Track your money with the Free Budget Spreadsheet 2018


The budget spreadsheet is part of a financial planning series called How to Make a Budget – Easy Steps for Beginners.

how to use a budget spreadsheet

How to use the Budget Spreadsheet

I have TWO budget spreadsheets for you, and both are easy to use. There’s the new one for 2018 with graphs, and there’s the original version which has been mentioned in a few recent books.

Regardless of which budget spreadsheet version you choose, I’ve kept things super simple by listing the biggest budgeting categories and showing you how it all adds up.

Budget Spreadsheet 2018

budget spreadsheet with graphs
Download: FREE Your Budget (2018 version)

Budget Spreadsheet (original version)

budget spreadsheet
Download: FREE Your Budget (original version)

Here’s what you can do:

  • Budget by month: List your monthly expenses, track your income, and see how it all adds up. List variable incomes.
  • Budget by year: Get an annual snapshot of your success. Yearly totals are listed below.
  • Budget for individuals: Perfect for singles and couples.
  • Household budget: Families can budget too. Tally spousal income.
  • Budget worksheet: If you’re not fond of spreadsheets, go ahead and print it out as a monthly budget worksheet. Stick in a binder.
  • Budget calculator: Use the budget spreadsheet as a calculator to show when you’re in the red. Scroll to the bottom and see if your Total Difference is positive (black) or negative (red).
  • Customize: Customize this Excel budget spreadsheet by adding your own categories.
  • Graph it: Build a graph to see your categories in color. Where do you overspend? What can be cut?

Step 1: Download!

Click to download your copy of the new Your Budget 2018 (with graphs) or get the first Your Budget (original). Or get both — I won’t tell.

Don’t fear Radical honesty — that’s the first step in getting your financial life in order. Acting on the desire to remove the blindfold, open your mind to the possibilities, and see your success through the messy and uncomfortable bits is what it takes. YES, you have what it takes.

Step 2: Track your spending!

Tracking every cent you earn and spend sounds like work, but it’s easy to do if you carry a notebook with you or save all your receipts. The idea is to track your cash, credit card, and debit card purchases to identify the costly culprits.

  • Get a notebook. Place a small notebook and pen in your purse. OR carry an iPhone, iPad, or iWhatever APP with you.
  • Write it down: Every time you spend money, write it down. Make a note of each and every purchase (grocery, coffee, shoes) and add the date. Ask for a receipt.
  • Add it up: Tally your expenses during the month and add them to the Budget Spreadsheet under the right category. See where your money is really going. Results may shock you.

The second step requires you to stick with it. To truly get a handle on your money you must know exactly where your money comes from and where your money goes. Feeling overwhelmed by seeing the numbers is normal. Experiencing stress from debt is normal. But getting past the feels and sticking through the discomfort can lead to greater money confidence, increased financial independence, and less struggle.

Step 3: Get budgeting!

Grab your receipts, sort your bills, and check your bank accounts. It’s time to fill in the blanks and account for your cash. Here are the columns to consider:

  • Income: Enter your monthly salary, bonuses, and investments to see your total income. Do you need to earn more? Include your partner’s income.
  • Home Expenses: Your housing costs, rent, mortgage, insurance, maintenance, and property taxes.
  • Transportation: Automobile costs, transit passes, fuel, maintenance, and bike parts.
  • Utilities: Cost of streaming services, internet bundles, phone plans, and music. Electricity and water bills too!
  • Medical: Not my favorite category, but we’ve all got something medical. Your prescriptions, dental bills, and health insurance.
  • Financial: Bank fees, interest payments, debt repayment, savings accounts.
  • Enjoyment: The fun stuff! Gifts, holiday expenses, pet costs, entertainment (yes booze), restaurants, hobbies.
  • Routine Expenses: Groceries, clothing, personal, makeup.
  • Family: Childcare expenses, allowances, activities, sports, books, toys, tuition, school supplies, field trip costs. Get kids involved — a financially savvy kid can grow into a financially wise adult.

Your third step is owning it. Wherever you spend, however much you owe — take your new-found radical honesty and categorize it. The Squawkfox Budget Template lists your income and categorizes your expenses under Home, Transportation, Utilities, Medical, Financial, Enjoyment, Routine Expenses, and Family. You will have to balance the money flowing into and outta these categories so there’s something to cover your needed expenses, something to save for the future, money to pay down debt, and cash to place in an emergency fund.

