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Free Printable Project Budget Templates [Excel, Word] Tracker

    When creating your project budget, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it requires or even forget to include essential items. You need to manage your time carefully to avoid wasting precious hours on creating something that ultimately doesn’t work for you. In this article, I will present a comprehensive guide on how you can manage your time and create a quality project budget template.

    What is a Project Budget?

    Project Budget
    Project Budget

    A project budget is an estimate of the total costs required to complete a specific project. It includes all projected expenses related to executing the project’s scope of work.

    The key elements of a project budget typically include:

    • Labor costs – This covers staff salaries and wages for the project team.
    • Material costs – Expenses for raw materials, equipment, supplies, etc. needed to complete project tasks.
    • Other direct costs – Additional expenses like travel, software, contracted services, etc.
    • Indirect costs – Overhead expenses allocated to the project like rent, utilities, administration costs.
    • Contingency reserve – An allocation set aside to cover unexpected costs.

    The project budget is an important part of planning as it allows the project manager to estimate total costs, secure necessary funding, and monitor spending to stay on budget. Accurate budgeting is crucial for controlling project costs and avoiding cost overruns.

    The table shows the financial expenses of a project from the start date to the end and how the distribution will be between them. The budget needed for a project is the sum of the costs of all these elements.

    Project Budget Templates

    Project Budget Templates” are pre-designed tools that provide a structured format for planning and managing the financial aspects of a project. These templates serve as valuable resources for project managers, teams, or organizations to create comprehensive budgets, track expenses, and ensure effective financial management throughout the project lifecycle.

    A project budget is a detailed estimation of the financial resources required to execute a project successfully. Project budget templates offer a standardized layout that includes sections for identifying project costs, allocating funds to various activities or work packages, and monitoring actual expenditures against the planned budget.

    By utilizing project budget templates, project managers can streamline the process of creating and managing project budgets. These templates guide users in accurately estimating costs, identifying cost categories, and allocating funds based on project priorities and resource requirements.

    What is the importance of a project budget?

    A project budget template is a ready reckoner for all the expenses that you need to incur for your project. A project budget will help you monitor your project expenditure so that it does not exceed the project’s expected cost. You can use a project budget spreadsheet as a tool for making estimates of the total cost of your project. A good project budget template must include a comprehensive estimate of all the costs that you will incur throughout your project.

    In addition, they also include all of the services that are directly associated with your project, such as librarian fees, transport services, and so on.

    Professional templates are easy to use and will help you keep your costs under control while easily tracking your expenditure.

    What is the most common budgeting mistake?

    • Creating a budget item for an activity not foreseen in the activity plan
    • The prices foreseen in the project budget are much higher than the market prices
    • No project budget is allocated for the project’s internal and external audit elements.
    • Evaluation of the non-conforming cost item in the project application guide in the budget. Sample; If the building construction items are not accepted as eligible costs in the project application guide and within the scope of the project,
    • Not complying with the minimum grant amount and maximum grant amount of the project proposal in the project application guide, making mistakes in the co-financing rate.

    What is included in a project budget?

    One of the basic tasks that you have to complete during the early stages of your project is to create a project budget template. Why is this important? Creating an accurate estimate of your project will help you allocate sufficient funds for it. You can ask potential clients or investors to finance your project if they will get a good return on investment in the end.

    There are many ways of categorizing project costs for your project budget:

    Direct Costs

    Direct costs are simply the things you must pay for, whether directly or indirectly. They include equipment and materials and everything that goes into your project itself, such as book printing, movie editing, software development, and so on.

    Indirect Costs

    Any time you start a project, requirements and budgets might change. These changes can impact your indirect costs – those expenses that aren’t directly linked to a cost center. Indirect costs are areas of budgeted expenses that often slip through the cracks during project planning and accounting. It’s easy for indirect costs to creep into a project, so it’s essential to know how they may impact your project.

    Capital Costs

    Many investors don’t know you must incur capital costs in your venture. Capital costs come before other expenses like operational costs and personnel costs. If you want to start a project, there are many things you need to purchase first. You have to make sure you get all the resources you will need for this project. Not only do you have to obtain resources for your project, but also for your team’s comfort as well.

    Operating Costs

    Operating costs are expenses that are considered necessary for running your business. They include all costs directly related to a project and its operation, including personnel unrelated to the development team itself. They can be expenses for office space, conference rooms, IT equipment (computers and software) provided to the team, and formal training/workshops.

    Project Deliverable Costs

    Project deliverable costs may be the key to creating your first project budget and understanding just what you are getting yourself into when taking on a new project. The first step in creating your budget is understanding all of the costs involved in fulfilling your contract.

    What I mean by that is the things that are needed to complete your work and create your deliverables, such as; searching for clients and potential clients, marketing, business administration, tasks related to updating your website/SEO/upkeep, or just about anything else.

    Project Management Costs

    Running a project can be costly. The costs vary depending on the type of project, the size of the team relative to the complexity of the project, etc.

    How to create a project budget

    In the project budget preparation model, the budget is prepared depending on the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs determined at the project stage.

    • The project budget should be determined before starting the project.

    • It should be written according to the purpose of the project.

    • Estimated cost calculations should be made with market research.

    • A good budget should be based on historical data.

    • The costs of labor and human resources should be calculated separately.

    • The budget should be written with attention to the project activities and schedule.

    • It should include expected expenditure amounts.

    • It should contain information about the factors that may affect the budget.

    • The budget should be prepared according to the information given in the application guide.


    How do you write a budget for a project?

    To write a project budget, list all expected costs like labor, materials, travel, and equipment. Add overhead costs and a contingency reserve. Use historical data and quotes to estimate costs. Present the budget by phase or category and indicate the total funding required.

    How do I create a project budget in Excel?

    In Excel, make columns for cost categories like labor, materials, etc. Enter estimated amounts in each column. Use formulas to calculate subtotals and overall budget total. Format professionally and add details on timing and sources of funding. Update regularly.

    What is a budget template for a new project?

    A budget template for a new project provides a pre-made file with sections for listing costs and totals. It estimates percentages for categories like overhead. Templates have formulas embedded and allow quick creation of a starting budget.

    Is there a budget template in Excel?

    Yes, Excel has downloadable budget template files. Search for “project budget” and find options for capital project budgets, event budgets, construction budgets, and more. Enter your specifics to customize.

    What are some fixed and variable costs in a project budget?

    Fixed costs are expenses that don’t change based on production volume, like rent. Variable costs change directly with production like materials and hourly labor. A budget estimates both.

    Why is contingency important in project budgeting?

    Contingency reserves funds to cover unexpected expenses that come up in a project. It’s important to avoid cost overruns. 10-20% of total costs is commonly budgeted for contingencies.

    How often should a project budget be updated?

    Project budgets should be reviewed and updated regularly, such as monthly or quarterly, as costs and plans change. Updating ensures the budget stays accurate for informed decision making.

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    Betina Jessen

    Betina Jessen

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