Scores of free budget worksheets are available online that will help you live within your means and possibly even add to your nest egg. Using printable budget sheets will show you exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out. With careful budget planning, you will quickly see where you can trim your expenses and how to find a little extra for the emergency fund.
Print free budget worksheets from the Internet or use one as a guide to make your own in a program like Excel. Worksheets are easier if you have never before followed a budget because you can put them on your refrigerator or another visible place where you won't forget to fill them in. Some calculate expenses, others income and many are for both. You can find budget worksheets for a variety of income situations, including single income, retirement income, two-salary household and more.
Gather your pay stubs and all other statements of income along with last month’s bills, from utilities and credit cards to mortgage and cable television. Include charitable donations. One way to make this easier in the future is to arrange for most bills to get charged to your credit card. This way, you will write fewer checks, have everything on one statement and even make money in the process.
Insert your fixed monthly expenses in the budget worksheet such as mortgage/rent, insurance, telephone and more.
Fill in the budgeted amount, based off last month, for items that vary by month with the exception of your credit and debit cards. This will include, but is not limited to, donations, gifts, medical expenses like prescriptions and co-payments and utility bills. To facilitate budgeting, enroll in your utility company’s level-pay program; thus, you will pay the same amount year round. Do not include your credit or debit card as one large expense.
Add up all like items on your credit card statements such as four gas purchases for a total of $125 and five grocery store runs for a total of $800. Look over the free budget worksheet to see if you can lump anything else together from your credit card statement. Perhaps you went out to dinner twice and took the kids to a movie. Add up those items and list the total under "Entertainment or Recreation."
Do not make any guesses for any amount you have yet to list. Instead, go back to the last time you paid that expense and fill it in. If it is something like property taxes, car repairs, school supplies or pet care that you only pay a few times a year, take the total amount from the previous year, divide by 12 months and list that as the monthly expense. You are going to save that amount every month in a special account so you have it when the time comes to pay the bill.
Write in a “Savings” category, if your printable budget sheets do not already include this. Do this no matter how little you can save per month. Never count on "whatever's left over" as your monthly savings. If you take this approach, you risk never saving anything. With the correct approach, you can actually save money all the time.
Add up the total amount, once your entire budget worksheet is completed, and list this figure at the bottom as your total expenses.
Pull out all your income source statements and add up those totals. If you get quarterly bonuses that you draw on to pay the monthly bills, add up the yearly total from the previous year and divide by 12 to get the monthly income. However, do not include this in your budget if you make the deposit directly into a savings account. Only include it if you use the money toward monthly bills. Write the total income amount above your total expense number.
Subtract total monthly expenses from total monthly income. Hopefully, it's not a negative number. If it is, you are spending more than you're bringing in. If this is the case, go back through your monthly expenses and see where you can trim. Consider scaling back on charitable donations, carpooling to work or using coupons to cut your food budget.