8 Free Budget Templates to Help You Manage Your Money

UPDATED: April 2, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 8, 2024
African American couple sitting together on couch creating a budget

Creating a budget is essential to tracking and maintaining financial health. A budget gives you insights into your spending and saving, which you can use to save more, spend less or work toward financial goals. But if you’re not sure where to start, a budget template is a great way to create and monitor your budget easily.

We dug through hundreds of budget templates to find the best free templates. Our top picks for budget templates include three main features: ease of use, flexibility and free to use.

Whether you want to track expenses with a Google Sheets or Excel budget template, a printable budget template or a budgeting app, these eight options are all easy to use and free!

Budget templates for Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets

Spreadsheet-based budgeting templates are one of the most common ways to build and track your budget. Although each of these budget templates is designed for Microsoft Excel, you can also open and edit them as a budget template in Google Sheets.

1. Annual budget: Simple annual budget

This simple annual budget is just that—a way to easily see your monthly budget breakdowns over a year in one compact place. The simple layout makes it easy to customize with your income sources and expenses. The included percentage of income spent meter is a great feature if you’re looking to track spending over a year. The biggest downside to this budget Excel template is it’s fairly rigid, meaning you won’t be able to track specific goals from month to month.

  • Best for: Someone who wants to see the bigger picture of their monthly budget
  • Consider something else if: You have specific budgeting or savings goals.

Get the simple annual budget template from Microsoft.

2. Monthly budget: Monthly college expense budget

Although this Excel and Google Sheets budget template is geared toward college students, anyone who wants to simultaneously track monthly and multi-month spending can customize this free template to their needs. For example, let’s say you’re saving for a vacation in six months. You could customize the “Semester expenses” section of this template to fit your savings breakdown for the months leading up to your trip.

  • Best for: College students or anyone wanting both monthly and multi-month expense (or savings) breakdowns
  • Consider something else if: You want a simple or hands-off budget tracker.

Get the monthly college expense budget from Microsoft.

3. Household budget: Holiday budget planner

This free budget template is designed to help you plan a budget for the holiday season with categories like gifts, holiday meals and travel. However, the layout of this template is perfect for budgeting for any big event, such as a wedding, vacation or college expenses. You can customize each category based on your planning needs and the template automatically calculates the difference over or under your set budget.

  • Best for: People looking to financially organize an event or trip
  • Consider something else if: You want a more traditional budget template for tracking income and expenses.

Get the holiday budget planner from Microsoft.

Printable budget templates

Are you a pen-and-paper kind of thinker? These free printable budget templates are perfect for creating physical copies of your budget.

1. Family budgeting: Family binder budgeting printables

Jenn, the owner of the Clean and Scentsible blog, has created a full suite of household budgeting worksheets you can download for free. One of the best parts of these templates is the layout, which lets you overview your monthly budget for easy tracking, while also having an in-depth worksheet that breaks down budget categories. While this suite is perfect for someone looking to plan every detail of their finances, it might be overwhelming if you don’t have time to dedicate to tracking and planning each month.

  • Best for: Those looking for an all-inclusive budgeting suite to track each financial detail
  • Consider something else if: Your busy schedule makes detailed budgeting difficult.

Get the family binder budgeting printable suite from Clean and Scentsible.

2. Budgeting for entrepreneurs: Elegant and professional budget planner

Unlike many monthly budget templates, this free template includes space for multiple income streams. This can be incredibly useful if you have a side hustle, run your own business or have passive income streams. Additionally, this template helps track the estimated versus actual cost of income and expenses, which can help give you insight into your spending and earnings over time.

  • Best for: People with multiple income streams who want to track actual versus expected expenses
  • Consider something else if: Your income and expenses are mostly fixed.

Get the elegant and professional budget planner from Canva.

3. Simple printable budget: Minimalist classy monthly budget template

Does the idea of budgeting make your skin crawl? Maybe you just need a simple, straightforward approach to budgeting. This simple template makes it easy to quickly plan your monthly budget with only three categories: a section to record income, a place to list expenses and a small section for any notes you might have.

  • Best for: People who want to spend less than 30 minutes on their monthly budget
  • Consider something else if: You have complicated income streams or expenses that vary month-to-month.

Get the minimalist classy monthly budget printable document from Canva.

Budgeting apps for your phone or mobile devices

Not everyone wants to deal with complicated budget templates, Excel spreadsheets or printing out a physical copy of their budget. If that’s you, budgeting apps may be the budgeting tool you need. 

1. Rocket Money

Rocket Money is a budgeting app that focuses on tracking spending to help you better understand your financial health. The free version of the app includes account linking and spend tracking, so you can automatically see where your money’s going without entering expenses manually. Rocket Money also provides balance alerts to let you know if you’re spending too much on credit or if your bank account balance drops below a certain amount.

  • Best for: Individuals who want to track—and cut—their spending
  • Consider something else if: You want a zero-based budgeting system.

Get the Rocket Money app.

2. Goodbudget

The Goodbudget app is an all-in-one solution to spending and saving using the popular envelope method without the need to physically carry cash in envelopes. This method focuses on setting aside a specific amount of money for each spending or saving category, such as rent or groceries. The Goodbudget app lets you categorize your funds so you can better save for big expenses or pay off debt. Another great feature is the household syncing option, which lets you sync your budget with members of your household for better financial communication.

  • Best for: People who want a modern alternative to the cash-based envelope method
  • Consider something else if: Your monthly expenses and income fluctuate frequently.

Get the Goodbudget app.

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