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Excel Spreadsheet

Last week I talked about a money program that I use. I also use Microsoft Excel to track my money. Can you tell I love money and tracking statistics? haha. So maybe I over-do my analyzing but it brings me joy.

Schedule

So on the first page of my spreadsheet I have my work schedule listed down the page. First column is the date, next is my starting time, my ending time, how many hours I am working that day, and finally I use an equation to calculate my wage for that day. I have the schedule in blocks for every two weeks that would encompass my pay period. When I get my pay stubs I compare it to my spreadsheet to make sure that the amount I expected to make adds up to the amount that I was actually paid. I think that is good practice for everyone because you can catch if you were over or under paid and bring it to your employers attention.

On the next page I have my projected monthly income and spending. I have posted below an example of what this page has listed for the last two months:

01-Jan-13 -$600.00 Rent
01-Jan-13 -$500.00 Loan
04-Jan-13 $801.00 Pay Check
18-Jan-13 $897.00 Pay Check
30-Jan-13 -$488.00 Credit Card
30-Jan-13 $1,581.00 Bank Account
30-Jan-13 -$100.00 Savings
01-Feb-13 -$600.00 Rent
01-Feb-13 -$1,000.00 Loan
01-Feb-13 $870.00 Pay Check
15-Feb-13 $1,083.00 Pay Check
28-Feb-13 -$328.00 Credit Card
28-Feb-13 -$200.00 Savings

So the first column shows the date of the payment or deposit, the next column shows the amount that is coming in or going out, and the last one shows the category. I usually have this projected two months into the future. Rent is a constant so I can put that in each month with certainty. My loan amount changes depending on much I feel I have available to spend. The pay checks are usually an estimate based on the first page but they are normally pretty close to accurate. The credit card again is an estimate based on my budget. I usually set the credit card at $500 just to be on the safe side. As I told you before I use my credit card to pay for everything so this amount includes my groceries, phone bill, etc. You will notice one category that says Bank Account. I put that in every couple months or so just to make sure that my totals are accurate. I use an equation to total each month to make sure I don’t end up spending more money that I am making. The savings category changes most months. The way I determine what I put into savings is, in my checking account I like to always have about $200. That is my cushion. $200 is my $0, meaning, some people will spend their money until their bank account is empty and have to wait until their next pay day to have money. That would scare me to death. By leaving $200 in my bank at all times it give me peace of mind knowing that if any emergency was to come up, I would still have money to cover it without having to dip into my savings. Anything above that $200 marks gets put into my savings.

Schedule

On third page of my money spreadsheet I have my income totaled for each month. On the top row are the months of the year. Below each month I list the amount of money I receive on each pay check. Below all of that each pay check is added together to show me how much money I made that month. On the right hand side of the page I then have each month added together to give me the total I have made that year and then I take that numeber and divided it by the number of months that have passed that year already to give me an average that I make per month. I can compare the amounts that I make each month, but I can also compare what I make each month to the year before since I’ve been keeping track since 2009. I can really see how my wage has been increasing over the years. I’ve made about $400 a month more than the previous year, every year since 2009.

Schedule

On page four I have the same thing set up as the last page except this page shows my expenses. I have spent about the same amount each month on average for the last three years which tells me that my spending hasn’t really been changing too much, which I think is a good thing. Especially when you consider that my income has been increasing. That means there’s more money in the bank (in theory, since all my money has been going to my loan and not to my bank). The expense page only shows my credit card payments, but it used to show my student loan payments as well. I haven’t been including my current loan payments because they are a personal loan to my ex, so this page may be a bit skewed at the moment.

Schedule

The last pages are my loan pages to show the payments I have been making and how much I owe before it’s paid off. I made a graph to show the changes in my loan to my ex which I find interesting. I can’t believe how much money I owed him at the height of the loan and I also can’t believe how fast I’ve been able to pay it off once I moved out.

Microsoft Money 2003

I think the thing a lot of people have trouble with when it comes to money is tracking their spending and making a budget. When I bought my first computer in 2003 it came pre-loaded with a program called Microsoft Money 2003. I LOVE this program. When I had to buy my second (and current) computer in 2007 or 2008 I was lost without my money program. I tried some free ones I found online but I hated them and wanted my old friend back. So I actually went online and bought the 2003 version from Amazon.

There are a lot of things I love about Microsoft Money. You can put in all your money accounts. I have one for the cash I have on hand, one for my checking account, one for my savings account, and one for my credit card. On the Accounts page I can see the totals of all my individual accounts as well as the total of all the accounts added together so I always know how much money I have. On the main page you can set up spending categories with a limit. Each category will have a bar that shows your spending in that category so far for the month and how close you are getting to the limit you have set. For example, I have a bar that shows me how much I’ve spent in total this month and how much I have allotted myself using the budget page. That bar is actually in the red this month for me but that’s because I paid more on my loan than I had budgeted which is actually a good thing. I also have a bar for Groceries and one for Dining Out because those are the two biggest expenses for me. Also on the main page it shows my upcoming bills and deposits.

Accounts Page Accounts Page Accounts Page

There is a Bills and Deposits page that shows all the upcoming payments including calendars showing which days they are going to happen. There’s a Cash Flow page that shows your cash flow (duh). You choose the time line you want to see (mine is set for the Next 12 Months) and it will show your projected earnings based on your budget.

I keep talking about a budget. That may be one of the most useful things with this program. It allows you to make a budget. There are categories for everything and you can add your own if you don’t see one that fits what you want. You put in how much you plan on spending in that category. You can make it the total for one month, year, week, whatever you want. I usually make my budget for the amount I plan to spend each month. Certain things like clothes I will put in for every three or four months because I don’t buy them every month. In the Gifts category I customize it putting in values for certain months (like December for Christmas, and May for my birthday) because that’s when I usually get money as a gift.

Once you have your budget completed, the budget page will show you how much you’ve spent in each category so you can see if you are on budget or if you need to change your budget or change your spending. I usually have my budget to show me the current month so I can see how much money I have left to spend in a category before I go over.

Budget Page

One page I enjoy looking at is the Reports page. You can view how much you spend in each category, how much you spend to each payee, you can view your annual budget, etc. Pretty much anything you want to know about your spending, you will find here. The annual budget is probably one of my most favorite reports. It will show you much you’ve spent so far this year in each category and how much you have left allotted. You can scroll over and view each month individually. At the bottom it will show you how much you spent and how much you budgeted that you would spent and the difference. I enjoy looking at a previous year and seeing that I actually came out with more money that I had budgeted I would. It’s such a good feeling. It’s also interesting to see how money adds up over a year. For example, in 2012 I spent $1400 on groceries, almost $11,000 on rent (!), $750 on the bus, etc. It’s just sometimes crazy to see your money all added up like that. Another report I like is the one where you can compare your spending between two years. You can see where your spending has increased and where it has decreased.