Review of the 50/30/20 Google Sheets Budget Template

Take control of your monthly finances with our user-friendly 50 30 20 Monthly Budget Planner and Spreadsheet in Google Sheets or Excel. This budget template simplifies expense planning by allocating 50% of your income to essential needs, 30% to discretionary spending, and 20% to savings or debt repayment.

Once you achieve this, perhaps with the help of an employer-sponsored retirement plan and other automatic monthly savings transfers, the remaining 80% – a significant portion – is up for grabs.

This leaves 50% for needs and 30% for wants, but these are figures you can adjust to fit your reality. For example, if you live in a pricey housing market, your monthly mortgage or rent payment may spill over a bit into your “wants” budget. Budgeting means bending but not breaking.

Utilize this straightforward budgeting tool to attain greater financial balance and cut unnecessary costs. Start budgeting effectively today and achieve peace of mind about your finances.


  • customise your categories
  • customise the 50/30/20 budget percentages
  • budget by paycheck
  • budget by week, biweekly or monthly
  • cash flow overview
  • transaction tracker
  • spending breakdown
  • left to budget graph
  • left to spend graph
  • categorise your needs, wants and future subcategories
  • add up to 50 subcategories for the needs, wants and future subcategories
  • checkboxes to mark off paid payments
  • budget vs actual graph
  • add a start balance
  • balance tracker

This Templates: 50 30 20 Monthly Budget Planner and Spreadsheet in Google Sheets

How to Use the 50/30/20 Budget Calculator

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your own 50/30/20 budget template:

  • Begin by listing your paycheck and Lyft budget, along with their respective amounts.
  • Below, add a category budget and title. List all the categories and expenses you expect during the month.
  • Optionally, you can add grid lines and incorporate some color to make your budget template visually appealing.
  • Next, select the “Type” column and navigate to “Data” > “Data Validation.” Choose “Add Rule” and create options for “Needs” and “Wants,” and “Savings.” You can also customize the colors to your preference.
  • To calculate how much you have left to budget, use a formula. Input the amounts for the different categories you’ve listed during the month and classify each as “Needs,” “Wants,” or “Savings.”
  • Once you’ve categorized your expenses, highlight the budget and type combination, and insert a chart.
  • Double-click on the chart to bring up the menu. Click “Aggregate” to combine “Needs,” “Wants,” and “Savings” into one, and customize the chart colors as desired.

What Does the 50/30/20 Budget Entail?

The 50/30/20 budget is a straightforward budgeting approach that serves as a great starting point for those initiating a budget or looking to regain control of their finances after a setback. It gained prominence through the work of former professor (and current U.S. senator) Elizabeth Warren and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, detailed in their book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.”

This budgeting method simplifies the budgeting process by dividing your income into three main categories: needs, wants, and savings. Working with just these three categories can be far less daunting than more intricate budgeting systems.

Essential expenses, which encompass those you “need” to pay and cannot avoid, should make up approximately 50% of your income. These necessary expenses include:

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Utilities
  • Health care
  • Basic groceries
  • Transportation costs
  • Child care costs

Discretionary costs, also referred to as “wants,” should take up about 30% of your income. This category of spending includes:

  • Dining out
  • Shopping
  • Entertainment
  • Travel and vacations

Savings and debt payments should account for 20% of your income. This category will focus on:

  • Paying down student loans
  • Growing your retirement savings
  • Paying down credit card debt
  • Building an emergency fund

Monthly Budget Illustration

Let’s consider an example of a monthly budget. Assume you receive approximately $1,200 twice a month, totaling $2,400 per month. Now, allocate this income following the 50-30-20 rule.

  • 50% of $2,400 equals $1,200.
  • 30% amounts to $720.
  • 20% adds up to $480.
  • If the 50% allocated for your needs doesn’t cover your living expenses, as is often the case, you may need to dip into your “wants” budget or even your savings, if necessary.

The key takeaway from this rule is its adaptability to your specific circumstances, encouraging you to set aside some savings each month. It also provides a visual breakdown of how your money is distributed, imposing a limit on discretionary spending that may or may not be essential.

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