Tools and Process
For this budgeting project, I used Microsoft Office’s Excel. I’ve used this program to manage my finances for a few years now, and have grown to enjoy it’s extreme flexibility. Down-loadable templates make it possible to create a budget, a personal calendar, or a training schedule for a marathon with the same tool. I prefer Excel to other budget specific software because of it’s flexibility and familiarity.
One of the most useful features in any spreadsheet program is the ability to create functions within cells. This allows you to use other cells as variables in any formula you might like. For example, to convert my dollar values into Pounds, I created a function that used the columns of dollars as a variable multiplied by .54, the current rate of conversion for the pound. I then just grabbed the lower right corner of this cell and dragged down. Excel automatically updated the variable information, allowing me to change the original cell, and see that change propagate automatically into all the functions referencing that cell.
Here are some helpful links if you would like to learn more about Excel.
- How to Use Excel – Excel Tutorials for Beginners
- Excel Formulas – How to Create Excel Formulas
- Excel 101- How to Use Excel Spreadsheets
Intentions for the Future
Budgeting can sound boring, and be intimidating if you don’t do it often. The truth is, planning a budget isn’t always fun, but it’s a fundamental part of achieving your goals. Taking control of your finances by actively observing your income and expenses will free you from many financial anxieties. Too often people choose to ignore their finances, and they fail to plan ahead. Rather than learning from these mistakes, the consequences can be so painful that many people avoid thinking about finances even more.
My wife and I feel that keeping track of our money is a must. It allows us to accomplish many important things, like financing our own college education, and traveling to the places we want to go. It’s also a way we show respect for each other, by being responsible enough to look out for each other’s fiscal as well as emotional well being.