Tracking Your Expenses

Visitors: Please feel free to click on the link to download this expense tracking spreadsheet to your computer. Use it with the instructions below. I hope it will help you better understand your personal financial situation. -Geoff Loynd

Personal Expenses Spreadsheet

Regardless of income and expenditure levels, the first step in analyzing anyone’s personal finances is to get a handle on expenditures. This spreadsheet facilitates that process. The overall goal is to identify and total all of your typical expenditures. This knowledge facilitates various additional analyses. The spreadsheet’s left hand side (1st page) addresses your reoccurring monthly expenses. All cells in black are alterable, while blue cells are protected from alteration. You can customize the left hand column A to your particular expenses by changing the example titles. Use your bills, bank statements, or checkbook to identify these monthly values to enter in column B. Don’t forget to average out those monthly expenses that change seasonally such heating fuel. All rows 3 – 26 in columns A and B can be used for expenses. The total will be summed in cell B27 and annualized in cell B28.

The next step is to track your miscellaneous daily expenditures on the right side (Page2). If you are an extensive credit card user, this can be done by simply examining past itemized expenses on your statement. If you regularly use cash for daily expenses this requires a little more effort. I suggest recording these expenditures on a slip of paper carried in your wallet or purse, or pick a time each day to sit down at the computer to record the previous day’s expenditures. The miscellaneous expenditures are totaled in cell B30 and annualized in cell B31. Your total reoccurring and miscellaneous monthly expenses are totaled in cell D33 and annualized in D34. The next step is to examine your annual after-tax cash available. Use your previous years’ tax returns to do this. Look at you gross income and your typical tax burden. Cell G18 is not protected. Itsimply multiplies cell G17 by an applicable tax fraction. You can change this fraction to better approximate your own tax situation. For example is you see that you typically lose 30% of your gross income to taxes change cell G18 to read “=G17*0.70” Cell G19 is the culmination of the exercise. It compares your after tax income availability with your total annual expenditures. This information facilitates informed decision making with respect to savings, expenditures, and your long term financial viability.