I’ve talked before about using Excel to track your expenses and to setup a budget, but it can be difficult to know where to begin when faced with a blank Excel sheet and the thought of having to add in all of your expenses and spending.
If you’d like some help, here’s an extremely useful Excel expenses spreadsheet which walks you through everything you need to consider, explaining everything along the way, and giving you tips on how to manage your money. Each worksheet in the workbook deals with a different area of your finances; your income, cash reserves, savings, expenses etc., and as you build up the information, your final summary screen will show you how you’re doing in relation to your goals. The more honest and comprehensive you can be in filling in your info, the more accurate and useful the tool will be.
One of the features of the tool which really stands out is the tracking of “implicit” spending:
the money you implicitly spend by gradually wearing out things you must replace (car, tires, mattress, tv, furniture, and the like). By structuring your budget so that these implicit expenses are also recognized and accounted for, you’ll find that you control your paycheck instead of its controlling you.
The spreadsheet is primarily aimed at a US audience, so some of the terms used might be a little alien to non-US users, but as long as you can put up with this, and substitute the dollar sign for your local currency, then the spreadsheet should be a really useful tool for managing your money.
The spreadsheet is in Excel format (.xls), so it will work in anything that can open those types of file (such as Calc in Open Office, a free alternative to Microsoft Office).