you prefer. Maybe the most important budget categories are on top, or perhaps you put the most frequently used categories there.

6 Free Budget Template Spreadsheets

There are many fish in the sea, and we promise there’s a budget spreadsheet out there for you. Here are our picks based on budgeting personality types one might fall into.

Best Free Yearly Budget Spreadsheet

For the budget planner and goal-oriented go-getter, there is the personal budget spreadsheet from Vertex42. Available as a Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets template, this budget worksheet has categories that are specific without getting too far into the weeds.

There’s no place to track transactions if you’re looking for that, but if you record only once or twice per week, it’ll work for you.

You’re also able to compare your spending month over month to track progress toward reaching financial goals. Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, increase your savings rate or eat out less, this budget will hold you accountable.

Best Free Template for a Monthly Budget

Vertex42 gave us our favorite yearly budget template, so we shouldn’t be surprised that it also offers an excellent personal monthly budget option. You can download this household budget template spreadsheet as a native file for either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and get right to work.

The template will help you plan monthly expenses, but our favorite feature is tracking actual spending. The template will automatically calculate the difference between the amount of money you have budgeted — your actual costs — and how much you are spending.

Monthly budgets are perfect for those who need a closer look at their spending and need to know if they are staying on track.

Need an even more in-depth look at your spending habits? Check out our next pick for a weekly budgeting template.

Best Free Weekly Budget Template

We love the weekly budget worksheet from Spreadsheet123 because you can use it as a weekly, biweekly or even a monthly budget. The categories are in-depth, and the categories column is “frozen,” so you can see it even if you’re looking at week four.

This budget will keep you up to date every week all month long, and it’s perfect for college students on a budget or anyone who wants a detailed budget for a variable income.

Best 50/20/30 Budget Template

Available for Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, the 50/20/30 spreadsheet from Sapience Financial is a simple yet effective monthly budget template.

A percentage-based budgeting model like the 50/20/30 method allows for more flexibility than a zero-based budget, so the spreadsheet doesn’t need to be as complex.

The columns on the left tell you the category of each item that you add to your 50/20/30 budget — needs, wants or savings. All you need to do is adjust your allocations to each category until your percentages are where you want them.

Best Free Spreadsheet for a Zero-Based Budget

We like that the zero-based budget template from Smartsheet has a separate column for tracking your actual spending. It doesn’t allow for individual transactions, but simply being able to monitor your progress against your plan is helpful.

This budget also keeps a running total at the bottom to tell you when you’re at zero. Categories go down to line 57, but you always have the option of not using every line. The budget is available as a Microsoft Excel template and a Google Sheets template.

Best Free Wedding Budget Template

This wedding budget spreadsheet from Bridal Musings was made by a wedding planner, so you can rest assured that you won’t miss a thing. It’s also clean, easy to read and available in Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets.

And Bridal Musings doesn’t just plop categories in column 1. It notes what you can expect from that category, so you can make decisions faster and budget better for your wedding.

How to Make a Budget Spreadsheet Template

If you can’t find the personal budget template of your dreams, you can always make your own. We explain — in plain speak — how the pros assemble their budget spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel and how you can do the same.

Even if you don’t want to make your own from scratch, knowing how to do some simple functions can help you customize any template to fit your needs.

Just make sure you’re including everything in your DIY budget. There are hundreds of categories for your budget. (We have a list of 101). But in its simplest form, your actual budget will contain five categories.

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Goals (financial or otherwise)
  • Discretionary spending

You can break one category (like “transportation”) into subcategories (like “car” or “public transportation”). You can even break those down further into transactional categories like “car insurance premiums” and “car payments.”

A free-spirited spender might like more broad categories and stop at five. Or maybe you want to account for every transaction in subcategories within subcategories. Choose what fits your spending style.

Where to Find Free Budget Spreadsheets

Before you spend time jumping into the wild west of the web to find a personal budget template, check within your spreadsheet application. Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets and Apple Numbers all include excellent built-in spreadsheet templates.

If the provided templates aren’t enough, you can find more options online. Here are some of our favorite sources to find additional budgeting templates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Spreadsheet Templates Are Used for Budgeting?

If you’re getting started with a personal budget template, there are lots of options available. Some of our favorite templates include yearly and monthly templates from Vertex42 and a weekly option from Spreadsheet123. Other options include the 50/20/30 budget template from Sapience Financial and the zero-based budget template from Smartsheet.

Does Microsoft Excel Have a Budget Template?

Yes, Microsoft Excel does include several budget templates. Which templates you get will depend on the version of Office that you use. Additional budget templates for Microsoft Excel can be downloaded from Microsoft’s website.

How Do I Create a Budget Template?

