The project budget is developed during the planning phase of a project. It’s a document that captures the total costs required to complete a project over a specified timeframe. The more accurate your forecast for project costs, the more likely you’ll be able to deliver a successful project and make a profit. To help you get started, we have 7 free budget templates that you can download right now.
7 Budgeting Templates for Business and Project Budgeting
Below are seven budget templates that you can use for estimating your project costs. There are some industry-specific budgeting templates, too, but all of them will help you forecast costs, which is the first step in running a tight budget and delivering a successful project.
ProjectManager is award-winning project management software, but our website is a hub for all things project-related. We publish weekly blogs on the topic, and have in-depth guides, tutorial videos and free project management templates for Excel and Word.
We’ve selected the ones that can help you with your budget, but there are free templates available for every phase of your project. Visit our template page and you’re sure to find something to help you plan, manage and track your project.
1. Budget Proposal Template
Before you can create a project or business budget, you have to get it approved. That means you’re going to need to write a budget proposal to pitch the idea to your executive team and stakeholders. This is a critical step as it will determine if the project is a go or if the powers that be choose to pass on it. This is why our free budget proposal template for Excel is so important.
A budget proposal is a document that estimates the cost of executing a potential project. It’s used to secure funding and, if the project is approved this document will be the foundation of your project budget. A budget proposal can be used for a future project, but that’s not all. They’re also great for a business budget, an upcoming campaign or any enterprise in which it’s critical to show the benefits are greater than the costs.
Our free budget proposal template is broken down into categories, such as salaries, materials, equipment, travel, communications and any miscellaneous items. But the template is fully customizable so you can add or subtract as you see fit for whatever budget you’re proposing. By estimating the costs of everything involved in the project, you’ll get an accurate forecast of your potential costs (though it helps to seek out experts who’ve been there and done that as well as historical data).
2. Project Budget Template
Once the budget proposal has been approved, it’s time to build a budget. This will take all the financial details that you gathered in your proposal, especially the cost estimates, and lay them out for your team to have the resources they need to execute the project successfully.
The project budget template will need to cover a lot of bases, including the hiring of a team, subcontractors, vendors, materials, equipment and more. All of which cost money.
Our free project budget template for Excel is customizable so you can add as much to it as you need to cover the expenses of your project. First, you can list all your tasks and who they’re assigned to. Then there are the costs to collect for each, such as labor and materials. While that might be the bulk of your costs, a budget is more than just those two resources. That’s why we’ve added travel, equipment and fixed costs. Again, you can add more columns if necessary. At the far right end of the spreadsheet is a column for your budgeted and actual expenses, with the final column noting if you’re under or over budget.
That can help you track, but a template is a static document that must be manually updated. Project management software is going to automate many of those tasks to help you manage your budget more efficiently. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that can help you plan, manage and track your costs in real time. Either start your budget in our software or upload the budget template into our Gantt chart. Now you can link all four types of task dependencies to avoid costly delays, filter for the critical path to identify essential tasks to keep you on schedule and set a baseline to track your actual costs against your budget in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.
3. Marketing Budget Template
As we’ve mentioned above, a budget is useful across all industries. If it costs money to do, then a budget is instrumental in making sure those costs don’t balloon and bankrupt you. Marketing campaigns aren’t cheap and there’s always a client looking over your shoulder to make sure they’re getting bang for their buck. Having a marketing budget is a way not only to forecast the cost of the marketing campaign but can help legitimize your expenses with the client so they understand where every dollar went and how it was spent wisely.
Using our free marketing budget template for Excel will help you estimate the financial element of the marketing campaign by outlining all the potential costs, which will then be approved by the client to ensure that everyone is aware of the expense and has signed off on it. The marketing budget will provide guidelines to the marketing team in terms of what they can and can’t spend to fulfill the mandate of their client. Marketing departments are also under a mandate, whether they’re part of a larger organization or a boutique firm, and that’s to keep costs low. Budgeting templates help by forecasting and tracking costs to ensure they stay within budget.
Marketing can be many things and that’s reflected in our marketing budget template. Again, every budget template is customizable so you can add or remove what you want to fit your marketing budget. We’ve broken up our marketing budget template into various campaigns, such as email, direct mail, online and promotions. Under each category are the various tasks associated with them. For each, we have a column to note the total budget and it’s also broken up into quarters, as marketing budgets usually are.
4. Event Budget Template
An event can be part of a marketing campaign, such as a trade show or product launch, or it can even be a personal thing, such as a birthday party, wedding or bar mitzvah. Whatever type of event you’re having, it’ll involve money and that means it will need a budget template to make sure that money is well spent and doesn’t break the bank. This is true for any event, whether it’s small or large and complex. Events have a tendency to get out of hand and an event budget template is a tool to not only forecast the cost but keep track of what you’re spending.
As with any budget template, our free event budget for Excel helps you to estimate the costs involved in making whatever function you’re putting on. It does this as all budgeting templates do, by having a cost associated with every event planning task, which includes all the resources you’ll need to execute those tasks. Once you’ve created your budget, the next step is to get it approved. When approved, you’ll execute the tasks. The marketing budget template continues to be useful as it allows you to track those costs to make sure that you’re not overspending.
The event budget template is customizable so you can use our categories or add your own. Therefore, this budgeting template can work with any event. We break it down by categories, such as venue, equipment, travel and accommodation and marketing. The next column lists the vendor or contractor you’re working with. Then there’s a column for labor and material costs followed by a total for the line item. The next column is where you’ll add the actual cost so you can compare it to your budgeted cost and make sure you’re keeping to your budget.
