When it comes to keeping a record of your personal finances, just how organised are you? Businesses record their sales and purchases, and all other income and expenditure, daily on a variety of accounting packages. This is crucial if they are to plan and ensure their business is continuing to run at a profit, rather than a loss.
By keeping on top of their finances, all businesses can look to their financial information to gain a quick overall glance at how the company is performing at any given time. This is simply due to good record-keeping. However, when it comes to applying the same due care and attention to our own personal finances, many of us don’t see the importance in considering an effective recording system to keep track of what comes into, and what goes out of, our bank accounts.
A huge proportion of people will regularly admit to scribbling down their monthly expenditure on a piece of paper, or even on the back of a receipt and working it out that way! But, have you ever thought that there may just be a more efficient way?
Take Back Control of Your Finances
What if I were to tell you that by taking care of your own personal finances and creating a record-keeping system to track your finances month by month, you could benefit and make money from? By having all your data to hand in one easy-to-manage space, you can indeed throw some light on where every single penny of your money goes each month!
I hear so many people complain about how their money just seems to disappear as soon as it hits their account every calendar month. I often wonder why these people don’t start taking more interest in their hard-earned cash – that way it would be immediately obvious why you are left short at the end of each month, despite your rough original calculations that what you had coming in, could effectively cover everything that you had going out! To prevent such situations, it may be wise to keep detailed records of how much you pay your internet provider, grocery store, fuel provider (like the ones found at romeosfuel.com), maids, and landscaping company. Using such data, you can identify areas where you’re spending extra and where it’s not worth it.
Create an Excel Spreadsheet for Your Finances
Whilst I may be called the spreadsheet master, by many a financial colleague who has witnessed my methods, I could not organise my personal finances by any other methods; and I have worked this way for as long as I can remember. A spreadsheet may only be as good as the information you put into it, but get it right, and I can guarantee you this is one of the best ways you will find of monitoring your own personal finances.
Tips for Planning Personal Finances on an Excel Spreadsheet
- Try to use just one tab per year, so you can scroll down to get a good overall view.
- Make a monthly grid, using a maximum of 31 days to cover all months effectively on the left-hand side of the grid, with multiple boxes across the top of the grid to write all your income and expenditure categories.
- Use a freeze frame beneath these categories so you can scroll down throughout the months and keep these same tabs without needing to repeat them every month.
- Copy and paste your first grid another eleven times to cover all the months of the year.
- Insert and then copy and paste all amounts that you know will be the same for every month.
- On the right-hand side of your grid, add a basic running balance for each day which will allow you to balance your spreadsheet against your bank account with minimal effort!
- Try to get into the habit of checking both your bank account and your spreadsheet every day.
A Spreadsheet Should Not Be Difficult to Use
There is no need to keep personal information on this spreadsheet, such as bank details or numbers; this is simply a figures spreadsheet. There is no need to make it any more complicated than it needs to be.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to use Excel before, the first time you approach it you may be slightly put off by its overall look, but I assure you it is not complicated. Sometime we humans make things seem far more complicated than what they really are!
If you still need convincing, try searching on YouTube for step-by-step tutorials for working on Excel, as there are so many beginner videos on here that can walk you through the process using more basic terms, until you get used to the layout.
Personalise Your Spreadsheet to Keep It Relevant to Your Needs
Your spreadsheet is for nobody else’s eyes except your own – so if you can perfectly understand the data that you have entered on it, don’t waste any time thinking about what others may say about its presentation.
If you tire or bore of this basic system, don’t continue – but do something about it and start personalising your spreadsheet to how you want to use it. A perfectly designed spreadsheet will enable you to see, at a glance, what your current financial situation is always. It doesn’t need fancy pie charts or graphs, unless you feel as though they really would help you in some way – it simply needs to be nurtured!
By being in control of your financial situation, rather than it being in control of you, you have the power at your disposal to make informative financial decisions and steer your future the way you want it to go, rather than being held prisoner by a lack of financial knowledge.