Excel spreadsheets can be an excellent way to track your budget. Spreadsheets offer the ability to keep running totals of expenses, sort by categories and keep track of multiple accounts in one file. You can link the worksheets together to keep track of totals in all your accounts. Excel is flexible; you can adapt spreadsheet templates to serve your purposes without having to overhaul the set up completely.
A single workbook can have a number of different tabs, or spreadsheets, that are connected. Use a different tab for each financial account you have, including credit cards, current accounts, savings accounts and investment accounts. Enter transactions as they occur so your monthly statement will not surprise you. For example, each time you use a credit card, record how much you spent so when the end of the month comes you know how much you owe. Be consistent with you use of positives and negatives across all tabs. For example, when your current account sends you a monthly statement, it will show your deposits are positives and your withdrawals as negatives but your credit card statement will show your purchases as positives and your payments of your bill as negatives. To keep it simple, for all transactions where you lose money use a negative sign and for all transactions where you gain money use positive numbers.
Use the first tab in the workbook to be a totals tab that shows the amount of money you have or owe in each account. Set the cells to show the total from another worksheet by typing "='Name of Worksheet'!Cell." For example, if you had a Visa card and you kept track of it in a tab called "Visa Credit Card" and your total for the card was located in cell D1, you would type "='Visa Credit Card'!D1" into the cell and the total for the card would be displayed. Break your accounts up into groups, according to what they are used for. For example, grouping current accounts and credit card accounts would help you determine how much available cash you had. You can also track your progress with your retirement accounts.
Column Headings in Account Tabs
Within each account tab, you should have several headings to help you record important information. Each tab should have a column for the category, date, amount and purpose for each entry. For example, if you charged £65 to your credit card for Rascal Flatts concert tickets, you would enter the date you purchased them, "Entertainment" for the category, "-100" for the amount, and "Rascal Flatts Concert Tickets" as the purpose. You should also have a column to keep track of the balance of the account that can be done using a formula. For example, if the "amount" column is in column D and the "balance" is in column E, set the balance cell to use the previous balance total and add the amount of the most recent transaction. For example, if the previous balance was in cell E6 and the next transaction is in row 7, enter "=E6+D7" in the balance cell, and it will calculate the balance for you automatically.