Free money-management spreadsheet

couple doing finances on computer

Having a simple budget template can help you stay on financial track.

Whenever I write about personal-finance programs, there's always a large contingent of GRS readers who chime in to say they prefer the do-it-yourself method. Rather than go with pre-packaged money-management software like Quicken or Mint, they prefer to track their accounts with a home-brewed spreadsheet. (In fact, my wife is one of these folks, too.)

I've shared a variety of personal-finance spreadsheets in the past. Some of my favorites are produced by Jon Wittwer of Vertex42.com, a website that specializes in Excel templates, calendars, calculators, and spreadsheets. The Vertex42 debt snowball calculator, for example, is an outstanding tool for those who are working to pay off their debt. I've been singing the praises of this spreadsheet for almost two years now.

Related >> Handy Personal Finance Spreadsheets

Wittwer dropped a line the other day to let me know he's just released another spreadsheet on Vertex42 that might be of interest to Get Rich Slowly readers. Here's how he describes his free money-management template:

Are you looking for free money-management software? It has long been my goal to create a simple, macro-free, money management spreadsheet that provides the same functionality as basic budgeting and money-management software. A simple spreadsheet will never do everything that dedicated software can do, but the new Vertex42 Money Management Template comes amazingly close.

Vertex42 Money Management Spreadsheet

This money-management simple budget spreadsheet includes five worksheets:

  • A help worksheet that includes instructions for using the templates, including info on how to customize categories. These instructions are an awesome addition.
  • A budget worksheet where you can specify how much you hope to earn and spend in a variety of categories.
  • A transactions worksheet on which you record your day-to-day purchases.
  • A monthly budget report worksheet where you can analyze your finances for any given month.
  • A categories worksheet that lets you track income and expenses for the items you want. (For example, I'd need to add a “comic book” category if I were using this spreadsheet.)

Related >> Free Debt Snowball Spreadsheet

Wittwer notes that using a simple budget spreadsheet for money management isn't as foolproof as using pre-packaged software. As you tinker with the formulas (which you're free to do), and as you enter data, you're likely to accidentally introduce errors. So, be sure to double-check your work. (If you're a spreadsheet whiz, you're probably already used to watching for mistakes.)

The web page for this spreadsheet has some tips on how to use the template effectively, including instructions on how to customize the budget categories and how to record transactions. If you download this and use it, please be sure to submit your feedback — both good and ill — to Wittwer. This will help him improve the money-management template for future users!

More about...Budgeting

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Brian B
Brian B
10 years ago

Thanks!

I’ll check it out when I get home from work!

LB
LB
10 years ago

Also interesting to see would be “investment” spreadsheets — ones that calculate past rate of return, estimate (very rough!) future rates of return based on asset allocation, etc.

Chandoo
Chandoo
10 years ago

Thanks JD for the link. Vertex42 has been one of my favs for excel templates.

I couldnt help but point you and your readers to my site where I recently published 7 personal expense trackers built on excel. All these are free tools that anyone can use to monitor their expenses, income, spending habits right out of Microsoft Excel. Some of the files are pretty powerful with ability to handle multiple currencies, expense categories etc.

You can get the files here: http://chandoo.org/wp/2010/07/16/download-expense-trackers/

Jason
Jason
10 years ago

Also at work… In the future can you just include a direct download link without sending your traffic to the guests webpage? Some of us read your site while at work and we are unable to view other sites… A direct download link would be nice, however I do understand the sharing of web traffic.

Tawra@Living On A Dime
10 years ago

That’s funny! I’m a pen and paper kind of a gal and hubby is all computer all the way! It always seems like spouses are divided on this.

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

I like the mortgage amortization spreadsheet you have. It’s more useful than the ones online.

JB
JB
10 years ago

I’m normally all for automation, but I think that services like Mint and Quicken automatically updating your expenditures & budget really gets in the way of financial discipline. This, on the other hand, looks awesome…now if only there were an OpenOffice version for the Open-source frugal among us.

