Free Budget Planner
When getting your finances in order, it is essential that you have the right tools at your disposal to save money. One of the most important tools you’ll want to have is a budget planner. Downloadable, ready-made, and free budget worksheets are fantastic tools that will get you started off on the right foot on your road to financial security.
Choosing a Budget Worksheet
A well-designed budget planner worksheet will help you decide how you ought to spend your money while avoiding and even reducing debt. When paying with cash out of pocket, it’s easy to get a feel of how much is being spent. However, when making purchases with credit cards or even via automatic monthly deductions from your bank account, it becomes much more difficult to get that intuitive feeling for how much you’ve spent or can afford to spend.
When assessing a free financial planning worksheet, take the time you need to check out its features. You are going to want to find a worksheet that strikes a good balance between accessibility and the number of features. Too few and you might not be able to properly assess all of the nuances of your financial situation; too many and you might end up confusing yourself with access to more than what you actually need.
As a rule of thumb, useful features for downloadable budget worksheets are the ability to breakdown where your money is being spent and to create your own categories for different expenses.
Types of Budget Worksheets
Excel / PDF Budget Worksheets
Many free budget worksheets available online will be in an Excel file format. The more complex of these Excel budgeting worksheets will have functions programmed into certain cells to automate various calculations, so all you need to worry about is inputting your income and expenses accurately. These types of budget worksheets, along with PDF budget worksheets, offer the most flexibility and control but are more complex.
- Offline functionality
- Update individual expenses / incomes
- Provides more data to analyze
- Takes time to learn
- Difficult to setup
Built-In Budget Worksheets
Aside from Excel worksheets, many websites offer custom-built budget planning software. For beginners new to budget planning, this type of proprietary budget planning software will make the process of coming up with an initial budgeting plan that much easier, at the expense of being more difficult to change on the fly without redoing the entire plan.
- Easy to use
- Provides quick budget planning
- Requires internet connection
- Difficult to update
- Less useful for in-depth analysis