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  • Writer's pictureA Wild Lass

One of the Simplest Free Budgeting Tools!

Someone asked in an online group for help with budgeting, specifically an easy-to-use tool that can help them keep track of numbers. They didn’t want an app they had to download and create login credentials for; they didn’t want something they had to pay for or get a lot of training to use.

I realized I had exactly what she needed, and it was just hanging out in cyberspace, waiting to be shared. Many years ago, I created a simple spreadsheet to use for our household’s budgeting needs. We had a tighter budget and more expenses and we were really struggling. Seeing it all on paper really helped.

If this is your story, I’ve got one of the simplest free budgeting tools for you right in this post. Scroll past the photo to find the link (I promise you won’t have to scroll far).

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

Free Budgeting Tools

In the vein of my other free tool and template posts, I’m putting the tool you need right up front. I always hope you take the time to read the rest of the post, because I don’t write for no one to read it, but the most important part of this post is the budgeting tool and in case you missed the link in the first sentence of this paragraph, here it is again.

P.S. I also put the info you need right up front in my recipe posts, like my favorite blueberry pie recipe. Doesn’t everyone hate scrolling through someone else’s rambling life story just to get to the recipe?

How to Use the Tool

There are brief instructions for how to use this budgeting tool right at the top of the page when you click on the link. It’s a very simple spreadsheet, built in Google Sheets. You’ll need a Google account to be able to save a copy and start using it.

Start by accessing the sheet and Choosing File >> Make a Copy. Then rename the sheet a title of your choosing, and create the new file. The new copy should list you as the owner in your Google Drive.

Open the file and click the blue “Share” button in the top right corner to check your sharing settings, and make sure no one else can access the file except you to help you keep your financial data private.

If you choose to share with another person in your household to help manage the budget, this is where you will add them using their email address. More on this below.

Once you’ve created your own file, then you can add your own data into the sheet. Fill in your pay dates at the top of the columns. Fill in the categories of expenses you have in your household at the left side. If you have other types of expenses that those listed on the tool, simply add a row by right clicking on an existing row and choosing “Insert 1 Row Above” or below, if you choose.

The formulas are automatic, so they will calculate how much you have left from each pay check at the bottom of each column. If you add a row, then you’ll need to be sure to add the formula to the new row. You can find instructions for how to do that in this article.

Once you fill in all the information, you’ll be able to see what money is leftover (or where you have negative balances and need to account for things differently). You can put money in savings if you have extra, or work on making extra payments toward existing debt. If you have a deficit, maybe you can pick up some extra hours at work or find a side gig.

Budget Tool Advantages

If you’ve never used Google Sheets or any of the Google office tools, they are very similar to Microsoft’s Office suite with one major difference: you can collaborate with other people. This means you can work on the document or spreadsheet at the same time that someone else is accessing it (all over the internet) and working on it. You can see the other person’s cursor and see what changes they are making real time. This feature isn’t necessarily important for this budgeting tool except that you could potentially collaborate with someone else who is using the same budget you are.

Another advantage of using a tool like this is that it helps you keep track of exactly when you have money coming in and going out. While some bills have variable due dates, many are predictable and that helps you figure out which paychecks you’ll be using to cover them.

Tools like this one also help eliminate unnecessary expenses. If you track all your spending, you will be able to see when the budget for that category has run out and you don’t have anymore money available to use that month for that category. That will mean you either have to borrow from a more optional category like Entertainment to help pay for something necessary like Groceries, or you’ll have to be done buying in that category if it’s already optional, like Gifts.

Soon you’ll be better at seeing the whole month at a time, and hopefully that will mean that you won’t run out in certain categories. If you aren’t sure what a good first number to estimate for one category might be, try tracking your spending for a month and categorizing your purchases based on the categories you choose for this tool. Then you’ll have good working numbers to plug in when you make your first month’s budget.

Here’s to A Better Budgeted 2023

Now that you know how to access one of the simplest free budgeting tools on the internet, and all the advantages it offers, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

Be sure to follow us on socials and check out these other free tools and resources we’ve created for adventurous moms and busy professional women:

Free Template for Tracking Income for Your Home Business

Making Money Without Direct Sales or Etsy: The Ultimate List of Unheard-Of Work-From-Home Ideas

Goal Setting: My Favorite Printables for the Realistically Challenged

How to Write a Letter When You’re Asking for a Favor

Finding the Right Book for Your Kids (This is a tool to help you find books with characters who share a name with your child)

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.

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