We worked with scientists who wanted to spend their time doing science — not wrangling spreadsheets. Together, we designed a tool to give them their time back.
Click and drag to instantly add expenses and allocate them to grants.
Handle multiple funding sources, recurring payments, indirect/overhead costs, expenses that change over time, and much more.
Identify funding gaps, overspending, grant expirations, and other problems before they occur.
See all your grants and expenses together instead of juggling multiple spreadsheets.
Spend Lab is a budget planning tool for research labs, non-profits, government agencies, and anyone managing multiple funding sources. Our goal is to make budgeting the easiest part of your job.
Spend Lab is free to use. It was built as a service to the grant-funded community and was designed to be inexpensive to operate.
Please let us know if you use and love Spendlab or need new features added. If there is enough interest, we may be able to extend the software or integrate it with other financial systems. We also gratefully accept donations.
“It actually makes budgeting fun… I didn’t think I would ever say that.”
-Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Hi! I’m Robin, a software developer based in Seattle. I designed data visualization tools at Tableau Software and studied human-computer interaction at MIT. The idea for Spend Lab arose when a friend — a professor — described how much time she spent paging through spreadsheets and documents just to answer simple questions about her lab’s budget.
Together, we designed Spend Lab with the goal of minimizing the amount of time it takes to input data, modify spending plans, and understand the whole lab’s financial status at a glance, using modern direct manipulation and data visualization techniques. We implemented it using web technology so that it could be used on a wide variety of operating systems with no installation necessary.
Contact us at — we read everything you send.
Spend Lab allows you to quickly experiment with strategies for spending your grant money most effectively, so it's a type of "laboratory" for making spending decisions — a "spend lab".
It's also commonly used by scientific lab groups for their budget planning, so the name can be seen as describing the software as "spend" planning for "labs".
Get notified of any important updates by joining our rarely-invoked mailing list.
(We will never sell or share your email address or any other personal information.)
Spend Lab operates in a web browser, but your budget data is never sent to our servers. All computations and data you've entered stays on your local computer at all times.
By default, your most recent budget is autosaved in your web browser so you won't lose your work. You can disable this feature by browsing in "private" or "incognito" mode. You can also delete the saved budget at any time by starting a new empty budget.
Spend Lab is simpler to use than it is to describe. The best way to get a sense of it is to just use it.
Explore a sample budget Start a new budget
You can also watch our getting started video.