Good personal finance spreadsheets are hard to find on the web because sploggers monopolize the search results. Still, I've managed to collect links to a stack of them that I'd like to share.
Spreadsheets more useful than web-based calculators because:
- You can modify the fields and formats to meet your own needs,
- You can create “what-if” scenarios by making copies of a sheet, and
- You can save the data for later use.
The following links are all real sites from real people with real useful information to share.
- I mentioned PearBudget in a previous entry. It's an excellent (though elaborate) budgeting spreadsheet.
- If you find PearBudget intimidating, this morning Lifehacker pointed to another spreadsheet-based budgeting system. It's bare-bones, which may appeal to some.
- Foxway offers a budget tracker spreadsheet that is somewhere between the previous two in complexity. It keeps all expenses for a single year on one page. (For some reason the file has an .XLR extension; you'll need to change it to .XLS to open it.)
- If, like me, you're following the debt snowball method of debt reduction, check out Mr. Peanut's Debt Snowball Calculator.
- Patrick Holt has created a ginormous spreadsheet filled with all manner of personal finance calculators. This thing is mammoth.
- GRS gives you a way to check your report for error.How to get a free credit report?
- It's Your Money offers 22 different personal finance spreadsheets, including several related to auto expenses.
- As one might expect, Microsoft offers many excellent personal finance spreadsheets for free download. These are more polished than most of the home-brewed spreadsheets I've listed, though not necessarily as useful. (Addendum: more here.)
- Ask the Builder has a column about saving for a rainy day so that home repairs don't take you by surprise. There's no downloadable spreadsheet here, but there's brief mention (and an image) of one that you can easily recreate on your own. (Besides: this is an excellent column for homeowners.)
- Num Sum had a huge collection of spreadsheets, but most of them are junk — and they aren't available on the internet any longer. It used to be that if you had patience, you could sift through to find some gems, such as the home maintenance schedule — but that's not true today. Num Sum spreadsheets were not downloadable, and registration was required to use them.
- And from Get Rich Slowly, you can download Vintek's power of compounding spreadsheet and the default Excel amortization table, a useful loan calculator. (Vintek sent me a generic revised version of his spreadsheet, which I'm dubbing the magic of compound returns spreadsheet.)
There must be thousands of other great personal finance spreadsheets out there. I'll share the best of those I find.
Author: J.D. Roth
In 2006, J.D. founded Get Rich Slowly to document his quest to get out of debt. Over time, he learned how to save and how to invest. Today, he's managed to reach early retirement! He wants to help you master your money — and your life. No scams. No gimmicks. Just smart money advice to help you reach your goals.