Budget app vs. budget spreadsheet. Which is best for you?

Managing money with a budget is a great way to make sure you’re living within your means and meeting your financial goals. But there are a plethora of ways you can build a budget nowadays, and that makes it tricky to know which method you should go with. 

If you’re considering making a budget but are unsure whether a spreadsheet or a modern budget app is for you, we’ve got you covered. 

Here are some advantages of both options to help you make the choice that’s best for you.

Budgeting with a spreadsheet

They’re infinitely customizable

Spreadsheets are blank canvases. That means you can customize them to work exactly the way you want. This is contingent on your being savvy with spreadsheets, of course. But if you are, then budgeting with one means you’ll have something that fits your needs exactly. You’ll be able to track the metrics that are important to you without having to squeeze yourself into any predetermined limits. 

Not going anywhere

Okay, we can’t totally predict the future, but it’s safe to say that spreadsheets aren’t going away. They’re used by everyone, everywhere, from accountants at major businesses to college students working on class projects. So you can count on your spreadsheet being accessible for years to come. 

They’re free

Many folks have programs, like Excel or Numbers, already installed on their computers. Even if you don’t, there are free alternatives like Google Sheets that you can use to build a budget at no cost to you. (Well, time is money, so there’s that.)

Think a spreadsheet is the option for you? Here’s how you can build a budget with a spreadsheet.

Budgeting with an app

Quicker set up

Unlike a spreadsheet, where you have to build your budget from the ground up, apps often provide you with a framework or outline to start building that budget. If you’re hoping to start budgeting like yesterday, then budgeting with an app offers the advantage of being faster to get up and running. 

Plus, that means they’re great for budgeting newbies who might not have a clear idea of where to start. 

Great for life on the go

Apps offer the convenience of being on your phone, so your budget is with you no matter where you go. That gives you the ability to budget wherever you are. On vacation? At work? No problem. Your budget’s with you too. (Yes, it is possible to view a spreadsheet on a smartphone, but do you really want to look at a giant spreadsheet on a tiny screen?)

So if you’re frequently on the run, and need a budget that can keep up with you, consider an app. 

Preset reports to help you analyze spending

Most people aren’t Excel whizzes. That means having a budgeting system that has preset reporting capabilities is a must. 

Reports allow you to analyze your budget for deeper insights into your spending. They help you see where you’re spending too much (or too little) so you can make a budget that actually works for you for the long haul. 

That’s where Goodbudget comes in

If you’re convinced an app’s the way to go, give Goodbudget a try! Here’s why.

Goodbudget is a budget tracker that’s built for life on the go. Because it can be shared across multiple devices (and the web), it’s easy to share with your budgeting partner(s) so you can stay on the same page with your finances. Customize your Envelopes and Accounts so you’re tracking the things that are important to you, and build a budget you can actually stick with.

With both a Free Plan and Premium plan, Goodbudget’s a time-tested solution that’s been helping folks create and manage budgets for more than 10 years. Join the millions of people who’ve tried it!

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