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How Do I Choose the Best Budgeting Worksheets?

Budgeting spreadsheets can help organize information more efficiently to help highlight trends in income, spending, etc.
Article Details
  • Written By: John Allen
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the best budgeting worksheets generally depends on two basic factors: your personal budgeting style, and the purpose of your budget. You may be a detailed, highly-organized budgeteer that likes to plan how every dollar is spent, or you may have a looser style that allows for more play in your budget. You may be planning for a specific event, such as a wedding or a trip, or you may be making long-term plans, such as getting out of debt or planning for your retirement. There are many budgeting worksheets to choose from that will match your needs. The best ones will sync with your personality and goals, providing you with the right mixture of detail, customization, and formatting.

You should be aware of the amount of detail you want from your budgeting worksheets. Budgeting tools range from those that describe each and every expenditure to those that outline only the major transactions. You may find that long lists of categories and sub-categories help you plan better, or you may find that exhaustive lists overwhelm you and keep you from making the plans that will help you reach your goals. Either way, you need to find the budgeting worksheets that have a level of detail suitable to your style and purpose.

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Another thing to be aware of is the amount of customization you will be applying to your budgeting worksheets. If your goals fall within the typical categories of making a budget — mortgage, food, entertainment, et al. — then you may not need a lot of customization. On the other hand, if you find that you often add items to the default lists that come with your budgeting worksheets, you will probably prefer those that allow a lot of customization.

The format of your budgeting worksheets can be broken down into two categories: readability and type. You should choose budgeting worksheets that make sense to you. They should be arranged in such a way that you can easily identify and find the information that you need. Some items to consider are layout, color coding, tables and graphs, and font size and type. The best budgeting worksheets will make it easy for you to organize your budgeting information. Also, there are many budgeting worksheets available for specific purposes such as weddings, travel, and retirement planning. Choosing this kind of budgeting worksheet may save you time and hassle as you will not have to adapt a generalized worksheet to your specific goal.

Finally, you should consider the actual type of budgeting worksheets. Some people prefer to create their budgets on paper while others prefer an electronic format. If you're going the electronic way, there are many document types to choose from, such as those created using spreadsheets or word-processing programs. Another factor to consider is whether you will be viewing and editing your budgeting worksheets from a hand-held computing device such as a mobile phone. If you are, you'll want to make sure the budgeting software you pick has a mobile-friendly version.

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