5 Top Budget Tips + Free Budget Planner Template Printable!

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Looking for an Excel Budget Planner or budget planner template printable? 

I know you’ll agree with me when I say that today’s finances can get complicated!

Between kids, careers, commuting, expenses going up and wages being stagnant, it can be tough to get ahead!

There is a better way! You don’t have to just spend until you run out and hope nothing bad happens before the next payday. You also don’t have to just reach for the credit card when the paychecks run out.

The key is having a plan. That plan is your budget.

A budget doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming and it’s not something you need to buy.

In this post, I’ll walk you through my best basic budget worksheet tips and I’ll share my very own budget planner template printable that you can download for free.

budget planner template printable Middle Class Dad hand holding a paper airplane made of a dollar bill about to throw it to a target on the wall

If you use an Excel budget planner or basic budget worksheet each month, I can almost guarantee the following:

  1. You will find extra money you didn’t know you had
  2. Your family will quickly identify where you are over-spending
  3. You will get control of your money instead of your habits and lack of discipline controlling it

You see a monthly household budget template is simply a road-map.  What happens when we are driving in unfamiliar territory without GPS or a road-map?

Sure we might find our destination.  But you stand a greater chance of getting lost!  Or best case scenario, you find a less efficient route and arrive at your destination somewhat by accident.

So download your FREE budget planner template printable today!

A basic budget worksheet doesn’t have to be complicated!

And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  There’s also more than one way to do a monthly budget.

Some folks like the online ease of a free tool from Dave Ramsey called EveryDollar.  Others prefer the good ‘ole pad of paper and a pencil.  Perhaps there’s even someone out there who still balances a checkbook.

Whether you use an Excel budget planner or download my Budget Planner Template Printable, the one that works for you is the RIGHT ONE!

budget planner template printable Middle Class Dad calculator on a financial report with a pen laying next to it

Download your free basic budget worksheet!

A budget isn’t something most of us were taught at school or by our parents. In fact we’re told to just get credit cards and keep spending no matter what your income or expenses are.

In truth, the most important thing is doing one each and every month. The tool or method you use is not very important. It’s also crucial that both spouses agree on it.

Personally, I prefer and use a customized Excel budget planner template printable.  My family and I have been doing that about 7 years now

I have a copy of my Excel budget planner template printable available at no charge – a key step in your household budget!

It’s a simple, highly customizable, basic budget worksheet and you can download it quickly and easily FOR FREE!

budget planner template printable Middle Class Dad free budget spreadsheet banner

I also have a couple of previous blog post that can help you. One is about why you need Multiple Bank Accounts.

Another is about living Paycheck to Paycheck.  If your family is struggling with your finances, I highly recommend reading those too; or check out all my personal finance tips under the Money Tips tab at the top of the site.

The proven power of dividing your paycheck the right way

While everyone’s situation is a little different, this is how I break up my paychecks each month.

Ensuring your hard earned dollars are going to the right places is the first step in once you download your budget planner template printable.
budget planner template printable Middle Class Dad how to divide up your paycheck infographic

So what are my . . .

5 Top Excel Budget Planner Tips for your budget planner template printable?


List out all your known expenses; mortgage/rent, utilities, grocery money, etc.

Then put them from top to bottom in order of importance.  Guess what?  Mortgage and car insurance tops getting coffee at Starbucks every day.

Doing this should give you a very clear idea of your spending habits.

Seeing these numbers on paper (especially BOTH spouses/partners) transforms you.  Most households have 1 person who does the bills and often the other is very out of touch.  When we get out of touch with money it becomes VERY hard to win at the money game.

Thus the household budget becomes your new best friend in terms of letting you both truly see where your hard earned cash is going!  This leads us to our next tip.


Once you see where all your money is going, it should be easy to identify places to cut.

A family of 4 making $50k/year and you’re spending $80 to $100 or more per month on cable TV?  Bye, Bye HBO.  That’s just not realistic for that family (been there, done that).

You know what is a MUCH better option?  Get the top-rated digital antenna from Amazon for under 30 bucks, or get a Roku stick and stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, and other similar channels. Don’t have Amazon Prime? It’s got tons of channels, movies, and TV shows.

Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days! You’ll also get their famous free 2-day shipping on all qualified purchases.

But there’s probably even more you can cut!

