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I’m a storyteller.

But not in the usual sense. I tell my stories through data.

In order to tell better stories, it requires better data. My full-time job involves tracking and analyzing data in order to make key decisions for the company. It’s not just about better and more accurate data, but also about better organized data. Poorly organized data tells a poor story, leaving the valuable insights hidden.

For example, if you were to write down all your purchases on sticky notes, how useful would that data be? How easy would it be to see how much you spent in a month? Or how much you spent on groceries in the year? It’s doable, but certainly not efficient.

I’ve previously shown a very easy way to track expenses. I used this method for years. Until it dawned on me — this data was not easy to manipulate. I didn’t know the current balance on any account at any given moment. My net worth still had to be calculated manually. It was tedious to compare spending or income month over month. For all these reasons, I decided to completely revamp my method. I decided to think about my personal finances with a business mentality and create the ultimate personal finance spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is like your own personal Quickbooks.

For the past year, I’ve continuously tested and improved this spreadsheet to where it provides the greatest amount of information with the least amount of work. I’ve done all the hard work to build it. In this one single spreadsheet, you have everything you need to not only take control of your personal finances — but to master them. To top it off – I’m giving this spreadsheet away completely FREE!

only budget spreadsheet you'll ever need


Here is everything that’s included:

1. Monthly Budget

A monthly budget lists all your expected incomes and likely expenses. It’s a plan for all your spending so that you can be intentional about where your money goes. In order to get the most out of your budget, it should be designed so you fully understand the impact of your budget items on your net worth. Most budgets never factor that into the equation. With my budget template, you are fully aware of your net income and net cash flow, which is the whole purpose of the budget in the first place.

Monthly Budget Template

2. General Ledger

This is the most used tab on the spreadsheet. It’s where you enter every single financial transaction as if you were a business. Every income, purchase, debt payment, withdrawal, transfer, asset appreciation, reimbursement, and anything else.

It sounds like a lot but once you’re all set up and understand the accounting basics involved, all you need is 5 minutes per day. That’s it. Five minutes per day to enter each transaction in the past 24 hours. That way everything is fresh in your mind. It’s like doing the dishes. The sooner you clean the easier it is. I’ve designed this spreadsheet purposely to minimize the time needed to keep everything up-to-date. Entering all the transactions is absolutely critical because the data from this tab drives the information and reports on the other tabs.

Personal Finance General Ledger


3. Trial Balance

The Trial Balance lists the balance for each General Ledger account. This allows you to easily see the current balance on any asset or liability or the amount of revenue or expenses incurred.

It has a built-in date functionality, so you can also see the change in balance during any period of time instead of only seeing the current balance. The Trial Balance helps to ensure that all the entries in the General Ledger have been recorded correctly by clearly showing whether total debits equal total credits.

Personal Trial Balance

4. Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet is similar to the Trial Balance, but the major difference is that it only lists the balances for Asset and Liability accounts. It does not show any Revenue or Expense accounts. This gives you a snapshot of your net worth (Total Assets minus Total Liabilities) at any given point in time. The Balance Sheet is completely automated after you set up all your accounts, so you always know your current net worth.Personal Balance Sheet


5. Net Worth Tracker

The Net Worth Tracker, or Equity Curve, is similar to your Balance Sheet. Instead of showing a snapshot of net worth at a single point in time, it shows your net worth OVER time. I have it pre-built to update at the 15th and last day of each month, but you can determine your own periodic intervals if you prefer. I would recommend at least always updating your net worth at the conclusion of each month to see the total impact of your financial decisions in the past month.

By tracking your net worth over time, you can see which way it is trending. The trend is even more significant than the absolute amount because it tells you whether your lifestyle is sustainable. In the end, you’re left with a single chart that tells the big picture story of your financial life. It’s your financial scoreboard — the most important metric in personal finance.

Net Worth Tracker

6. Budget Tracker

More important than setting a budget is knowing whether or not you’re actually sticking to it. The budget tracker gives you an easy, clear way to see exactly how much money you’ve spent in each category compared to how much you budgeted. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how much you can spend on groceries while you’re IN the grocery store? By utilizing Google Sheets vs Excel for your finances, you can access the spreadsheet anywhere on your phone with the Google Sheets app.

