There are web-based, software-based, and paper-based budgeting tools to help individuals create personal and business budgets. The variety of budgeting tools available includes a budgeting spreadsheet, budgeting worksheet, and budgeting software that are free, low-cost, or expensive. Some tools are designed for personal use only, such as to keep track of living expenses and plan for family emergencies. Other tools are designed for small business owners who want to plan for routine business expenses as well as capital expenditures. Individuals can also create their own tools or customize existing tools to better meet their needs.
A budgeting spreadsheet is one that an individual can create using a program such as Microsoft Excel. There are also companies that sell or give away spreadsheet templates, and the user often has to enter in financial data and customize the spreadsheet by adding or deleting expense and income categories. Spreadsheets can sometimes be one of the more difficult budgeting tools for individuals to create on their own. Users must know how to set up formulas in order for the spreadsheet to perform calculations such as totaling expenses. It’s also important for individuals to know how to make the formulas relate to one another so that when changes are made the spreadsheet is able to still function as before.
A budgeting worksheet is often one of the easiest budgeting tools that individuals can use to work on a budget. The purpose of the sheet is to collect data that individuals can then use to create or modify their budgets. The worksheet often itemizes all categories related to money management, including income, expenses, and debt. It often includes blank spaces to type in additional budget items not listed, which can be written in or typed using a word processor. Some software applications also include a budgeting worksheet that users can complete directly in the program and print as needed.
Individuals who want to create and maintain a more complex budget often use budgeting software. For example, business budgeting software may allow users to create multiple budgets and provide comparative budget amounts based on industry statistics. The same is often true for personal budgeting software, which often includes other beneficial functions and software features for users. For example, budgeting software often has a reports feature that allows users to generate charts and reports, such as an expense report per quarter. Some software also includes expert budgeting tips and advice.