A monthly budget form, also known as a monthly budget worksheet or household budget worksheet, is a planning tool used to weigh household income versus household expenses. The idea is that, by carefully budgeting expenses, individuals and families can create a surplus of income. Income surpluses in households can then be placed in savings accounts or used to pay off accrued debt.
The main features of monthly budget forms, widely available on the Internet in the form of spreadsheet and worksheet documents, are an income section and an expense section. Generally, the income section is straight-forward; it reflects how much take-home pay, after taxes and other paycheck deductions, is coming into the household. The expense section usually is broken down into different categories. These subsections can include loans and debt, utilities, insurance costs, savings and investments, and miscellaneous other costs. Loans and debt includes items like mortgages or rental housing payments, car loans, student loans, and credit card payments. Utilities are the various services a household pays for, such as electricity, heat, water, trash and cable and Internet service. Insurance costs run the gamut from life to auto, home or health insurance. Savings and investments, an elective category, is usually one of the last categories filled out after all the basic necessities of the household are met. Basic necessities tend to be in the final, miscellaneous category, including groceries, entertainment, fuel for automobiles and other out-of-pocket expenses.