These days, there are countless ways to create a budget, and new apps and websites pop up all the time. Still, if you’re looking for a foolproof option that you already have on hand, creating a budget in Excel could be the perfect option for you. Though it can be a little tricky to master at first, Excel is a great budgeting tool, and people have used it to manage their personal finances and even to create business budgets for years. Now, you can do it too with these four Excel tricks.
Use Downloaded Templates
It takes everyone some time to get comfortable with how Excel works, but you don’t have to put off building a budget until you’ve mastered the software. Instead, get started by downloading some budget spreadsheets that already include the necessary formatting – and don’t be afraid of trying out different styles. There are lots of templates out there with different structures, and as you experiment, you’ll get a sense of what features you want to include when you code your own worksheets.
Take A Class
Excel includes a great number of functions, including plenty that the average person will never need to use, especially in a budget. That being said, it’s a tricky tool to teach yourself to use, though YouTube tutorials and other resources can help. For a more comprehensive and targeted option, though, you might choose to take a course in Excel skills. Such courses can teach you the different shortcuts and formulas that make a budget spreadsheet work and give you the confidence to build your own sheets.
Make It Mobile
Everything is portable these days, and since most of our spending takes place outside the home, it makes sense that you’d want to be able to access your budget on the go. Luckily, Microsoft’s interface makes it easy to make your budget mobile using OneDrive. Now, instead of trying to piece together your financial status from your banking app, P2P platforms, and other tools while in line at the grocery store, you can just pull of OneDrive and reference your budget. This is one of the benefits of today’s software as a service structure.
Budgeting is a very regimented process, and many people find it unnatural and stressful – and that’s also why they avoid it. However, by using Excel, you can take all those structured columns and convert them to various visual interpretations. Focusing on different categories, you can insert graphs into your budget, such as pie graphs representing income or spending categories and line graphs showing changes in spending over time, among others. Graphs offer an at-a-glance representation of your financial circumstances, and for many people, such visual guides are easier to interpret than a string of numbers.
Everyone should keep a budget, but most people avoid it because they find it stressful or because they create a budget and then don’t stick to it. Those are separate challenges, but the fact is that you can’t stick to a budget that doesn’t exist. Build it, be realistic, and be patient. Over time, you’ll not only develop a budget that reflects your financial needs, but one that is structured in a way that encourages you to stick with it.