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Microsoft Money LOL: Introducing Money in Excel, an easier way to manage your finances


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This is intriguing on many fronts ... particularly where it comes to extending the reporting and analysis of expenses through tailoring one's own reporting within Excel without having to deal with extended data extracts from a tool such as traditional MS Money.

 

< Personally, I'm a Quicken junkie going back to 1986.  Then, sometime around 2010 I shed much of my OCD nature and disbanded with efforts to account for every penny spent. >

 

My key concern would be the practicality of carrying around an extended financial history in a spreadsheet vs. in a more structured database such as integral to a product such as MS Money.  Off the cuff, it seems more realistic to use the spreadsheet version as an augment to the traditional program.  (OCD pangs ringing in on that one ...)

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8 hours ago, cashnocredit said:

I've never made or tracked a budget personally. My income and spending just isn't that complicated and I have always had a pretty good feel for the state of my personal finances.

 

yet,

 

I rather enjoy going through company financial statements.

 

Go figure.

I don't really understand the need for much of the expense categorization.

 

Let's say that one day I wake up and Money//Mint/{insert name of product here} tells me that I spent $78 more on groceries last month than the month before. 

 

What am I supposed to do with that info?  In all likelihood $44 of that is still either in the pantry or the freezer. 

 

Or it isn't. 

 

Whatever.

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1 hour ago, 8ball said:

Some people like to track every penny because they're anal. Others like to track because it gives them a good basis for retirement to have a realistic look at their monthly spending patterns.

To me, that's working priorities from the wrong end.

 

We fund retirement and longer-term goals before a nickel goes into checking, and the nickels that go into checking get spent.  It doesn't matter to us if it's spent on a Burberry scarf, Boo Berry cereal, or books about the Barbary Coast.

 

Also, in order to get meaningful/accurate reporting out of the software, the underlying data needs to be good.

 

This means combing through receipts in order to split purchases from places like Target and Costco across multiple expense categories (household, groceries, electronics, gifts, travel, and of course clothing [Kirkland jeans!]).  I've done this, and for me it's a poor use of time.

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4 hours ago, cv91915 said:

I don't really understand the need for much of the expense categorization.

 

Let's say that one day I wake up and Money//Mint/{insert name of product here} tells me that I spent $78 more on groceries last month than the month before. 

 

What am I supposed to do with that info?  In all likelihood $44 of that is still either in the pantry or the freezer. 

 

Or it isn't. 

 

Whatever.

 

Let's say one day that you wake up and you decide you want to allocate your income in a manner that better achieves your goals in terms of savings objectives, debt repayment, large asset purchase, etc.  In the absence of hard information re your past progress in achieving those goals and a firm idea of where you tend to spend money currently, you're largely left steering a course without a rudder.

 

Simply seeing some hard numbers about what one spends on restaurants, clothing, transportation, travel/vacations, etc can by eye-opening.  A broad picture of how your spending is allocated opens room for an exploration as to whether it's consistent with your longer term goals.

 

Expense categorization need only be as detailed as suits your needs.  There's no need to mircomanage any general spending category unless doing so serves a purpose on which you place value.

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I have my own system that works pretty well. I am a bit geeky about numbers, so I do get some sort of OCD fixation by doing it.

 

For one, I have most of my spending split between different credit cards based on the purchase category. I use one credit card for all bills and subscriptions (Cap1 Quicksilver/they notify me on my phone of all charges), one for dining (Marvel/3%), one for household goods (Target/5%), and then groceries and discretionary spending go onto one or two other cards (Discover Miles and Alliant). I use Discover It cash back for categories and BB&T for 3% on gas and the occasional cash back deal through them). I'll use Regions and B&H Payboo for business purchases. Basically, I know I am overspending based on the balance for a particular card. I really only need to care about the dining card and the discretionary cards because all the other expenses are recurring and not subject to much change. For example, I only charged $150 last month on my Marvel card, so I know I didn't overspend on dining. I also take a little bit less rewards on paying my subs and recurring bills because Cap1 sends me purchase notifications for every transaction. I also like to use this card in unsafe places due to the low credit line and immediate notification of charges, so I don't become a fraud victim.

 

In terms of tracking everything, I keep two Google sheets. I have one with all of my current balances, APRs, rewards, closing dates, and installment loan info. I use the first sheet to prioritize which installment loans to pay down and to ensure I am not racking up any revolving debt. I have a second sheet that lists all of the days of the month when bills are due, amounts, and all of my subscriptions. The second sheet is especially useful because it tells me exactly how much my recurring bills are and how much I have leftover each month to pay down debt (student loans/car) and spend on discretionary items.

 

I also have Mint because it has free credit monitoring, but it is really just a backup in case I forget to pay something. Their categorization is pretty useless. I think it has been telling me I have overspent each month on rent for the past year, even though I set the rent budget for the exact correct amount.