Make sure you’re not paying for double insurance coverage (ie: you have health insurance but also have the medical option on auto – but check with an expert before making changes like that!  After all; I don’t know you or your situation at all).

You can also create a line just for eating out and that way, when you’ve hit your agreed upon limit; you’re done until the next pay period.


You and your spouse need to agree on how the household budget is set up, but once you agree on an amount you each get per week, that’s where the freedom comes in.

Basically, I’m talking about paying each of you a weekly allowance.

Decide on an amount and both agree to it; that’s how much each of you get each week for personal spending.

One spouse can’t give up daily Starbucks or smoking?

That comes out of their money and the other shouldn’t criticize how it gets spent.

But once it’s spent, that’s it until next time.  If you want to have a discussion about smoking, have that discussion, but it has no place in a monthly household budget meeting.


You know what happens when we have a large amount of cash laying around?

That’s right!  We spend it!

Thus, while it’s OK to end the month with a few bucks left over as a cushion (you’ll start the next month with it anyway), you want to make sure that no large amounts of money are just sitting there without an assignment.

If you have too much cash and not enough expenses, that’s great!

But are you saving for kid’s collegeRetirement? Summer vacations, Christmas spending?  If you aren’t then you should be and that’s where that extra money should go.

Still have money left over in your household budget?

That’s a great time to find a tax-deductible charity to donate to. Still money left over?  Sounds like a great time to pay extra principal on your mortgage payment.  Or (if you don’t own your home) start saving for a home purchase.

Speaking of Christmas spending.  That is something you should be doing all year so you aren’t strapped, freaked out or reaching for the credit cards every November.  Check out my previous post on that subject How to Save for Christmas Spending.


Auto repairs, new tires, annual auto registration, oil changes.

These and a number of other things are great examples of expenses that we know are coming that aren’t monthly.

Thus you need to have a system to organize and plan for these expenses so they don’t sneak up on us.  I don’t want you driving on bald tires, but I also don’t want you reaching for the credit card simply due to poor planning.

My preferred system is using a web-based organizer (also available as an app) called GQueues.

This program is an on-line to do list.  It even connects with my Google calendar, sends me reminders and much more.

Using GQueues I set up folders for each calendar month.

Then within the appropriate month, I put reminders of upcoming expenses (allowing at least 2 weeks or more lead time).

You can also set tasks to be recurring, so things like annual auto registration automatically pop up at the same time every year.

But whatever system you prefer, you have to have something to help you remember to budget for these things as they come up.

Another method that could work would be to annualize the cost of all these things (how much you think you’ll spend in the next 12 months) and then simply divide that number by 12 and put that amount in savings each month.  Then you’ll simply transfer that money into checking as needed.

Going that route works best if you don’t have any of those coming up in the immediate future since you’ll need a little time to build it up.

Dave Ramsey is the man my family personally followed in both getting out of debt and also getting our household budget and finances in order.  He’s a wealth of knowledge and entertaining to boot!

Want to really get knowledgeable about personal finance?  Listen to Dave!

I hope you like my budget planner template printable!

In this post, I walked you through my best budget Excel budget planner tips and I shared my very own budget planner template printable that you can download for free.

We looked at the best strategies for getting started on a budget and sticking to it. We also looked at some common stumbling blocks that prevent people from continuing on their budget.

Can you say what hasn’t worked for you and why? Have you tried other basic budget worksheets and found them to be difficult to use?

What is holding you back from budgeting?

budget planner template printable Middle Class Dad Jeff Campbell bio

Photo credits (that aren’t mine):
Budget chalkboard – http://www.investmentzen.com/image-gallery
Money dart – http://www.investmentzen.com/image-gallery
While I have years of successful financial & budgeting experience and run several million dollar businesses and handled the accounting, P&L and been responsible for the financial assets of them, I am not an accountant or CPA. Like all my posts, my posts are my opinons based on my own experience, observations, research and mistakes. While I believe all my personal finance posts to be thorough, accurate and well-researched, if you need financial advice, you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

4 thoughts on “5 Top Budget Tips + Free Budget Planner Template Printable!

  1. Good call on the irregular expenses. When we started using several savings accounts to manage our money and saved for irregular expenses like our power bill, car insurance etc… that’s when things really took off for us.

    1. Thanks Mike! Yes, it took me a while to get a handle on those as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it.


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