Creating your own budget spreadsheet template will give you the most control over your finances. Check out our detailed guide about how to create a budget template in Microsoft Excel. The process is easier than you might think.

Is There a Budget Template in Word?

Microsoft Word does contain templates for managing your budget. You can find such templates by creating a new document from the “File” tab. However, we recommend you use Microsoft Excel’s budget templates as the software has been purpose-designed to work with organized data, such as financial records.

Michael Archambault is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology. Former staff writer Jen Smith contributed. Contributor Adam Palasciano updated this post for 2023.



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The Best Free Budget Spreadsheets for Every Type of Budget (2024)


What is the best free budget planner? ›

Summary of the Best Budget Apps of 2024
CompanyForbes Advisor RatingCost
Goodbudget4.5Free version; Plus is $10/month or $80/year
Oportun (formerly Digit)4.5After free trial, $5 per month
PocketGuard4.2Free version; Plus is $12.99/month or $74.99/year
Stash4.2$3 or $9/month
3 more rows
Apr 12, 2024

How do I create a budget spreadsheet for free? ›

Excel and Google Sheets are the most commonly used spreadsheet programs, but if you have a MacBook, you can also use the Numbers app. Google Sheets is primarily online, allowing you to access your budget anywhere, but if you want maximum security, Excel and Numbers can keep the file strictly on your hard drive.

Does Excel have budget spreadsheets? ›

This Excel template can help you track your monthly budget by income and expenses. Input your costs and income, and any difference is calculated automatically so you can avoid shortfalls or make plans for any projected surpluses. Compare projected costs with actual costs to hone your budgeting skills over time.

What is the number 1 free budget app? ›

The best budgeting apps, ranked*
RankingPlatform nameMobile app availability
1Rocket MoneyBoth iOS and Android
2SimplifiBoth iOS and Android
3YNABBoth iOS and Android
4Monarch MoneyBoth iOS and Android
10 more rows
Feb 23, 2024

Is Mint still free? ›

Mint aficionados need not despair when Intuit shutters the popular free money management app on March 23, 2024.

Is there a free version of spreadsheet? ›

Google Sheets may be the most popular spreadsheet web app, but Zoho Sheet has more features, and it's also completely free. It's the best free Excel alternative, if you're looking for the most powerful solution.

Is there a free budget template? ›

Google Sheets has plenty of budget templates and spreadsheets to choose from, and unlike Microsoft Office, it's free with your Gmail account. If you love looking at the numbers and tracking every last penny, then a Google Sheets budget spreadsheet will be perfect for you.

Are there any free spreadsheets? ›

Retable is a free and one of the best online spreadsheet tool, providing advanced features such as data import/export, charting, and advanced calculations. It requires no login, making it easy to use for anyone.

How do I make a simple budget spreadsheet? ›

How to create a budget spreadsheet
  1. Choose a spreadsheet program or template.
  2. Create categories for income and expense items.
  3. Set your budget period (weekly, monthly, etc.).
  4. Enter your numbers and use simple formulas to streamline calculations.
  5. Consider visual aids and other features.

What is the 50 30 20 rule? ›

The 50-30-20 rule recommends putting 50% of your money toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings. The savings category also includes money you will need to realize your future goals.

What is the best chart for a budget? ›

A visual aid, like a pie chart, can be useful to see how much you're spending and where your money is going. Using a budgeting pie chart to scrutinize your expenses, rather than numbers on a spreadsheet, makes money allocations easier to interpret.

What is better than Excel spreadsheets? ›

Google Sheets is best for collaborating teams and individuals looking for a simple, no-cost spreadsheet solution due to its user-friendly interface, real-time chat and collaboration features, and free option for individuals.

Where can I get a free Excel spreadsheet? ›

Free Excel for the web templates
  • Go to
  • Click Templates at the top of the page.
  • On the Templates page, click Excel. ...
  • Click the template you want, click Edit in Browser, sign in if prompted, and then click Continue.

Does Google Sheets have a budget template? ›

Once your Google account is set up, you can explore the wide variety of budget templates available in Google Sheets. These templates are designed to suit different financial needs and preferences. Here are a few types of budget templates you can find: Monthly budget.

Is Mint or Rocket money better? ›

Mint is a budgeting app first and foremost, whereas Rocket Money is a personal finance app with budgeting, credit reporting, and bill negotiation features. This means Mint is more comprehensive for creating custom budgets and managing your spending, but Rocket Money has more features overall.

What is the 50 30 20 budget rule? ›

Key Takeaways. The 50/30/20 budget rule states that you should spend up to 50% of your after-tax income on needs and obligations that you must have or must do. The remaining half should be split between savings and debt repayment (20%) and everything else that you might want (30%).

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