Step 4: Turn it around!

Turning it around is the fourth step. Facing the numbers and looking for ways to cut spending, increase income, or move spending around is a MESSY UNCOMFORTABLE PROCESS. So get messy. By facing the hard, uncomfortable, messy stuff is how you can turn it around. Turn your money around, don’t turn your back on your money. Now let’s do this because I know you can do it.

Step 5: Repeat, Revisit, Review!

The fifth step is to repeat, revisit, and review. Check in with your spending, earning, and debt repayment. Stay connected to your money. Daily, weekly, or monthly. Little reviews and updates can add up. Make it add up.

Get the Series: How to Make a Budget:

how to make a budget

  1. Your Net Worth
  2. Net Worth Spreadsheet
  3. Financial Goals Worksheets
  4. Needs and Wants List
  5. Budget Spreadsheet
  6. Free Budget Software
  7. Track Extra Income
  8. Gift Giving Worksheet
  9. Holiday Expense Tracking
  10. Windfall Planner
  11. Debt Reduction
  12. Student Budget
  13. Medical Expenses
  14. Emergency Fund

Do you budget? YAY or NEVER!
Love love love,


  1. Money Illusions April 26, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    It really is easy to blow a budget without a budget plan or budget spreadsheet, and I think many people really overlook the importance of educating their children about money.

  2. Leisureguy April 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

    You might find this free Excel budget workbook to be useful in creating a budget. It brings to light certain implicit expenses that might otherwise be overlooked—maintenance and replacement expenses, mainly.

  3. Guy G. April 28, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the tools. We have used similar spreadsheets when we teach tips on budgeting and I find that they’re all basically the same and will work well – IF people use them.
    You can’t use a budget spreadsheet once and simply leave it. It should be reviewed at minimum once a month, if not weekly.

    Great post,

  4. John E April 29, 2010 at 7:09 am

    We’ve been tracking our family expenses since 1996. I highly recommend the practice. The main benefit for us has been that once we figured out how much money we had and where it all went, we could be comfortable about spending it. For example, I never feel guilty about buying an expensive cup of coffee (or expensive organic veggies) – my budget covers me for a cup every day if that’s what I want, and I can enjoy that coffee (or the organic veggies) knowing that the cost of it isn’t “too expensive” or cutting into our vacation money, retirement savings or any of the other line items in our budget.

  5. […] I use Microsoft Money to track spending but an ordinary spreadsheet should do just fine. Squawk Fox has a budget spreadsheet available for download. […]

  6. Erica April 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I just started making a budget, so thanks..this will help alot.

  7. […] Track your money with Squawkfox’s Free Budget Spreadsheet. […]

  8. […] I use Microsoft Money to track spending but an ordinary spreadsheet should do just fine. Squawk Fox has a budget spreadsheet available for download. […]

  9. […] particularly enjoyed the article “Track your Money with the Free Budget Spreadsheet”, it gave advice on how to use the budget spreadsheet provided, with the aim of you tracking your […]

  10. Liz July 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    This spreadsheet is very similar to one I used a few years ago. I’ve used several others since, but I think I’m going back to this one; it really is the best. I personalized it more by adding in extra columns to reflect my bi-weekly pay dates. The other “tools” I’ve used mainly show what I’m spending & when/where I’m spending it (like, when a bill is due, I open my budget spreadsheet, enter the amounts being paid, click AutoSum, and I’m done with it.) Still, I’m finding that I don’t have quite the same “stick-with-it” attitude doing it that way as I do with this one.

    When I used this spreadsheet, I’d plug in all those non-changing items for the whole year (rent, transit expenses, cable, cell phone bill), and for other utilities, I averaged six months worth & added $10 to whatever the average was – since one bill is never the same unless you’re on some type of budget plan – With this guesstimate, I found that I generally had money back in my pocket which I applied to paying off a credit card here’n’there!

