I won’t claim that MakesUseOf post about calculating personal budget in Excel had changed my life or got me out of debt (I don’t do debts). Still it managed to pull of what several tools had utterly failed to – made me keep track of my money and not get bored with process.
So how does such DIY spreadsheet compares to other methods?
What it does
Original post covers specific mechanics in details and I pretty much followed that. Only difference was that I used OpenOffice Calc instead of Excel and had no need for credit card balances.
I had also put resulting spreadsheet in Dropbox so that file is more safe from accidental corruption and I could roll back to earlier version if needed.
Usually financial software makes one or both of these assumptions:
- You know what you are doing.
- You are USA citizen and it would be happy to connect with your bank automagically.
I have no incentive to learn and uphold proper financial theory for my measly personal budget. Most of my spending is in cash and very far from USA.
Spreadsheet method won me over with simplicity of organization and flexibility of adapting to my way of doing it. And not trying to make an accountant out of me.
Even with nice tool to keep track of money is still manual work. I have to spend some minutes every day to punch in what I spent. It is routine I try to avoid, but there is no avoiding it here. Unless someone invents pants with cash-measuring capability and bluetooth.
Computer part works just fine, it’s human part that requires some self-discipline to keep doing it properly.
Since my budgeting is to save myself from trouble and not to get myself out of one – there is lack of inspiring results.
- my spending is boring and understandable anyway – I feed myself, feed my cat and pay bills every six months in bulk. At least now I know how much cat costs me and how often I can convince myself to a treat of new tech toy I probably don’t really need.
- mapping income was more practical, some things became time hogs for little money and now I have hard data on what streams I need and what are extras I can get by without.
So one spreadsheet probably won’t make me rich or anything. On other hand it feels like proper and responsible thing to do. My finances are fine thanks to my boring personality rather than a lot of experience handling money. And I’d like them to stay fine forever – keeping track of them is essential for that.
Do you keep personal (or maybe family) budget? What tools you use and how it works out for you?