3 Different Formats for Budgeting Spreadsheets

If you are looking into budgeting spreadsheets, you will quickly realize there are plenty of options with seemingly little difference between them. First, it is a good idea to download a spreadsheet option from the Internet that already includes formulas, since this will save you time in entering the formulas yourself. You are on the right track if you have taken this step. However, electing the right spreadsheet for your situation is important. The right spreadsheet keeps your financial goals in mind, creating a budget that helps you plan for the items that matter to you.

Tax Budgeting

A tax budgeting spreadsheet is basically a version of an IRS form. This is best used for independent contractors, individuals who work for themselves or freelancers. This type of spreadsheet will track your earnings, expenditures and any taxes you have paid thus far. You can track your information on this type of spreadsheet in as little as 10 minutes a week. This is a great option if you are most concerned with saving for your year-end tax payment. However, this spreadsheet will not help you account for day-to-day expenses.

Zero Budgeting

Zero budgeting is a form of tracking your income and expenses so they are equal in a given period of time. Basically, the goal is as the name implies: to zero out your budget at the end of each week or month. If you have dollars left over, these dollars will be allocated into a savings account or retirement fund. However, over time, the budgeting sheet will help you get to a point where there is no money left over at all by raising your savings contributions to a point where you have accounted for every single dollar. Zero budgeting is best for a person with a very consistent income and expense routine who does not face many unexpected expenses. 

Long-Term Planning

Long-term planning budgets help you reach a given goal at a certain point in the future. For example, your goal may be to save for a 10 percent down payment on a new home, pay off your car loan or save for retirement. In any of these cases, you will know exactly how much money you have to put toward the end goal in order to achieve it. Starting with this goal and a time frame for achieving it, a long-term planning spreadsheet will balance your expenses and income in order to achieve your priority.

Necessity and Luxury Budgeting

You may not have long-term financial goals at the moment. Perhaps you are already retired or are currently a student. In this case, the only real goal is to stay out of debt. You can do this by budgeting for necessities and luxuries. Based on your income and your set monthly expenses, such as rent or utility bills, this spreadsheet tells you exactly how much money you have over for the more luxury items. This is a great tool for a person learning to budget for the very first time or a person who has already achieved long-term goals.