    I was diligent with using this spreadsheet & checked it on a weekly basis. I kept a small memo tablet in my purse & jotted down any- and everything “extra” so I could enter it during the weekly check-up. If there were changes (and there usually were), I knew where the changes were coming from & where I needed to reevaluate that purchase that I considered a “little something extra” (mainly the frozen coffees I splurged on a couple days a week since the deli in my office building sold them)..and then I invested in a small blender from a nearby thrift store ($3.00+change) & concocted my own recipe with the items already in my pantry! (try that for a few weeks & watch your budget have a surplus!)

    I’ve tried sharing my budget tips with younger family members, and they shake their heads at me ’cause they don’t get it (or maybe they just don’t get ME, go figure!) They think it’s just a little crazy or silly to do. (Even tho I must admit, when I was in my 20s-early 30s, I felt that way, too!)

  11. […] takes a bit of practice, but the payoff can be huge. Keeping track of your budget using this free household budget spreadsheet can also help you save money on all your other living […]

  12. Katie August 9, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I love budgets and making budgets. I’ve had one that I’ve stuck to this last year or so, but I’m looking to move out, so I’m glad I came across this–it will be a huge help in remembering all those “extra” expenses that I don’t have at the moment, but will soon.

    Being in my late 20’s, I’ve tried to tell my friends for years that the only way they will save money (and pay off student loans!) is by budgeting. I’m going to share this article in hopes that some of them will take the plunge! 🙂

  13. Robin Poulin September 10, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Tracking your expenses is a great way to get started on your budgeting. It helps you understand your spending patterns and where your money is going. It can be amazing how quick it all disappears before you know it.
    When you’ve tracked your spending for a month or two, you can see your spending patterns and plan better for your future when you know what to expect. It’s then far easier to plan ahead for those expenses rather than putting out fires of trying to gather the money together when those expenses comes up. Being prepared takes the stress and worry out of budgeting and finances. My husband and I have been using a calendaring program with reminders to do this for about 8 years now. It helps to keep us on the same page for finances and avoid financial stress in our relationship too. Happy Budgeting!

  14. Budgeting Money September 27, 2010 at 4:11 am

    I’ve tried sharing my budget tips with younger family members, and they shake their heads at me ’cause they don’t get it They think it’s just a little crazy or silly to do…

  15. Jon November 10, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    This is so easy. I really appreciate it.

  16. Riva January 6, 2011 at 6:24 am


    Love the budget spreadsheet! I did it for 2010. Is there a way to have a 2011 one on the same spreadsheet but different page (on the bottom tab??) or do I have to download another spreadsheet for 2011?

    Thanks! Keep up the good work!

    Virginia USA

  17. Mike July 3, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Thanks for the great budget speradsheet. Nice & simple yet includes about everything. I like the fact you can personalize it. We have an excel check register and have added 4 or 5 columns to track our variable expenses for the daily stuff. Thanks again Kerry.

  18. elaine July 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Do keep in mind to keep some aside for other savings, like a vacation! Me and my fiancé were able to go on a cruise and do excursions only because we made it a point to put aside $100 a month! And when we spent it, we didn’t have to feel guilty about it. Budgeting is all worth it! We’re saving up for our next trip…

  19. valorie January 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you so much. I love your blog/site. I have read Dave Ramseys Total Money Makeover and had just begun my 7 day trial when I found your site. Needless to say I canceled my subscription to his site because your sheets are easier for me and free! I am really trying to trim the fat from our lives as next month we will lose almost $1100 a month in income. Major adjustment on our part. Also starting a small plant nursery to open this spring. So budgeting is a must from now on. I can’t thank you enough.

  20. […] be certain I am making progress. I found a practical and simple automated budget spreadsheet from Squawkfox that allows me to input my income and expenses on a monthly basis. In addition to the current […]

  21. Lin February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I started writing down every single purchase in a notebook a month ago, and almost immediately I noticed how fast those little mindless purchases add up. $8 for lunch, $1.50 for coffee, $15 for a movie ticket. By being strict with myself and adhering to a budget, I’m finding that I have more money left over at the end of the month that I can use towards my student loans. Thanks to better habits, I am on track towards repaying my loans by the end of the year!

  22. Rebecca March 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Going on 27 years old, am fair skinned and in the last couple years I have noticed the wrinkles or the “fine lines” starting to happen. Definite grumble.

