Sample Budget Template: Control where your money goes
Do you know where your money goes? Use a budget template to keep up with your finances.
We’re committed to our readers and editorial independence. We don’t compare all products in the market and may receive compensation when we refer you to our partners, but this does not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn more about Finder.
With money transacting in and out of your account every day, keeping up with your finances can be a messy task. But that doesn't have to be the case. A budget template is a simple tool that you can use to monitor your savings, expenditure and proximity to your financial goals. This guide will cover the tips and tricks for creating a budget, with a sample budget template that you can use as a guide.
Sample budget template
Using pen and paper
In general, a budget template tracks your cash inflow and outflow. To make one yourself, all you have to do is grab a piece of paper and split it into two columns: one for "inflow" and one for "outflow". List down all the ways in which you earn money in one of the columns and list down your expenditures and their respective expenses in the other column. For example, "salary" counts as inflow and "mortgage payments" count as outflow. Then, total up the amounts in each column and compare your total inflow to your total outflow. This will give you an idea of your current spending and savings habits.
How do you create a budget using this information? On a separate piece of paper, calculate your ideal spending and saving ratios. From there, you can allocate sub-category limits. For instance, you might allocate 50% of your income to necessities. You could then split this amount amongst your various necessary expenditures, such as food, transportation, clothing and bill repayments.
Of course, this is only an example. You should customise the categories or even the visual layout to suit your preferences. The most important thing about budgeting is being able to understand your numbers, so lay them out in a way that makes sense to you.
Online budgeting tools
Are numbers not really your thing? If the idea of manually creating a budget puts you off, you could always use an app or online platform to hold you accountable to your budget.
One platform that does this is the Finder app. Through the app, you can monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, active loans and investments through a centralised dashboard. As well as this, you can keep up with your daily transactions and stay updated on your credit score with just a few swipes. This is an easy, free alternative to manually creating a budget template yourself.
Tips for making your budget template work
Whether you're using the sample template included above, or you're using an online money management tool, use these tips to create a budget that works.
#1 Set a savings goal
The purpose of having a budget is to limit your spending so that you can save more. This means that your budget will be directly impacted by your savings goal – whatever it is.
Take some time to think about what you're saving towards, both in the long term and in the short term. Some people focus on saving up for retirement. Others might work towards goals like buying a house, paying off debt or getting a new car. Whatever your goal may be, calculate the approximate amount of savings that you wish to have within a certain time frame. This number is now your savings goal. From there, you can calculate how much of your salary you should be saving each month.
#2 Change up your plan
Your financial situation will always dynamic because you are spending and receiving money all the time. In more drastic circumstances, you may even face a sudden financial change because of economic downturns, a change in your employment or a medical emergency. Either way, it's important to re-visit your budget at least once a month to see if it's still relevant. This will prevent you from overspending or setting an unrealistic savings amount.
#3 Prepare for the unexpected
Besides helping you accumulate savings, a budget is a great tool to help you prepare for the unexpected. There's nothing worse than having a financial emergency and realising that you don't have enough cash on hand. As a result, your budget should include room for an "emergency" fund, separate from your savings account, to be ready for immediate usage when trouble arises.
This could save you from making costly mistakes, such as withdrawing money from a locked-in savings account or an account with hefty withdrawal fees. Additionally, your emergency fund should be ready for use any time, without you having to jump through hoops to withdraw money.
More guides on Finder
Financial Fitness Challenge Week 4: Make your savings and investments work harder for you
This is the final week of our 4-week financial fitness challenge, where we help you understand your savings, super and investments.
Free Adobe InDesign Resume Templates
If you struggle with creating a resume, using a template will save you time and effort.
Free colourful resume template (Australia)
How to use a colourful resume template to make your application stand out.
Be money mindful: How to develop a positive money mindset during COVID-19
SPONSORED: You need to look after your financial health, not just your physical and mental health, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's how to do it.
Free timesheet template (Australia)
Learn how your business can use timesheets to cut costs and maximise your time.
Financial Fitness Challenge Week 1: Tracking your spending
Start our FREE 4-week plan to supercharge your finances.
Free infographic resume template (Australia)
Find out how to create the perfect infographic resume to help you stand out from the crowd.
Put your savings on autopilot: 4 money hacks for lazy people
SPONSORED: Saving money shouldn't feel like a chore. Here are four ways you can save more money while basically doing nothing at all.
Submission to the inquiry into Future Directions for the Consumer Data Right
In this submission to the Treasury inquiry into Future Directions for the Consumer Data Right being led by Scott Farrell, we focus on the topic of switching and how this could be encouraged through the introduction of write-access to the CDR. We also share some details on switching in the industries set to be covered by the CDR, as well as high-level views on how write-access could be used to enable payment initiation through the CDR.
Podcast: How to plan a realistic wedding budget
Don't say "I do" to debt: Tips and tricks to create a wedding budget, cut back costs and avoid debt for your big day.
Ask an Expert