Personal uses for spreadsheets

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Spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel are widely used throughout the business world; but those spreadsheets also can be used for personal reasons.

From developing a realistic family budget to creating a list of things you own to tracking the performance of your investments, there are a number of ways individuals can use the power of the spreadsheet to protect themselves and their assets. Learning how to use Microsoft Excel for these purposes can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Creating a Family Budget

Every individual and family needs to have a realistic budget in place, and programs like Microsoft Excel can help you create a budget you can live with. There are a number of excellent budget templates available for free download on Microsoft's website, and these templates can provide an excellent starting point for that budget you have always been too busy to create. Budget templates include all of the formulas you need, as well as sections for common expenses like rent or mortgage, groceries, dining out, electricity, water and sewer costs.

Insurance Inventory

Every responsible homeowner and renter needs to have insurance coverage on the items in his or her home; but when a loss occurs it can be difficult to remember just what was lost and how much those lost items were worth. One of the best individual uses for a Microsoft spreadsheet is creating a household inventory. To build the inventory you can simply go room to room with a tablet. Write down each item and its approximate cost, then plug those numbers into the spreadsheet you create. Be sure your household inventory spreadsheet has columns for item description, cost, purchase date and any additional details.

Investment Tracker

No matter how you choose to invest your money, it is important to keep track of how you are doing. Simply putting your money aside and forgetting about it can leave you behind when it comes time to retire, so be sure to track your investments on an ongoing basis. One of the best ways to track those stock, bond and cash investments is with an investment tracking spreadsheet. The formulas and calculations needed for these spreadsheets can be quite complicated, so investors may want to download a free template from Microsoft and adjust that template to their own needs.