    I am a pastry chef by trade, working in an underpaid job that I am thoroughly unenthusiastic about, actively trying to become fit and frugalicious. I’ve been working out everyday, sometimes once in the morning and once in the afternoon, although it’s tough trying to drag my butt out of bed every so often.

    My parents made make-ahead meals all growing up, I love them. I loved your article that talked about lentils and other dried beans, etc. Buying them dried is something I’ve never considered until you. After reading it I was inspired to make some sort of lentil stew. It turned into a creamy red curry coconut lentil stew with whatever veggies we had on hand. We ate some that night, and I froze the rest in large mason jars (we’re anti-plastic as much as possible).

    Love, love, love your articles, your creative ideas and this spreadsheet. Keep them coming you foxy woman! 😀

    Much love from one of your many fans,

  23. MPF April 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks so much for the free spreadsheet! I have been trying to figure out how to begin budgeting and your spreadsheet makes it so simple!

  24. pauline comeau April 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Can t print the spreadsheet. What am i doing wrong. I ve tried many times. The page comes out blank

  25. […] (a fellow BC, Canada Personal Finance Blogger named by Globe and Mail as #1 PF blogger) has an easy spreadsheet you can download (and it’s free!).  Make sure you include debt repayments in this […]

  26. TuppenceBank April 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Great spreadsheet! It’s simple and straightforward. And with so many people using Google email and Docs, I’m wondering if it would be worth posting the spreadsheet as a public template in Google Docs (you can even add a little link back to your site for more advice). Anyway, it would make for an even more convenient reason to get those budgets started now.

    And parents might want to consider getting their little ones involved as well. Starting them down the right road now makes all the difference in the world.

  27. […] Your Budget Spreadsheet available via Squawkfox […]

  28. James July 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the free spreadsheet. Will pass this along to other people I work with that make building their own budget worksheet so complicated.

  29. Georgina May 9, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Thank you very much. I have just started by downloading the spreadsheet. I shall visit you often to keep me motivated because I’ve started and stopped to often. Your emails are very heartening. Love you lots!

  30. Charles June 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I love Excel and use it for tons of stuff. But my problem with tracking expenses is when we buy something with a credit card… because you’re not actually paying for it right then; you pay for it when you make your monthly credit card payment. And THAT payment will probably include charged items that are in other expense categories! Plus, if you record it both times – when you charge it and when you make the credit card payment – then it’s a duplication. So, which is more meaningful? When you charge it, or when you actually PAY for it?

  31. stacey August 27, 2013 at 3:12 am

    My medical expenses are higher than my household mortgage which makes it hard to budget for sometimes. Thank you for your guidelines.

  32. Nat December 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    First, thank you for providing the curriculum, class materials and mentoring for a course that should be mandatory at all levels of education, free of charge!!! The federal gov’t should acknowledge the effort your making and the effect it could have on our economy if everyone followed the path you have so clearly laid out.
    I was only fifteen when I received a copy of Chilton’s “The Wealthy Barber” in my stocking and have attempted to follow the barbers advice ever since. The funny thing is that as a student and then through a career as a snowboard instructor I practised pretty much what you have suggested with great success, ie with little income I budgeted, carried no debt, my possessions fit in a board bag and a backpack (no room for crap) and I was able to save/invest 10%. But now as I settle (bought a home, have just had our first child) into an “grown up” career making decent money with a fiancé who is also making decent money I find that we are hemorrhaging moolah. Last year with less than half of her income coming in (mat leave) we tightened the belt but still dipped into a line of credit. Big mistake!!! Now it’s like the rough budget that we have gets thrown out each month and the money intended for paying down the LOC ends up going towards the monthly cc bill as I refuse to carry any debt on a credit card. Oh my.
    So we are starting from scratch, following your guidance and using the tools you have provided, we will develop a new financial plan that will allow us to reach our goals.
    This leads to my first request. I have been going though the steps, making lists in the notes app on my phone and tablet. Not the most convenient method. Would you consider developing an app containing your system? I know that there are plenty of budgeting apps out there but they are just not foxy enough. What can I say, I like your style! And feel like you should be compensated for all of your hard work!!
    My second request is for more information. You have stated that a method of reducing debt is to increase your income and thus increase what you can afford to put towards your debt. With that in mind I am considering turning a hobby into a side business. Choosing how it should be set up is confusing (private enterprise vs incorporation etc..) and I’ve learned that there are implications when running a business from home with regards to insurance and municipal taxes among other things. I would truly love to have a series of articles concerning this written from the fox’s point of view. Just putting it out there.

