A budget, in case you're in charge of Boston's Big Dig and haven't heard of one, is a careful estimate of what your project will cost. No matter what you've heard about the power of positive thinking, when it comes to your budget, being optimistic and just making a guess is a bad idea. The difference between an estimate and a guess is that smart people make estimates, and estimates are based on information.
To make sure that your estimate is based on the best information possible, it's helpful to have a spreadsheet that lays out each part of your project, and the labor, materials, and other costs required for each part to be successfully completed. And since building your own spreadsheet from scratch takes time, it's helpful to have a budget spreadsheet template with all the columns already set up and labeled.
That way, you won't forget to break each project down into tasks, and then consider the materials, labor, fixed costs, and various other expenses of each task. Instead, a project budget template like this one lets you enter your costs to calculate an estimated budget.
If you are financing a large purchase of parakeets, you may want to consider a budgie spreadsheet.
A 70-year study found that nine out of ten construction projects end up going over budget. And the tenth one was probably something like "Municipal pothole."
The average cost overrun of a project is 27%. But since half of all projects are completed within budget, that means the ones that fail to do so are usually off by more than 27%. Sometimes by over 200%. That means they spent all the money they had, and then spent all that money they didn't have, twice, and kept going. Probably should have had a project budget.
Use this project budget workbook to break down your costs by task. For each task, the cost can be a mixture of fixed costs, materials (quantity and unit price), labor (hours and rate), and other expenses. How does it work? Spreadsheet magic.
Unlike regular magicians, spreadsheet magicians always reveal their tricks: The Budget for each task is calculated automatically using a Column Formula data type. The Subtotal column uses the DESCENDANTCELLS function and the Indent feature to sum the costs of all sub tasks. No rabbits were harmed in the making of this spreadsheet.
Break your project budget down into main categories, represented by blue rows. Within each category, all related tasks are given their own row as Level 2 Tasks. For more complex or multi-part tasks, use a summary row (rows in gray) to break them down further into level 3 tasks.
For each bottom-level Task, select the necessary Resources (be they human or otherwise). Each Resource is linked to the Resources worksheet, where they are entered with a type classification (Person, Equipment, etc.) and a picture, to clarify what resources will be required for various parts of your project.
Back on the main Budget worksheet, each Task is also assigned an Owner and an RYG stoplight status to indicate whether the project is proceeding as planned or in need of attention. Use the left-hand view options to sort tasks into Kanban views based on either of these two fields.
For each task, enter Fixed costs, Material costs (by Unit and Quantity), Labor costs (by Hours and Rate), and any Other costs associated with that task. Note that parent rows (indicated here in blue or gray) should not have any of these costs entered, as the Subtotal column will automatically tally all descendant rows.
Consult the About worksheet for further details on modifying this budget spreadsheet template -- as well as some extra tips for calculating a project budget.
Take this simple two-question quiz to find out:
1. Do people always give you their goods and services for free out of sheer admiration?
2. Did your eccentric rich uncle Rupert leave you a potential fortune only on the condition that you spend millions of dollars wastefully over the next 30 days in order to claim your inheritance?
If you answered "No" to both questions, then you probably want some sort of budget tracker template. Cost overruns are a common danger on any project, but they're much more likely if you're not doing the basic preparation of putting together a comprehensive budget. Taking the time to list out every part of your project, while breaking down costs into Labor, Materials, Fixed Costs, and Others, helps ensure that you're putting together a realistic budget estimate and not letting things slip through the cracks.
Remember that project budget templates should include any costs required for your project to succeed, even if they're not directly related to the project. That includes anything from a flight that gets Bob on-site, to a manager's time to ensure Bob and the rest of the team are coordinating properly, to a laptop and portable hotspot so Bob&Co can share their brilliance with the home office.
It's also probably worth building a cushion into your budget, by budgeting some "Other" costs to account for unexpected problems or estimates that are too low. If there's one thing you can expect from a project, it's unexpected problems.
Presuming that everything will work perfectly is one of the biggest reasons that a budget template for project management might end up being inaccurate. And that's not the template's fault. It doesn't matter if you're using project budget template Google Sheets, or Excel project budget templates. If you fail to account for the potential cost of any delays or mistakes, you're setting yourself up to go over your projected budget.
Once you've put together your project budget, you can have a reasonable estimate of how much you expect the project to cost, and plan accordingly. If your budget estimate ends up higher than your available funding, then you either need to secure more funding or consider changing some of the parameters of your project. Which may not sound fun, but it's more fun than building half of a steel bridge and suddenly finding out there's only enough money to build the other half out of cardboard.
Anyone who wants to avoid running out of money.
Your project is going to require a certain amount of labor, materials, and other expenses in order to move forward. Which means that if you run out of money before the project is complete, the whole project could be in trouble. There are few feelings worse than knowing that all of the effort, time, and expense that you put into a project may end up being retroactively useless, because there's no money to bring it to fruition.
Avoid that worst-case scenario by planning out your budget in advance, with this project budget spreadsheet. It's similar to an Excel project budget template; only it's free and online.
If you're already tracking your project numbers in Excel, then rather than using an online spreadsheet, you might prefer a simple project budget template for Excel. Well, here you go. Just enter your Labor, Material, and Fixed costs into this spreadsheet, and it will calculate your budget for you. There's even a column for you to enter your actual costs after the fact, so you can compare them to your budget and automatically calculate your overage (or savings, if you're so lucky). And there's one more nice feature about this Excel project budget template: It also works as a project budget template in Google Sheets, if you prefer that.