Use the app

Software that makes budgeting painless.

Designed by and for the grant-funded community.

I 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.

Who it’s for

Spend Lab is a budget planning tool for research labs, non-profits, government agencies, and anyone managing multiple funding sources.


Spend Lab is free to use. I built it as a service to the grant-funded community, and it doesn't cost me very much to operate the website.

Please let me know if you like using Spend Lab or need new features added. If there is enough interest, I may be able to extend the software or integrate it with other financial systems. You can also make donations.

“It actually makes budgeting fun… I didn’t think I would ever say that.”
-Assistant Professor, University of Washington

About the developer

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. I implemented it using web technology so that it could be used on a wide variety of operating systems with no installation necessary.

Contact me at

About the name

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".

Join the community

Get notified of any important updates by joining our rarely-invoked mailing list.

(Unsubscribe at any time. I 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 over the internet. (All computations and data you've entered stay on your computer at all times.)

If you want to save your budget for future editing, you can download it to your computer as a .slb file. Spend Lab also tries to autosave your most recent budget in your web browser so that you don't accidentally lose your work even after closing the web page. However, the autosave feature is disabled if you browse in "private" or "incognito" mode, and the autosaved budget is erased when you start a new empty budget.

Try it out

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 Watch the video

See the resources page for additional tips & shortcuts.

a project of Math Easel

© 2018 by Robin Stewart