If you want complete control over your finances, read this! My routine will costs you 10 seconds and brings lots of benefits. This is one of my most important articles I´ve ever published on selfvestors.net
I know, there are some tools and apps out there already. But with the following simple sheet I have a COMPLETE overview over all my assets, earnings, expenses and so on. I don´t have to worry about data in any cloud or online service and it literally costs me 10 seconds to keep it running.
Why have I started this sheet?
Everybody knows this situation: After a month or week you are asking yourself where your money went because you actually only were out for having 2-3 beers, were shopping a bit and bought some food and stuff. No big deal, but a load of money is gone. How much we really spend day to day, we just don´t have a clue about.
By keeping records of your spending behavior you get a feeling about where your money goes, where you could cut back something and how much money you actually could save or invest. After seeing how much money we spend on impulsive and sometimes unnecessary purchases, everybody of us will get sensibilized for our spending behavior and automatically be more responsible with our money. The most simple kind of financial education.
To put it simple:
- I know everything about my spending behavior (over months/years!)
- I always know how much money I really have (cash, assets and so on)
- It takes me 5-10 seconds when I come home
- I save a bunch load of money by being aware of wasted money
- I can calculate for investments or future purchases, vacations and so on
You can protect your sheet with a password, so no one using your PC will ever have access to your private finances.
What is includes in my sheet?
Don´t be overwhelmed with information. It sounds more complicated than it is.
List your bank accounts, your shares, your investments, your cash, your money in companies and so on. Money which is short/medium-term available.
Update this list every first day of a month. This will keep the list comparable. This part is actually the most “work” – it will take you 5 minutes once in a month. If you don´t have many different “accounts” this 5 minutes can surely be reduced to 1 minute.
In the end I sum up all assets. I also have a line for the difference of the amount of money compared to the month before. This shows me if I was in sum losing money or I was making money and is super important.
2. Fixed assets:
List your long-term assets. You own a car, a bike or have special assets in your home? This money isn´t for your calculation of spending money but can be added to assets you own and COULD use in case by selling stuff. This just show you “your” value. Since this lines almost never change, they don´t make any work. Copy&paste it month by month and sum it up in the end like the assets in point 1.
The cashflow starts with a sum out of daily expenses and extraordinary earnings I get back to in the next point*. This line can be positive (more extraordinary earnings than daily expenses) or negative (more expenses) and will get summed up in the end with the regular expenses.
This sum in the end shows you exactly how much money you made or lost this month and the details show you on what you spend/lost it.
Besides the sum of daily expenses and extraordinary earnings, you put in your regular salary and your regular expenses. E.G. healthcare, mobile phone expenses, insurances, rent, taxes, …. Everything which is a fixed amount you have to pay month by month or year by year …
4. Daily expenses
This is super important and shows you the most about your spending behavior.
Everybody can make his separation as he wants it, I did the following:
- Living, Food
- Going out, freetime activities, entertainment
- Cost of repairs (car, motorbike)
- Extraordinary purchases
- PC, Software
- Learning, Studies, Books
- Company related expenses
Some points like extraordinary purchases get notes when filling it in. E.G. “New couch 800 Euro”. So I know 2 years later why I had this expenses that day.
This sounds like a lot of work … trust me: It isn’t! You go shopping, come home, open excel fill in “12,50 Euro” in “Living/Food”, save – DONE! 3 Seconds!
5. Extraordinary earning
This varies for actually everybody. Some have a regular job, some project based, some a job besides work, some have a small ebay shop or what so ever.
- Projectbased jobs
- Earnings, shares
I even put a line called “outstandings” in there. When I borrow money or someone owes me some money I put a note in there with the amount of money and stay reminded until I have got the money back.
6. * Cashflow addition: Daily expenses and extraordinary earnings
Sum up your daily expenses (5) and your extraordinary earnings (6) and put the sum in the first line of your cashflow section (4).
You find my example sheet with all the excel formulas attached to see how they are related.
This structure of the sheet works perfect for me. It should be an example for you to use, optimize or think about.
After 2-3 weeks this is going to be automated. It happens 1-2 times a month I really forget to put something in, but a hundred times I just fill it in – it´s like a daily habit and makes you really proud when you can check your daily finances for the whole last year.
Give it a try.
If you need support or an example sheet, feel free to contact me. I put my blurred sheet online and highlighted some formulas I´m using – this makes it even clearer and easier to “copy”.