This budget tracker template is great for assessing your planning, expectations, and progress as they relate to your finances! In fact, I’d argue it just may be the best budget fitness tracker around … keep reading to learn why.
According to CNN, only about 41% of Americans have a household budget. And while that number seems shockingly low, I would question of that 41%, how many actually use a budget to plan and improve their finances? (It’s the difference between having a treadmill and actually using it to workout and having a treadmill and using it as a drying rack for your delicates.)
If you really use a budget, you plan your expenses, track them, calculate the difference, and adjust accordingly. Not just any budget tracker printable or app allows you to do this. However, the budget tracker template in this post does, which is why I’ve referred to it as possibly the best budget fitness tracker printable.
Psst! When you hear the word “fitness” you probably think of stretchy yoga pants, the gym, and sweating or at least something along those lines. However, in the context of this post, fitness means “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.” We’re using this monthly budget tracker template to assess the suitability (fitness) of your budget.
Bonus: However, if you are looking for an actual fitness tracker that is budget-friendly, check out Best Fitness Tracker For Women and Men Printable.
The thing is, while it’s normal for your planned and actual expenses to be off slightly, if there are huge differences, that can be a problem. Unexpected spending can cause you to not only miss out on making progress toward financial goals but even be unable to meet other expenses!
And if your budget tracking sheet only allows you to plan for expenses or track actual expenses, that’s also a problem. You need to be able to plan for upcoming expenses and make sure you have enough to cover them as well as measure actual spending to ensure you’re on track and that all bills have been paid!
Best Budget Tracker Template Printable
- Page one has space for expenses related to your home and utilities, including more modern utilities like streaming services.
- Page two has space for household expenses like cleaning supplies and even pest control as well as food, transportation, insurance, and debt-related costs.
- Page three has space for family expenses like child care as well as costs related to personal care, entertainment, and pets.
- Page four moves on to the fun stuff—your financial goals! The last budget tracking sheet is where you can document progress toward achieving financial goals like retirement.
You may be wondering what it means if you start using this best budget fitness tracker and things don’t match up. What then? Great question; if that is happening, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Are the discrepancies you’re seeing large? In other words, again, you can’t predict with 100% accuracy what every expense will be. Some will vary from month to month such as your electric bill and food costs.
- Has something changed? For example, some utilities will fluctuate seasonally (think heating bill); another thing to look at is inflation. Have prices gone up through no fault of your own? For example, I recently read that coffee prices have increased 30%! 😭
- Did you or someone else make a mistake? For example, were you overcharged or did you fat finger an entry?
- Are you being realistic with your planning? For instance, don’t allocate $0 to entertainment and then be surprised when you and the family actually do want to do something fun during the month and accumulate expenses in that area.
- Are you forgetting something? While this best budget fitness tracker includes space for a lot of expenses, there are probably some that aren’t fully broken down or included. While in the planning phase, add your own if you think of something not on this list.
- Are you ignoring your plan? The planning phase happens for a reason! We’re taking our income, expected expenses, and financial goals into account and creating a plan for success; however, we can only achieve success by sticking to the plan as much as possible. Obviously, life loves to throw curve balls at us; unexpected expenses may arise, but control what you can.
Once you identify a likely reason behind the difference in expected and actual spending, put a note in the “notes” section. This will help you with making tweaks as needed, such as cutting back in certain areas or looking for ways to increase your income, and of course, with future planning.
While you may feel frustrated with not batting 1,000, be kind to yourself. Believe it or not, budgeting is a skill, and like all skills, we improve with practice—keep at it!
Bonus: Need some extra help making your budget? No worries! Check out How to Make a Budget for more guidance, tips, and tricks!
Perhaps you’re wondering why you should use this monthly budget tracker at all, even if it is the best budget tracker template, wouldn’t an app be even better? Maybe. You’ll need to find what works best for you, and if you think an app is the right answer, Googling “best budget tracking app” will reveal over 2.8 billion results. However, here’s why I think this printable is better than the best budget tracking app:
- There are no annoying ads, which are common with the best budget tracking apps that also happen to be free.
- There are no reoccurring charges; it’s true that this is not a free budget tracker printable, but you only have to pay for it once.
- It doesn’t require cell service, Internet connection, or a charged battery.
- Writing things by hand helps you remember them better. A Psychology Today article reads, “Analog notebook use activates multiple brain regions associated with optimal memory-encoding (and subsequent retrieval) more robustly than using digital devices, the researchers found.”
- It’s very comprehensive right out of the box, so to speak. Many apps either offer limited expense breakdowns or require going through a tedious setup process.
However, if you think an app or even just a spreadsheet of some kind would work better for you, give it a try!
As mentioned above, you have to find what works best for you. I think this is certainly one of the best budget fitness tracker printables around, but there are lots and lots of options. Here are some other budgeting resources that may work best for you.
- Free Household Budget Worksheet – PDF & Excel Printable
- Free Printable Budgeting Worksheets
- Free Family Budget Template Printables
- Free Printable Wedding Budget Planner Worksheet
- Printable Monthly Budget Planner Template
- Grocery Budget
- Wedding Budget Checklist
- Money Tracker
Psst! The list above also includes some event and situation specific budgeting printables that may come in handy on top of this monthly budget tracker.
Good luck on your financial fitness journey!