I used to be a financial analyst and used Microsoft excel in a variety of ways. From building financial models to using it as a crude database, excel can be used for many different purposes and you can use it very easy to keep an eye on your finances. This first thing to do is to create an excel file. Name it “Finance” or something like that and save it on your computer and also on a flash drive for backup.

If you have never used excel before, then let me first tell you that the time you invest into learning some very basic excel skills will help you later because once you have a basic model set up, maintaining it takes very little time. I will not go over the rudimentary basics of excel in this article but will assume that you know how to work your way around an excel file and some basic commands.

The first step is to set up your output sheet. The first sheet on the bottom left of the screen should be renamed “output”. In this sheet, you will have a top-level view of your finances. For example, the first line should track your bank account. You can have separate lines for your checking and savings accounts. The next line should be about your investments. The goal is to separate out your inflows from your outflows. So the first few lines should be your inflows. Then the next few lines should be all your outflows such as recurring monthly bills, credit card payments and your estimate of your monthly food bills, electric bills, etc. Feel free to color code your inflows and outflows. I like to use Green and Red.

The last line should subtract the outflows from the inflows and should be labeled “Savings.” Your goal is to keep this line positive every month. Now you can use all the other sheets for each specific line item. One sheet should track your checking account; another should oversee your savings account and a third – your credit card and so on. Link up each sheet with the output sheet. Now you have your skeleton file set up and all you have to do is key in the input numbers into the background sheets every month. Then calculate the totals in each of those sheets and have the totals feed into your output sheet. Keep tabs on your finances this way and you will never lose track of them.

Robert Morris a Microsoft Office expert has been working in the technology industry from the last 5 year. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup

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