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Keeping Track of the Money

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One cannot live on bank alerts alone.  You will need a budget, if you don’t have one already.  I got married in 2008, with little regard to how our spending and credit histories would meld together.

In 2009, I decided I needed a budget.  Here is my first attempt with Excel.  You can see that I put all the bills on one side, and the months along the top.  I still use this format, and I have refined it to fit our bills and spending patterns.  Sorry for the poor quality; this is a photo of my computer screen:





Here is the bottom of the same page.  This is important!  You must put totals.  It’s easy to do on Excel.**  Keep a running total of general spending, and any other categories you want to track.  At the very bottom, I have the program subtract our spending from our income.  Too often, this number is in parentheses, which means it’s a negative number, and we owe money to the next month:

**How to make totals on Excel:     1. Click on the fx at the top of the page.    2. In the pop-up window, choose SUM.    3. Type in which cells you want to sum.  You can do them individually, or you can do a whole section of the column by putting a colon between the first and last cells, such as B31:B37.




I check my bank account and budget every day, or almost every day.  I look at which payments have gone through, and which ones are pending.  If a payment is pending, I change the cell’s color to yellow.  If a payment has posted to the bank account, I change it to green.  The yellow color is a reminder that the money is already spent, and it keeps me from feeling too rich when I look at the account.

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