1.05.2010

Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone: Excel

I. HATE. EXCEL. Yes, I said it. Now all of you Excel lovers can gasp and write nasty comments about how you can't imagine life without it...blah, blah, blah. ;-) Well, here's the deal. The thing scares me, yet in the logical part of my brain, I know it could make life easier (especially for a math-challenged person like myself). I was forced into the world of Excel when I worked in a mission finance office overseas (go figure - put the math-challenged person in charge of keeping the books!), but it was certainly a love/hate relationship. The person who held the position before me loved it, and I hated it. Mostly.

For the past year I've been keeping up with our finances and bills in the good, old-fashioned way - with a pencil, a notebook, and a calculator. Well...no more. I'm stepping into the 21st centry (about 10 years late I suppose) and will start keeping track of expenses on the computer with {shudder} Excel.



I still have some reservations - like the fact that our computer is old and is having problems (i.e. Peter has to basically rebuild the thing every month to month and a half) and my trusty notebook doesn't have that problem. However, after the umpteenth (yes, I'm sure it's a word somewhere!) crash of the computer and the backup hard-drives, we did invest in Carbonite (the online backup company), so even if the computer crashes, my Excel spreadsheet should be OK.

You might be wondering what caused me to finally try Excel for finances...well, I found out about The Coupon Project blog. Angela (author of the blog) is a lovely woman who understood Excel, made up a spreadsheet, put in all the stuff you have to put in to make it work (see, I'm still Excel illiterate!), and then posted it for FREE for the rest of us to use.  Technically this spreadsheet is supposed to help you keep track of your coupon savings and ECB's (...is that "Extra Care Bucks"? Not 100% sure, but it's tossed around a lot on couponing blogs!), but I've found that it works for both (keeping track of savings and general spending). If you want to download the spreadsheet, click here to go to Angela's post with downloading information.

How do you keep track of what you spend? Any advice for an Excel newby?

2 comments:

  1. Chris uses Quicken. He really likes it. You can download all your info straight from the bank. He catagorizes every single transaction (food, gas, clothing, etc) so at a glance he can tell how much we have spent in each area. I think once you get used to it -- you will like it and maybe even (*gasp*) enjoy it!

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  2. I'm enjoying your blog. I wish you well on your Excel endeavor; keep the pencil and paper handy for a back-up/cross-check. Happy New Year!

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There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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