The Budget Tracker breaks down the detail of your performance for the month. It also lets you see the impact of your spending on your monthly net income and cash flow. At the end of each month, you can assess and adjust your budget as necessary. Sometimes budgets need to be raised. Other times lowered. Situations change. As do habits. The important thing is having a plan that will help you reach your goals.

Monthly Budget Tracker

7. Net Income / Net Cash Flow Summary

This tab gives a summary of your Net Income and Net Cash Flow for each month. It’s the high-level data from the Budget Tracker, but includes every month’s summary instead of the nitty gritty detail of a single month.

Monthly Net Income Cash Flow Summary


8. Bill Tracker

My easy-to-use bill tracker is a simple way to organize all your bills in one location so you never miss a payment. It’s a monthly rolling list where you build in a little cushion period for scheduling, giving you a system to track all your bills that keeps your mind at ease.

Easy Bill Tracker System

9. Credit Score Tracker

Today there are lots of different options to obtain your credit scores for free. You should not be paying for a service because it’s, quite frankly, a waste of money. Besides options such as Credit Karma or Mint, most banks now offer monthly credit scores to their customers and now banks such as Discover and Capital One have even started offering it to anyone for free – not just customers. This is a simple way to track all your credit scores, so you know your expected range and which way it’s trending.

 FICO Credit Score Tracker

Bottom Line

As you can see, this budget spreadsheet has a lot of information. But it doesn’t require a significant amount of maintenance. Once you’re up to speed on how it all works, it only takes 5 minutes of finances per day to maintain. I usually do it in the evening before bed where I simply enter the transactions for the day. Since I use credit cards to pay for everything and maximize points, I don’t even have to remember the transactions. My credit card and bank accounts list them for me. I just copy them over so all the data is in one organized location that can be manipulated into all the various financial reports.

This is literally the only spreadsheet I use for personal finances. I’m confident it’s the only spreadsheet you’ll ever need for yours. In fact, it would even work for a small business as it was designed to think of yourself as a small business. I consider it the “One Spreadsheet to Rule Them All” and you can get the entire spreadsheet completely free when you subscribe.

It includes detailed notes to guide you along the way. Plus I’m here to help you with any and all questions to get you up and running. I challenge you to track every penny for 30 days. What story would your data tell?

Get Your Free Budget Spreadsheet Now!

52 thoughts on “The Only Budget Spreadsheet You Will Ever Need (For Free!)

    1. Hi! Thanks for checking the budget spreadsheet out!

      That is the master template for everyone, which is why it’s comment only.

      In order to create your own file to edit with your personal budget information, you can easily make a copy by going to the FILE drop-down menu and selecting “Make a Copy”.

      If you have any other questions, let me know!

  1. Thank you very much for this spreadsheet. It’s already helped me understand my finances.

    I’m not sure how to edit a lot of it however. A lot of the sections seem to apply to one person only, and then others apply to both members of a couple. It’s not clear which sheets are linked. Do the general ledger and thus other linked pages work if only one of the two people is keen to record how much they spent on sandwiches? (My wife is happy to talk about her insurance payments – she’s not happy justifying the $9.72 spent on a magazine to a spreadsheet.)

    It’s also hard to understand the language in the general ledger. The monthly budget makes sense, but the ‘credit’ and ‘debit’ columns are unintelligible for this layperson. How can something be cash, equity, debit (something that counts against your wealth), and credit (something that counts towards your wealth) – all at the same time?

    1. Hi George. Thanks for checking out the spreadsheet! Yes there is a lot going on in the spreadsheet. In case you didn’t notice, all the cells with a black triangle in the upper right hand corner are notes I’ve left to help explain how the spreadsheet works.

      The mindset behind this spreadsheet is to think of yourself as a business. That business could be 1 person (just you), 2 people (you and your spouse), or say 5 people (you, your spouse, and 3 children). In terms of the financials, everything works exactly the same. The Combined column on the Budget tab is the one that is linked, so it’s up to you whether you want to break it down to the individual person level or not.

