monthly budget template

Monthly Budget Template – Budgeting Made Easy

What is a budget plan?

Your budget plan (or spending plan) is the method you use to make sure that expenses do not exceed income, and that future commitments can be met. Although rarely “fun”, it is certainly satisfying when it becomes successful.

A good budget does not have to be about penny-pinching and saying “no” – it is about making good decisions about your present and future spending priorities, and then, making sure it works for you!

The success of your budget will be seen in having less stress, less guilt, and even improved relationships. You need to control the money, or it will control you.

Why use a budget planner?

Anything successful involves a plan, but sometimes the word “budget” turns people off.  Whatever word you choose, you do need to find or create a system of managing your resources and expenses that works for you.  A monthly budget plan is something that will benefit you long term, as you will be able to control your finances and spending. 

Even if there is very little “fun money” left at the end of the month, you have been on the “roller coaster” of pay-to-pay survival long enough! If you want to feel more in control, you need to plan ahead.

With the options presented here, we will show you various budget sheets and planners to take control of your monthly and yearly budget plan, AND help you find a way to personalize it.

Questions to ask yourself about what you want in a monthly budget planner

  1. When I make any successful plan, do I typically do better with paper and pen, or something more electronic?  Would I do better with a budget app for my phone, or a budget spreadsheet that will do the math for me?
  2. Am I more likely to use debit for daily spending, or cash, or a combination of both?
  3. Am I making my budget plan for just myself, or with a partner?
  4. Do I already have at least one of each chequing and savings account set up?
  5. What are my/our personal priorities – not those outside your household – this is your budget plan.

How can I include all 4 categories of budget planning on my budget template so that I have a zero-based budget? (ie. moved all the money to a specific spending or saving category).  

The four categories are:  

  1. plan for paying bills
  2. plan for daily spending
  3. savings for known annual expenses or irregular/seasonal income
  4. savings for emergencies

Which monthly budget template planner should I choose?

If you will be most successful with your budget as a list on paper and pen, try this Daily Spending Log budget sheet. It has bills and savings on one side, and your daily spending log on the other side. Instructions are on the document. Excel file available here.

If you plan your budget based on your regular payday and match up the bills and spending, and prefer a spreadsheet-style, try this Weekly Budget Planner budget sheet. It can help you break down your expenses and assign them to a payday or pay source. Instructions are found on the document.

Get a real average of income or expenses over 6 months so you can make your budget planner more realistic over time. Get off the roller coaster of seasonal, irregular, or commission-based income and plan your month and year better. Try this 6-Month Budget Tracker that you can add your real income and expenses each month and see the overall averages. Excel file available here.

All the forms above can be downloaded on our financial forms page.

If you use your mobile device successfully for banking, bill paying, and budget planning, check with your bank app for options, or a 3rd party app. Many banks now have a separate app for tracking spending and budget planning. 

  • RBC – NOMI
  • TD – My Spend
  • BMO – MoneyLogic
  • TANGERINE  – Left to Spend and MoneyRules
  • QUBER, Mint.com, etc
  • SpendingTracker, GoodBudget

If you use a calendar or notebook/list method, make sure your budget list includes all 4 categories of budget planning on your budget sheet – not just the bills due dates:

  1. plan for paying bills
  2. plan for daily spending
  3. savings for known annual expenses or irregular/seasonal income
  4. savings for emergencies

How can I be more successful with my spending plan?

Track your daily spending for 3-6 months to make sure your numbers on your budget sheet are realistic and accurate. Tweak, as needed.

Include a plan for entertainment/allowance type spending – set a limit and figure out how you will stick to that limit. Ideas for managing your “fun money” purchases might include pulling out cash, reloading a prepaid credit card or wallet system, writing it down, or labelling them consistently within your budget app.

Remember that part of being a grown-up is admitting that our life choices will determine where our money is committed each month. By the time you get your paycheque, most of the money is committed and you need to make sure your plan reflects that. You need to control the money, or it will control you.

Automate what is important. Make your budget plan easier to manage as you go – the less stress and guilt you have with your budget plan should mean you can “step back” and see your options and goals more clearly.

Review your spending plan periodically to ensure it is still a zero-based budget.  Include savings for known annual expenses and goals.

You can do it!  

All the best as you explore your best options for a budget template and spending plan.

About Author

Allan Marshall & Associates Inc.

Allan Marshall & Associates Inc. is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee firm with locations throughout the Maritime provinces. We are licensed by the Federal Government of Canada to administer bankruptcies, Consumer Proposals, receiverships and other insolvency services. We have the knowledge and experience to assess your situation and offer the best advice for your particular need, whether you are a first time bankrupt or simply struggling to make ends meet.