Best family budgeting tools – including apps, worksheets, and trackers – to help you stay on the same page about money.
Family budgeting is a bit different from trying to budget on your own or as a couple – there’s a lot of moving parts (and personalities) to juggle.
Which is why I’m dishing on my favorite family budgeting tools to help you get a handle on your family’s money.
You’ll find tools to help you navigate:
- Managing money when there is more than one person spending it
- Managing your (kid)dos' allowance/chore system
- Staying on top of family expenses
- Paying down shared debt
- Saving up for family savings goals
- Looking at a total view of your family budget – spending, saving, increasing costs, etc.
Ready to whip that family budget of yours into shape with some free family budgeting tools?
Family Budgeting Tools
Use these family budgeting tools to create your own budget system – one where everyone is on the same page about where things are, and that supports you guys working on your family money goals as a team.
Don’t be afraid to try a few out, then tweak and change things up as necessary. Just get started – that’s how you’ll get better and better at this.
Psst: you can read more about budget systems and all the personal budgeting methods.
Family Budgeting Rules to Establish
These may not seem like the logical place to start when listing out family budget tools.
But trust me, you don't want to skip this step.
Since there are multiple people in charge of deciding how your money pot gets spent – meaning, multiple points of view on how the money should be used – you’ll want to take some time to establish some family money rules.
Think of these as money guardrails that will help each party involved make better collective decisions about how to use the family’s money.
Hint: these will help bond you as a family, too! Score.
1. Family Money Values
How do you decide what’s more important to spend money on (besides needs) over something else?
How do you decide how much your family will donate to charity, or tithe to a church?
Do you pay off your debt with gazelle-intensity, or just pay the minimums each month while socking the rest away to savings?
Help steer your family money decision-making by taking the time to set up family money values.
2. Money Percentages
How much of your money do you think you should spend? How much of it should you save? And what about investing and donating/tithing?
These are really important questions for several reasons. First of all, they help each person and each family prioritize their money according to what they find important in life.
Also, they create some super-helpful guardrails to check your money use up against at the end of the month, quarter, or year.
One example is the 50/30/20 Budget Rule.
What is the 50 20 30 budget rule?
It’s a percentage money rule established by Senator Elizabeth Warren for how to use any money that comes into your lives. With this rule, 50% of your after-tax money (what you bring home in your paychecks) gets used to spend on needs, 30% gets used towards wants, and 20% gets saved.
What do your current money percentages look like, and what do you WANT them to look like?
3. Family Spending Threshold
How much does each person in your family get to spend without permission? This includes spouses AND kids.
For example, can one of the adults spend $200 without telling the other? How about just $50? Or $1,000?
And your kids – are they allowed to empty out their piggy banks, or use their debit card to spend $100 at a time without letting you know?
It’s important to establish a family spending threshold (this can be different amounts for the adults than for the kids) – an amount that triggers when someone in the family needs to get permission to spend.
Next up, let’s look at some helpful budgeting worksheets to establish your baseline family budget.
Couple’s Budgeting Worksheets
You'll want to set up your overall family budget.
I suggest using a good ol’ pen and paper to do this (with the help of one of these cute printable budget worksheets, of course), and then translating that budget onto an app (more on that in a sec).
Here’s a few of my favorites for families:
- Moritz Fine Design’s Zero-Based Budgeting Worksheet
- MomsMakeCents’s Budget Sheets
- Printable Crush’s Budget Sheets
Hint: if you want to track everything by paper – that’s cool with this paper-lovin’ gal. Just remember to print out two spending trackers from the resources below so that each of you can record your spending throughout the week. You can combine at the end of the week or month onto one big sheet, or just update your original budget worksheet using what you recorded throughout the budgeting cycle.
Couple’s Budgeting Apps
Spoiler alert: in family budgeting, there’s more than one person using the money.
Well, one way is through a couple's budgeting app. These are not JUST for couples, but also for couples who have kids.
Psst: we’ll get to the kid and teen money management apps next, so hold tight.
You can check out my best couple’s budgeting apps, here.
Here’s the quick list of my two favorites:
- Zeta: Best free couple’s budgeting app.
- Qube: Do you guys do cash envelopes? This is the best couple’s digital cash envelope budgeting app.
Kid and Teen Money Management Apps
You’ve got kids, and maybe they’re even teens already.
How can you manage the money that you give them, plus help them to manage their own money?
I’ve got some resources for you to check out:
- How to Keep Track of My Kid’s Money: These are paper, excel, and app tools to help you keep track of your kid’s money.
- Best Allowance and Chore Apps for Kids: Do you give an allowance, or have your kids earn chore commission? These apps are dedicated to making that process a heck of a lot easier to manage. You can go even deeper by looking at differences between these apps, such as Greenlight vs. BusyKid, and Greenlight vs. FamZoo.
Family Money Goal Trackers
Finally, let’s talk money goal trackers (haven’t set any goals yet? Check out these 3 financial goal worksheets for couples to get your brain juices working on this).
Setting up family money goals are fun and helpful – they can even help bond everyone together.
But how will you track your progress?
Here are some great tools for families to track their big money goals.
Are you planning a fun vacation for your next family goal? Print out one of these free sheets and stick it in a location where everyone can track progress.
It’ll get everyone excited (or, at least motivated to help with the process).
Most families (if not all) have big semi-annual bills to deal with. Like six-month auto insurance policies to pay, and summer camp fees, and school tuition, and car repairs, and, and, and.
It can be really helpful to not only look ahead throughout the year for when these big bills are due, but to also set up “sinking funds” – a place to put aside money bit-by-bit – to save up enough to pay them.
Print out all the free sinking funds trackers you need to make this happen.
One important part of family budgeting is ensuring you’ve got money set aside for emergencies.
First, calculate how much you need in an emergency fund (here are emergency fund example amounts to help). Then, look at how much you’ve got. Subtract the two, and this becomes your gap and savings target.
Use one of these free printable emergency fund trackers to fully fund your emergency fund over the coming months.
Christmas and the end of the year can get expensive. Amiright?
There’s gift-giving. There’s parties you’re hosting, and parties you’re bringing something to. There’s shipping, there’s Christmas Eve boxes, Christmas Eve pajamas…and it just keeps going.
That’s why it’s helpful to save up for Christmas all year long.
Track your savings for Christmas with one of these
You can help everyone track their spending by filling these free printable cash envelopes with exactly what they can spend, per category. Talk about accountability!
Remember that the best family budgeting tools? Are the ones that don’t sit on the kitchen counter collecting dust, or the ones that don't take 4 swipes past your home screen to get to on your iPhone. In other words, they're the ones you actually use. Pick one or two to try, see how they fit into your life, and then go from there. Just take action!
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