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Cash Flow Budget Basics

Plan for growth, align priorities and manage spending with a projection of monthly cash flows.



The cash flow budget shows projected cash inflows, cash outflows, cash balances and loan activity for each month, providing a full picture of the operation for the year.  


  • Starting cash
  • Cash in
  • Cash out (fixed and variable)
  • Loans (cash paid or received)
  • Ending cash

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Agriculture, seafood, and forest products operations use the cash flow budget to plan and align around nearly every aspect of the business, including growth, production, marketing, capital purchases, family living expenses and even that tropical vacation you’ve been thinking about! The cash flow budget also enables communication among family members, business partners, and third parties, not only to stay aligned, but also as a learning tool for newer members of the business team.

Beyond a baseline plan for the year, the cash flow budget enables operations to plan for possible scenarios and answer strategic questions like:

  • What if fuel and fertilizer prices go through the roof?
  • What if we bought the neighboring property?
  • Is this the right year to begin our organic conversation?
  • Can we finally go full-time on the farm?
  • Or whatever your big what-if or strategic question is…

Next Steps

Once you build the cash flow budget, take it to the next level with more financial tools or a discussion with your Northwest FCS team.

Lender Discussion

Schedule a meeting with your Relationship Manager to review the cash flow budget together. Discuss the following:

  • What am I missing?
  • Key risks and opportunities?
  • Specific scenarios to evaluate.

Additional Financial Management Resources

Learn more about financial management for agriculture, seafood, and timber operations with additional resources from Northwest FCS: