Using A Spreadsheet to Track and Predict your Finances
(San Diego, CA, USA)
A spreadsheet, such as Excel, can be a very valuable tool in helping you perform day to day, week to week and month to month financial planning. Sometimes you will use a custom spreadsheet that you have created yourself because it will reflect your own personal needs and requirements.
Many people find that a commercially available system such as “Quicken” ® will satisfy their needs. Whichever method you choose to follow you will plan the information you want to track, create inputs for that information and then follow it on the daily, weekly or monthly schedule that is best for you.
The first step is to gather together all your paychecks and the bills that you pay on a regular schedule. These include all your credit cards, your bank loans, student loans, utility bills (gas and electricity, land line phones and cell phones, water), mortgage(s) and car finance loans.
Then gather together all the checkout receipts from grocery shopping and at gas stations that you have lying around and arrange them in to the daily, weekly or monthly schedule that you are following.
Get as many paychecks as you can find – it is always a good idea to keep these. Now you have the basic information for your personal financial plan.
If you are creating a spreadsheet for yourself start with putting a row of days/weeks/months along the top line but leave the first column blank. Then in the first column create a list of what you have as income followed by all your bills, arranged in the sequence shown above.
Put the appropriate values (lets say $500 for your paycheck) starting in the first box and then the bills below.
When you have all the cells/boxes filled create a cell/box below this column to add together your incomes and another cell/box to add together all your bills.
Last add a cell/box in below these, but in the same column, to subtract the total of the bills from the total of the incomes. You have then got the surplus money for the day/week/month that you can carry forward to the next column.
“Quicken” ® and similar products will do all this for you automatically. All you do is provide the incomes and the bills and let it do the work.
You will find this type of financial planning will help you track the details of your finances so that you know, in advance, if you need to cut back on something or work some overtime!