If you want to take control of your finances, it might require more than a calculator and a notebook to manage your money. Whether you live alone, have a large family with a lot of expenses, or even run your own business, having a personal budget in place is an essential first step to financial freedom.
A budget can help you see what you are currently spending, help you direct your savings, and determine where else you should apply your money. Budgeting might sound like a drag, but it can be much simpler when you use an Excel budget spreadsheet template.
What Are Family Budget Templates?
A family budget template is a pre-made solution to help you categorize and analyze your family finances for a certain period, such as a month, quarter, or year. Templates vary in complexity and features but are generally designed so that there is an easy to follow format to help you manage your money.
In short, a personal budgeting template is meant to be simple to use. Imagine all of your monthly bills and your incoming cash. As you break down your monthly expenses, these should match up well enough with what you have coming in so that you can pay your bills, save money, and meet other financial goals.
Major Benefits of Using an Excel Family Budget Template
We’ve already touched on a few of the reasons that you might want to use a budgeting solution. No one wants to live paycheck to paycheck or, worse, find that they are coming up short at the end of every month. Confronting your finances head on is the best way to reign in your spending and achieve your goals. A few of the other benefits of using a budgeting template include:
- Get a clear picture of your spending habits. You might have no idea how much you are spending each month on caramel macchiatos until you see the figures in black and white. The best way to identify runaway spending is to create a budget and track each expenditure.
- Cut non-essential expenses. The next step is to cut some non-essential expenses from your budget. Maybe you can reduce dining out from eight to six times per month and lower the amount spent shopping online.
- Achieve savings and other goals. When you have the data available to track your spending and reduce expenses, you’ll be able to achieve some other financial goals. These might include creating an emergency savings fund, saving for retirement, reducing debt, or saving for a much-needed vacation.
- Make simple revisions to budgeting tactics. A budgeting spreadsheet template will allow you to make quick and simple adjustments to your strategies. You can change percentages and other figures to help you better manage your money as you gain a better grasp of your financial situation.
Free Excel Family Budget Templates
Few people are crazy about the idea of keeping track of their dollars on cents on a piece of scratch paper. This isn’t an effective budgeting tactic, and you’ll have to do the calculations manually, which invites error.
Using an Excel template is an excellent way to organize your finances, and most people are already familiar with this powerful software. Here are 16 of the top free Excel family budget templates that cover a variety of ways to manage personal and family budgets.
Family Budget Templates
Having a family budget is the best way to help you track and manage your personal income, expenses, and savings. Whether you are new to budgeting or have done this in the past and want a simpler solution, a personal budgeting template can give you fast information about your finances.
1. Smartsheet offers a free Excel family budget template that has areas to input data as well as several graphs. You can input your income, expenses, and savings goals into the spreadsheet and view the dashboard that provides some high-level data about your spending and progress.
2. Smartsheet also has a free household expense budget template for Excel. This budgeting template also breaks down your income, expenses, and savings, but there is not a dashboard included. Another difference is that there many subcategories within each main section, such as different types of income, savings for investments, education, and emergencies, and expenses related to home, transportation, etc.
3. Even though Mint.com wants you to use their online budgeting tool, they also offer a free home budget template for Excel. This is a basic Excel budgeting template that sections for income (with sub-sections), and expenses. There aren’t allowances for savings or other goals, however.
4-6. Spreadsheet123 offers several free family budget templates. The first is a personal monthly budget planner template that allows you to compare your budgeted amounts versus actual spending. The household budget planner template also allows you to compare to budget versus actual for a month and has a graph component. If you need to break down your budget even further, the free weekly budget worksheet template will allow you to do this.
7. Microsoft Office has a basic family budget template for Excel that breaks down monthly income and expenses and then summarizes cash flow — projected vs. actual.
8. Vertex42 offers a free monthly household budget worksheet template for Excel. It has detailed categories and then summarizes the monthly budget according to projections, actual results, and variance.
9. My Excel Templates has a free, user-friendly Excel family budget template. Many household expense and income items are pre-listed in the template, and you will be able to see the difference between actual and budgeted amounts.
10. If you want a no-frills family budget worksheet, check out the super starter budget template from Savvy Spreadsheets. This one has one space for your income and ten expense categories.
Zero-Based Family Budget Templates
Zero-based budgeting is a particular type of monthly budget in which the difference between your total income and expenses is supposed to equal zero. The philosophy is that you should be allocating every dollar of your income to some area so that you know where every dollar you earn is going. If you want to use this type of budget, some free templates can make it easier.
10. The Enemy of Debt has created an excellent zero-based budget template for Excel that you can download at no cost. The template is broken down by weekly expenses and income, and it will let you know your balance along the way until you “zero out” for the month.
11. It’s Your Money also offers a “Dave Ramsey-style” monthly cash flow plan template that gives you a countdown depicting how much money you still have left to spend until you hit zero.
12. You can also download a free template for zero based-budgeting from Smartsheet. This can be used for any period (week, month, year) to show total income and expenses, with a running total of your balance.
Family Budget Planning Templates
Families who are serious about budgeting and planning for their financial future will want to look further out than a single month. A budget planner does this by creating a family budget for the entire year.
In truth, many expenses don’t recur monthly, such as insurance premiums, property taxes, and even the holidays, vacations, and home maintenance. An annual budget can better reflect these expenses, helping a family avoid surprises and be financially prepared.
13-14. Spreadsheet123 has a feature-rich family budget planner template for Excel that is free to download. This allows you to create an annual budget, broken down by month, with detailed categories for such things as housing, transportation, and insurance. There is also a personal budget planning template that is an annual planner. This spreadsheet not only has detailed categories to plan spending, income, and savings across the year but also graphs to show breakdowns and progress.
15. Vertex42 offers a free annual family budget planner. This is a popular budgeting tool that will help you create an annual budget, and it has graphs included to depict your savings and expenditures over time.
16. Smartsheet’s free family budget planner template for Excel is not as detailed as some of the others offered, but it might be all that you need to create a basic annual plan. It has space on one worksheet for all of your expenses, income, and savings items for each month of the year and then your totals.
An Excel family budget template can be as simple or as complex as you want. While it’s important that you find a template that suits your needs, some might only come close and need a few changes. At Excel Chat, we have Excel experts available around the clock that can help customize any Excel template or troubleshoot an issue with a formula or formatting.
Assistance is available with the click of a button, and your data is completely protected for confidentiality. Your first session is always free.