Balanced Budget (2023): Definition, Importance & Examples

Balanced budget

A balanced budget is one in which all anticipated earnings and all planned expenses are equal during the financial planning or budgeting process. The concept applies to any entity that makes money and spends it, even if it is mostly used for government budgets.

What is a Balanced Budget?

A balanced budget is a financial plan in which your anticipated outlays are either the same or less than your income.  Budgets that are balanced benefit individuals, companies, and even governmental entities by preventing the accumulation of debt. Continue reading to learn more in-depth information about this subject and have a deeper look at how they work. Some consider that because budget deficits would force future generations to shoulder more debt, it is better to have a balanced budget.

How Does a Balanced Budget Work?

A balanced budget each year is essential to financial security since it helps you stay debt-free and meet your savings goals.

When your expenses exceed your income, you have a budget deficit. Afterwards, funds from another source, such as a credit card or loan, must be used to make up the shortfall. As a result, your debt increases. Furthermore, your financial stability may be gravely jeopardized if your debt spirals out of control.

Conversely, having a budget surplus means that you have money left over after covering all of your costs.

This is good since it demonstrates that you are living within your means and are not taking on debt to maintain your lifestyle. In this scenario, your budget is perfectly balanced because your expenses are less than your income and you have extra money to put aside for savings goals.


When the federal government’s revenue and expenses are equal, a balanced budget is created.

It can also be one that runs at a surplus. A balancing budget is one that maintains a balance between budget deficits and surpluses. It implies

Revenue > Expenditure:

  • It guarantees that public funds are not squandered.
  • It enables the government to concentrate its efforts on the most urgent problems.
  • Budget surpluses aid in the preservation of money for urgent financial problems like recessions. Because of this, the government can utilize the money that has been collected to boost the economy when it slows.
  • Occasionally, the government must borrow substantial amounts of money from foreign organizations, and these loans typically come with hefty interest rates. So, the government can avoid these fees by keeping a balanced budget.
  • It enables the government to impose control over policy during trying times.


The following are some elements of a balanced budget:

  1. Revenues: Businesses and non-governmental organizations make money through selling goods and/or services, but government revenue is mostly derived from income taxes, consumption taxes, social security taxes, and corporation taxes.
  2. Expenses: For businesses and non-governmental organizations, expenses comprise the sums paid for ongoing operations as well as inputs like rent and labor.  Conversely, government spending covers things like infrastructure, defense, healthcare, pensions, subsidies, and other things that support the state of the economy as a whole.


Balanced budgets with equal revenues and expenses are rare because of the volatility of the elements that lead to a surplus and/or a deficit. Canada is a well-known example; in 2017, the country reported $332.2 billion in revenue and $346.2 billion in expenses, leaving a $14 billion budget gap.

  • On the other hand, nations like South Korea, Germany, and Switzerland reported having a budget surplus, which is equivalent to having a balanced budget.
  • It’s also important to remember that this kind of budget might be made cyclically, biennially, or annually.
  • A budget that is balanced annually also balances the budget for the relevant fiscal year.
  • Variations in the budget are permitted for a two-year period under a biannual balanced budget. An equal-amount deficit in one and a surplus in the other will produce a budget that is balanced every two years.
  • Cyclical balanced budgets take the state of the economy into consideration. Generally speaking, they are in surplus during economic booms and in deficit during downturns.

What are the Budget Variance Analysis and its Applications?

The real numbers shown in the budget are contrasted with the estimated baseline or standard values in a budget variance analysis.

Favorable Variance: A favorable variance is when actual results surpass forecasts, i.e. when revenues are higher than anticipated and costs are lower than anticipated.

Negative variation: When the projected results are not met, such as when revenues are fewer than anticipated and expenses are more than anticipated, there is a negative variation.

A favorable budget variance analysis result is frequently influenced by a balanced budget.

What are the Advantages?

For two reasons, a government agency may find itself in dire need of a balanced budget. If it can’t sell enough debt securities to make up the difference, it might not be able to do so at a fair interest rate. Secondly, future taxpayers may have to pay more taxes to make up the difference, which will be a heavy burden.

What are the Disadvantages?

In budget formation, the concept of a balanced budget can be misleading if excessively optimistic assumptions are applied, which lowers the likelihood that a balanced budget can be achieved. An entity may have to work quickly to get sufficient financing to cover a shortfall when real findings reveal one. It may be necessary to restructure operations (typically with cost savings) to make sure that the deficit doesn’t persist.

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