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1 hour ago, hdporter said:

Let's say one day that you wake up and you decide you want to allocate your income in a manner that better achieves your goals in terms of savings objectives, debt repayment, large asset purchase, etc.  In the absence of hard information re your past progress in achieving those goals and a firm idea of where you tend to spend money currently, you're largely left steering a course without a rudder.

 

Simply seeing some hard numbers about what one spends on restaurants, clothing, transportation, travel/vacations, etc can by eye-opening.  A broad picture of how your spending is allocated opens room for an exploration as to whether it's consistent with your longer term goals.

 

Expense categorization need only be as detailed as suits your needs.  There's no need to mircomanage any general spending category unless doing so serves a purpose on which you place value.

I could completely eliminate clothing purchases and vacations, and start cutting my own hair, and in aggregate those things wouldn't move the needle on anything meaningful.

 

Without even looking at the detail I can tell you that the most logical places to cut and the actions to take would be:
 

  • Taxes/utilities/HOA/insurance on our second home (sell the home and pocket/invest the proceeds, which would also cut travel expenses and eliminate insurance and depreciation costs for the virtually-unused car that's parked there);
     
  • The lease payment on my 445-hp twin-turbo V-8 grocery-getter, which I don't really need (let the lease run out and pay cash to buy something sensible -- or just share one car; I work from home).  This would also reduce what we spend on insurance and gas.
     
  • Next in line would be reducing primary household costs (trade down to a smaller place, pocket/invest the gains, and then enjoy reduced property taxes, utilities, insurance, maintenance/upkeep, etc).
     

And actually, the most significant thing I could do is move somewhere with lower income and property taxes.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by cv91915
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1 hour ago, RehabbingANDBlabbing said:

 

 

In terms of tracking everything, I keep two Google sheets. I have one with all of my current balances, APRs, rewards, closing dates, and installment loan info. I use the first sheet to prioritize which installment loans to pay down and to ensure I am not racking up any revolving debt. I have a second sheet that lists all of the days of the month when bills are due, amounts, and all of my subscriptions. The second sheet is especially useful because it tells me exactly how much my recurring bills are and how much I have leftover each month to pay down debt (student loans/car) and spend on discretionary items.

 

 

I maintain a couple of key spreadsheets as well.  Perhaps this Money in Excel idea has some merit.  :) 

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1 hour ago, cv91915 said:

I could completely eliminate clothing purchases and vacations, and start cutting my own hair, and in aggregate those things wouldn't move the needle on anything meaningful.

 

 

So, there was never reason to suggest that "one size fits all". 

 

If were were determined to wipe out an extra $10k in debt in the coming year, doing a one-week vacay in the backyard in lieu of a "bells and whistles" getaway could do much of the trick.

 

On the other hand, someone pulling in $80k with the same goal is likely going to have to micro-manage expenses significantly to achieve the same goal.

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32 minutes ago, hdporter said:

So, there was never reason to suggest that "one size fits all". 

Your response appeared to be more targeted.  :) 

7 hours ago, cv91915 said:

I don't really understand the need for much of the expense categorization.

 

2 hours ago, hdporter said:

Let's say one day that you wake up and you decide you want to allocate your income in a manner that better achieves your goals in terms of savings objectives, debt repayment, large asset purchase, etc. 

 

1 hour ago, cv91915 said:

I could completely eliminate clothing purchases and vacations, and start cutting my own hair, and in aggregate those things wouldn't move the needle on anything meaningful.

Maybe you meant y'all.  😛 

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3 hours ago, cv91915 said:

a Burberry scarf, Boo Berry cereal

these are a few of my faaaavorite things 

 

Once again I will shoehorn in that I use and love YNAB. It's really useful for people who have spent 20 years on and are transitioning from this method of financial management 

 

7TLu2MR.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm pretty good in excel so having the ability to download all my transactions into one sheet is certainly nice. 

  • Snapshot Tab:  Doesn't do much for me except for the Merchants where the most was spent. 
  • Recurring Expenses:  Nice in idea but missing some spend. If its incomplete its inaccurate and of doubtful value.
  • Transactions:  Again, I like that it pulls and summarizes everything in a standard format. I do not like that you can't change anything and it doesn't breakout the spend linked to AU Amex Cards

I may just use this to get the transactions and copy/paste it into my own workbook with my own summary of things I want to track. 

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On 6/17/2020 at 10:48 AM, smartlypretty said:

these are a few of my faaaavorite things 

 

Once again I will shoehorn in that I use and love YNAB. It's really useful for people who have spent 20 years on and are transitioning from this method of financial management 

 

7TLu2MR.png

RON! 

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/17/2020 at 11:51 AM, cv91915 said:

Spectacular failure on the first encounter.

 

I thought I'd try this out by connecting our Amex cards, which are connected to four separate Amex user IDs.

 

First Amex ID went fine.  And then...

 

rxJw6wM.png

 

Thankfully I don't have to check my accounts to see if they're connected.

 

I know they aren't connected.

 

Because I can't connect them.

 

EW8bdhQ.png 

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