    Thanks for everything,

  33. […] Banerjee explains in five simple rules how to think about your finances and focus on the 20 percent of what you really need to know to confidently take charge of your money. I love how the author presents the 5 simple rules right on the first page of the book, in the Introduction section. This is followed by a blueprint showing how you can score an easy A with your personal finances. He even mentioned fellow Torontonian blogger Kerry K. Taylor’s book 397 Ways to Save Money and her famous budget spreadsheet. […]

  34. How to Track Your Spending | Common Cents Mom September 29, 2014 at 10:25 am

    […] started budgeting I used an excel spreadsheet alot. My friend Kerry at has a great free dowloadable budgeting spreadsheet.  These are […]

  35. Rita November 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Hi Kerry,

    I am looking for a spreadshett to track my savings/investments. One that can figure out my rate of return, track contributions etc. Stuff like that. I am not Excel savvy sadly. I looked on your websight but only found your great budget template which I have been using for several years. Hence my savings and investments. Do you have a savings tracker? Can you send me in the right direction for one please? Thank you. Keep up the good work.


  36. Allen February 26, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    This it’s my first-time trying to create a budget, it seems easy enough, are there any suggestions from the more experienced comment posters on here,that would like to share their wisdom, mayben idea that later in your practice you said “I wish I would have done this sooner”

    Thank you

    A. Santos

  37. Leisureguy March 2, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I worked out a method to construct a budget based on using take-home pay and working out not only explicit expenses (e.g., rent, utilities, car payments, groceries, etc.) but also implicit expenses (e.g., replacement expenses for car tires, batteries, etc.). I put it into a worksheet you can download (free). More info here.

  38. Maureen April 14, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Great tool! This is really going to be very helpful and it’s easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.

  39. […] business is working out what income you want to earn.  Do a personal budget (I recommend using this template from Kerry Taylor of Squawk Fox) but instead of starting at the top with income, start with […]

  40. DANIEL J PRAGL May 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I’m looking for bank statement software,I’m going through a divorce and I need to analyze years of statements to show life style issues.Any ideas?

  41. […] business is working out what income you want to earn.  Do a personal budget (I recommend using this template from Kerry Taylor of Squawk Fox) but instead of starting at the top with income, start with […]

  42. Tricat November 21, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Excellent website. We have used a spread sheet to track expenses monthly for over 15 years. Every year we use the data to choose an area or two to deliberately reduce costs, e.g. communications, insurance, groceries, transportation…and then tackle that area and gets expenditures down. It’s amazing what you can avoid if you spend a little time finding a better service provider, or get rid of a service you don’t need anymore. Your needs evolve, and the products and services options change so rapidly now it is important to revisit decisions regularly. It is also critical to know your financial needs to be able to plan your retirement. You can retire sooner and more comfortably if you know what you need – and what you don’t. It helped us reach freedom-fifty. Good luck!

  43. Janet January 16, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Do you have a spreadsheet that captures a couples individual income, expenses etc for each as well as a combined/shared account. I am recently retired and my husband and I would like to keep separate accounts but also maintain a joint checking account where we would each shared expenses and each deposit from own savings into the joint account to pay common expenses

  44. Kevin McDonald February 24, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    This spreadsheet is a good basis for getting a handle on monthly household expenses. However, your definition of “utilities” is too broad per the IRS. Utilities are typically defined as companies that supply what are considered basic (essential) services to homes and businesses, such as electricity, gas, telephone, water and sewer connections. They should not be confused with non-connective services such as cellular telephone companies, nor to optional services such as satellite dish or cable-tv providers.

    Cell phones, internet and cable/satellite TV may be monthly expenses, but are not by definition, “utilities” (though cell phones and internet are becoming more and more essential as time moves forward). I would suggest two “Utilities” sub categories…”Essential” and “Non-Essential”. This way all those expenses are still taken into account on a monthly budgeting basis but are also properly separated for possible tax purposes.

    I know it all sounds a bit nit-picky, but it is more precise and correct per the actual definition of what is considered a utility.

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