The Skeptical Housewife
The Skeptical Housewife
10 years ago

This looks pretty good (at the first quick glance), but the problem I have with all of these budget programs is that I can’t tailor them specifically to myself (that I know of). I say this one looks cool because I saw the word “custom.”

Still, I think I’ll stick with my Google Docs spreadsheet for now. It doesn’t have fancy charts and graphs (um, that I know of), but hey, it’s Google. It probably will someday. 🙂

csdx
csdx
10 years ago

Hmm I find some of the stuff pretty neat, but I’m not sure how many people are likely to use it. I mean for someone who wants the ease of pre-packaged software, they might as well go with quicken or mint since they’re more robust and have more automation. But I see most people who use their own spreadsheet (myself included) to being using it because it’s personalized just for them. Though I suppose sharing pre-built excel sheets are good for those just getting into creating their own and want a base to start from, rather than going from scratch.… Read more »

Panda
Panda
10 years ago

I pretty much agree with you JB. I use Quicken, but I don’t let it auto update my transactions from my primary bank. I think the exercise of entering/classifying them myself keeps me focused on them.

Jason @ One Money Design
Jason @ One Money Design
10 years ago

Will definitely check this out. Funny thing – I use Mvelopes Personal budgeting software, but still set up my budget in a spreadsheet. I think spreadsheets or even manual forms are an easy way to plan your spending and view your plan.

MutantSupermodel
MutantSupermodel
10 years ago

Very cool! I love the snowball one and have played with it so much. This is very similiar to the excel package I’ve created myself too. I used to adore Mint but found too many holes. I adore Excel and know it well so I’ve had more luck DIYing it.

Edward - Entry Level Dilemma
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma
10 years ago

This looks great, but unfortunately, I have to stick to the rough spreadsheet I made up for my budget. It’s broken down into weeks because some of my because I have bills (and my wife’s paycheck) that are not monthly and can vary depending on how the month falls

Vertex42
Vertex42
10 years ago

Thank you for the post, J.D., and for all the kind comments so far.

@JB – You’re in luck. There is a link to the OpenOffice version on the download page as well.

@Edward – I’m planning on creating a weekly/biweekly version as well. Contact me or add your comments to the blog post listed on my download page to discuss what you would like to see in a weekly version.

Paul
Paul
10 years ago

This is really nice. My wife and I currently use a similar spreadsheet that is hosted on Google docs so we can both access one version of it. Takes about 2 minutes per day to update and is SO MUCH SIMPLER than the Quickens, Mints, etc, which are too bloated with features, in my opinion.

I doubt this one will import into Google docs very easily since the two aren’t completely compatible yet, but I’ll give it a try. If anything, it has some nice ideas that I can incorporate into my own. Nice work!

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
10 years ago

Nice! I’m pretty happy with my own Excel budget (yes, I guess I’m one of those readers, lol), but I’ll suggest this to anybody I know that is looking for ideas.

Don
Don
10 years ago

If you don’t have Excel, then I recommend the spreadsheet in OpenOffice (called “calc”) or the stand-alone spreadsheet Gnumeric.

Both are quality free-software products and very compatible with Excel (which is a pretty well-understood file format). I personally use Gnumeric as my spreadsheet program, but, as I said, both are good.

David/moneycrashers
David/moneycrashers
10 years ago

These are great tools–I personally just attacked my debt and never tracked a thing.

But for those who want to monitor their progress, its a great idea

Gustavo Bonato
Gustavo Bonato
10 years ago

For my personal budget I use Quicken. But for my family-shared budget (two brothers and a mother sharing the household expenses proportionally) we use a huge spreadsheet that I developed. If anyone wants to know how it works, please write me: bonato (at) gmail.com

Murgsy
Murgsy
10 years ago

I love the thought of these spreadsheets, but I get paid fortnightly so monthly budgets just don’t fit right.
I wish I could find one designed for 26 pay periods a year.

Namrin
Namrin
10 years ago

That spread sheet is useful.

However, I hardly use spread sheet to track my expense because I’ve never been in debt I reckon. I always manage to spend less than I earn LOL. What I do the most is to calculate my saving. Like how much I have saved so far or how can I save certain money in certain months to go for a trip or sth like that.

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