Wondering how to make a budget in Excel? Wonder no more! These free templates make it easier than ever. Plus get tips on how to make a budget plan and stick to it.
Intimidated by the idea of creating a budget? I mean, not so much sticking to the budget but the sheer act of making one? Well, first off, regardless of what you create, you’re doing better than over half of all Americans who don’t have a household budget at all! Second, learning how to make a budget sheet in Excel can make budget creation a bit easier.
One of the benefits of learning how to make a monthly budget in Excel is that the program can do the math for you! Whether you’re figuring out the difference between expected expenses and actual expenses or just trying to add up totals, Excel can help. While you still have to ensure you’re entering the correct numbers into your spreadsheet, you won’t have to actually crunch them.
How to Make a Budget in Excel: Why A Template
While you can make a budget sheet in Excel from scratch, I highly recommend that you use one of the free templates below. Here’s why:
- They’re free … so why not?
- You don’t have to learn how to make a monthly budget in Excel as these templates are all set up and ready to go.
- These templates are super cute, and if you have to make a budget, you should at least have something pretty to look at.
- They’re customizable. You can alter these budget sheets in Excel to fit your specific needs.
How to Make a Monthly Budget in Excel or PDF: Choose a Template
Since this post is specifically about how to make a budget in Excel, I’m not going to focus too much on this, but I did want to mention that these templates are also available as PDF downloads. If you prefer to put pen to paper, a PDF may be great option for you. You can choose between the various templates below.
Plus, while this post focuses on how to make a budget sheet in Excel, another thing I love about these templates is that they offer space to help you remember when bills are due and if they’ve been paid via a “due” column and a “paid” column. This can provide you with peace of mind while helping you avoid unnecessary late fees and penalties, but it can also help you if you are erroneously charged a late fee or someone says they haven’t received a payment!
Blue Printable Budget Worksheet
- Blue Free Printable Budget Worksheet (PDF file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
- Blue Free Printable Budget Worksheet (PDF file) – Without an inspirational quote.
- Blue Free Printable Budget Worksheet (Excel file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
- Blue Free Printable Budget Worksheet (Excel file) – Without an inspirational quote.
Green and Pink Printable Budget Worksheet
- Green and Pink Free Printable Budget Worksheet (PDF file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
- Green and Pink Free Printable Budget Worksheet (PDF file) – Without an inspirational quote.
- Green and Pink Free Printable Budget Worksheet (Excel file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
- Green and Pink Free Printable Budget Worksheet (Excel file) – Without an inspirational quote.
Purple and Green Printable Budget Worksheet
- Purple and Green Free Printable Budget Worksheet (PDF file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
- Purple and Green Free Printable Budget Worksheet (Excel file) – Includes an inspirational quote!
How to Make a Budget in Excel Template: Get Started
Okay, now that we’ve covered why a template is a great solution to the question of how to make a budget spreadsheet in Excel and gone over your template options, let’s get to the specifics of how to make a budget plan so you can get started! Here’s how to get started with one of the above Excel templates:
- Start by defining some financial goals—monthly, yearly, and long-term. Start here because dreaming about the great things you want your money to do for you—that dream vacation, a new home, retirement—can help motivate you to get through the rest of the budgeting work! If you need help with setting goals, read up on how to set SMART goals here and snag this printable SMART goals template (PDF download).
- Document your monthly income.
- List out your expenses. You may want to start this on a separate spreadsheet or piece of paper because once you have them all, it can be helpful to group them into categories. Looking through bank and credit card statements is a great way to track down all of your expenses!
- Group your expenses in a way that makes sense to you and add them to the spreadsheet. For example, group all of your utilities and group all of your entertainment expenses.
- Fill in the remaining columns such as when each bill is due and its amount.
- Check the spreadsheet to ensure your expenses don’t outweigh your income. If you still have extra income, document where it should go such as to savings or debt re-payment.
Tip: You’ll repeat this as needed, likely monthly, so download extra copies of your template of choice!
How to Make a Budget Plan and Stick to It
Whether you’re using an Excel spreadsheet, a PDF download, or something else entirely, you can use these tips to help you stick to your budget!
- Budget to zero. This doesn’t mean that you spend every penny you earn! Rather you make sure each dollar is allocated to something, even if it’s just your savings account. When money isn’t specifically earmarked for anything, it’s easier to spend it frivolously.
- Don’t be unrealistic. If you make your budget too restrictive, with no room to buy anything you enjoy, you’ll find it much, much harder to stick to!
- Know your why. Understanding what you’re saving for, especially if it’s something you’re excited about, can make it easier to give up other things. Plan your financial goals in detail. You may even want to learn how to make a budget binder, as the budget binder template I have has a whole sheet dedicated to goals!
- Check in with yourself. Review your budget sheets to see if you’re on track and making progress toward various financial goals. This will also clue you in if something isn’t working. Think of it like working out; you’d most likely use some kind of fitness tracker for women and men printable or app to make sure you’re seeing results.
- Get a budget buddy. Taking all of the accountability on yourself can feel stressful. If you have a spouse, get him or her involved in the process and you can hold each other accountable. If you’re single, see if one of your good friends is also trying to budget and set up a system in which you encourage each other.
- Check your social calendar. Review events and holidays that are coming up and make room in your budget well in advance. If you’re the one hosting an event, such as a party or a wedding, you may want to snag a budget specifically for that, such as a Wedding Budget Checklist or Free Printable Wedding Budget Planner Worksheet.
- Try different tools. Maybe an Excel budget is a dream fit for you, but if not, don’t sweat it. Keep experimenting with different options and learning about different resources, like how to make a budget binder. (To learn how to make a budget binder, see the resources list below.)
More Budgeting Templates, Printables, and Resources
- Grocery Budget
- Best Money Tracker Template Printable
- Household Budget Template Printable (3 Pages)
- Printable Monthly Budget Planner (4 Pages)
- Free Printable Budget Worksheets
- Free Household Budget Worksheet – PDF & Excel Printable
- Free Printable Budgeting Worksheets
- Free Family Budget Template Printables