      My wife gave me lots of resistance in the beginning to all the tracking. Eventually she tolerated it. Now she’s starting to buy in. One thing that we’ve done that helped a lot is created a “Fun Money” account where she has a monthly budget. She can spend the money on whatever she wants and I can’t say anything as long as she stays in budget.

      The General Ledger uses the double-entry accounting method, which means every transaction results in both a debit and a credit of equal amount. For example, if you bought $50 in groceries with cash, you would debit a Groceries or Food account (increasing an expense) and credit Cash (decreasing an asset). For an overview of accounting principles and the double-entry method, Accounting Coach is a fantastic and free resource.

  2. I really think this is going to help me get on top of my finances. But I’m having a tough time figuring out where to start with filling in my relevant info. Which page do I start with to set it up properly?

    1. Hi Allen. Thanks for checking out the spreadsheet! Here are the key steps to get you up and running:

      1) List all the accounts that are relevant to you in the Trial Balance (Assets, Liabilities, Revenues, & Expenses)

      2) Copy all these account names EXACTLY onto the Balance Sheet and Net Worth tabs

      3) Copy all the Expense accounts EXACTLY onto the Budget tab

      4) Set your budget levels (Income, Expenses, Debt Payments)

      5) Delete sample data in the General Ledger tab and enter your starting balances (for Assets and Liabilities)

      6) Start recording all your transactions in the General Ledger!

      Also, the Bill Tracker and Fico Score Tracker can be set up at any point. Once you’ve got data to analyze, then you’ll have to update the dates on the Monthly Budget Tracker and Net Income tabs.

      Hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions!

      1. Aloha e Budget Boy!
        Something that is not clear to me is starting balance of Credit Cards with outstanding balances. Do I start, for example, with overall avail credit of card: 500.00/Equity/credit card/starting balance;
        how much credit available on card is “271.90/Equity/credit card/starting balance”?

  3. I’m seeing pre-filled formulas in the column D cells where dollar figures reside. When I change the dollar entry the formulas disappear. I’m suspicious that the spreadsheet is flawed or corrupted. Can we perhaps have a short conversation about how I’m suppose to populate the spreadsheet? Thank you.

  4. I’ve subscribed in the dialog above but have received no link to your wonderful spreadsheet. May I also have a link please? (Sorry, it’s this budget spreadsheet I’m after).

    Thank you!

  5. Hi Budget Boy!
    I know you posted this spreadshet some time ago, but I’ve just found it and I could do with some help please. I have say this is brilliant!! Just what I was looking for and I want to adopt it. I need to get a grip on what I spend vs save and recently I’ve attempted to create my own budgeting spread sheet which doesn’t work too well to be honest. I reckon my finances are quite complex and so I decided I probably need to run my life like a business, which is how I stumbled across your blog.
    Anyway, please could you explain what the purpose of column I, J and K are on the general ledger are please? Is this just a key that you manually check, to show typical payment types and which accounts to debit vs credit? Is this data referenced in some formulas somewhere or just there as a guide when you make entries?
    Also, whilst I get that the Trail Balance sheet, Balance sheet and Net Worth sheets all pull data in from the General Ledger, the formulas you’ve used are just just massive and I’d like a bit of narrative please to explain what they are doing please. Many thanks!

  6. I am an independent so this workbook is great for me. I am a realtor. My income varies each month and I would like to track income and expenses by property address or by settlements. Is this possible on the spreadsheet?

  7. I signed up but didn’t get the spreadsheet. Would you please send it to me? It looks great and I want to use it. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Hello,
    I’ve been using the budget sheet since October 2019 and have mastered almost everything except the monthly budget tracker. I can’t seem to get the correct numbers to pull in from other areas of the sheet. Would you mind helping me out with this? Thanks!

  9. Hi – I subscribed, and have not received the spreadsheet yet. Looking forward to utilizing it!


  10. Hello, I’m excited to get started with this but haven’t received the spreadsheet. How long does it take to get it? It said it was on it’s way after subscribing. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

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