5. Operating Budget Template
Another type of budget template is one dedicated to operating expenses. An operating budget is used by organizations to look at the coming year through a financial lens. It’s used to forecast the revenue and expenses that an organization expects to make over the coming year or quarter, depending on the timeframe for the operating budget. Most organizations will set their operating budget in the fourth quarter and use it as a plan for the coming year. It’ll show what they expect to do and how much that will cost as well as how much they hope to make, including fixed costs and variable costs.
Our free operating budget template for Excel will help you manage your day-to-day operations and help your business meet its strategic goals without spending more than it has to. But things change and our operating budget template allows you to adjust your operating budget to reflect those changes and you measure how you performed over a month or quarter compared to what you had planned. The operating budget will give your organization accountability as well as planning and managing your resources. It identifies cost drives and helps to find when you can increase cost efficiency and profitability.
Use our free operating budget template to figure out the products or services you’ll sell over the quarter or year and their costs as well as how you plan to sell them. Next, budget those costs, including direct expenses and cost per unit, units sold and the total cost. Operating expenses are outlined for each month, including fixed and variable costs. We’ve also added a section for unexpected expenses so there’s a cushion in your operating budget because there are always unexpected expenses.
6. Project Estimate Template
While not exactly a budget, estimating is a necessary step toward creating an accurate budget. The more accurate your estimates are, the more accurate your budget is. Every budget begins with a project estimate, which is a bit of a science and a bit of an act of faith. If you have historical data that can help you determine what things will cost. It’s also good to seek the advice of experts. A project estimate template is also important.
Using our free project estimate template for Excel will help you build your budget by identifying the resources you’ll need and for how long you’ll need them. Then you can start figuring out how much each of these costs will be. Bit by bit, you’ll be able to make an accurate forecast of the financial investment needed for your project and from there, it’s only a small step to making the project budget, which you can do with one of the many free budget templates we’ve highlighted above.
Our project estimate template does this by first breaking up your project into phases. Every project has five phases: initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and, finally, closure. Each of those phases will have expenses associated with it. Our free template lets you define them by tasks, vendor or contractor, labor and material costs. Once you’ve filled in all the tasks for all the phases, you’ll have a clear idea of what the project is going to cost.
7. Construction Estimate Template
If you’re a construction project manager, you understand the importance of an accurate estimate. If the project ends up costing more than you budgeted for, those extra costs are coming out of your profits. Accurate estimates are always important, of course, but when those dollars are coming out of your pocket chances are you’re going to pay closer attention. That’s why you’ll want to take time for a thorough construction project estimate.
A free construction estimate template for Excel is a great place to start when figuring out the finances for your project. Of course, there isn’t just one type of construction estimate. There is the preliminary estimate, which is a general overview of costs. A detailed estimate used the design documents to estimate raw materials, equipment and labor costs. There is also a quantity estimate, which relies on material takeoffs, and a bid estimate, which is the final version sent by the general contractor to the project owner.
Our free construction estimate template helps you forecast labor costs, material costs and your profit market as the contractor for the job. These are the basic components of any construction estimate. Labor estimates refer to the human resources who execute the tasks. Material costs are those raw materials used to construct what you’re building. The profit margin is a percentage of this to cover all costs, including labor, materials, direct, indirect and overhead costs.
8. Inventory Template
This inventory template is designed to help you keep track of various types of physical goods inventories, like the raw materials you need to manufacture your products, the product stock that you have available for sale or even products that are still in process.
It allows you to monitor the number of units in stock, price per unit, reorder information and total inventory cost. It’s a must-have business template for any business owner, manufacturer, retailer or store owner.
Use ProjectManager to Get More Than Templates Can Give
While our free templates are a great way to help you estimate your project costs and even make a budget, you’re not going to want to run a project on templates. Templates just can’t do what a project requires. You’ll always have to stop what you’re doing to manually update the template and they’re not a great collaboration tool. That’s why project management software was developed, to give project teams greater control over what they do and do it more efficiently. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you not only create a budget but has the tools to track costs.
Monitor Labor Costs With Timesheets
One of the budgetary costs that can quickly get out of control is your labor costs. When projects get delayed, your crew is on the job site longer than you expected or the team is working more days than were initially scheduled. This is all going to impact your budget. One way to make sure your team is keeping to the project plan is with our secure timesheets. Not only do they streamline and add security to the payroll process, they track the hours each team member is spending on their tasks. You can then use this to see if they’re keeping up or falling behind and reallocate resources accordingly to stay on track
Another way to make sure you’re staying on budget is to monitor your project. This is part of the monitor and control phase, which occurs with executing the project. Our real-time dashboards allow you to get a high-level view of the project’s progress and performance whenever you want. Just toggle over to the dashboard and it automatically collects live data and displays it on easy-to-read graphs and charts that show metrics, such as cost, time, workload and more. Best of all, there’s no lengthy and complicated setup required as with lightweight alternatives. Our dashboard is ready when you are.
When you want more detail than our dashboard can provide, use our customizable reports. They can be generated in a couple of keystrokes and filtered to show only the data you want to see. There are status reports and portfolio status reports if you’re managing a program or portfolio. There are also timesheets, variance and more reports, all of which can be saved in a variety of formats that can then be delivered to stakeholders to keep them updated.
ProjectManager is cloud-based project management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere in between. They can share files, comment at the task level and get notified by email or in-app alerts whenever there are changes or updates. Our software helps teams collaborate better and is used by companies as diverse as Avis, Nestle and Siemens to deliver successful projects. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.