Cash Flow tracker can help you keep a track on how your money is spent and how you can save more. Read on to find out how you can manage your savings better…
Have you ever played those games wherein you’re required to choose between a variety of options to enable the story to move forward?
The choice you make will shape the future course of the storyline of the game.
That means you have the power to control your own storyline in such games.
Now imagine, if you had somewhat a similar power while handling personal finance as well.
Imagine a situation wherein you could easily experiment with your finances and then continue with only those practices which are beneficial to your bank balance.
The method I am going to talk about in this article will prevent you from ever running out of cash flow in your bank. It’s an instrument that will ultimately tell you the future of your bank statement and balance.
You’ll be able to look into the future with this and make wiser decisions.
Look into the future? Am I telling you a secret tip to become Raven from the popular show That’s So Raven?
For those in the unknown, this show was a supernatural sitcom in which Raven, a teenager has the ability to ‘literally’ look into the future!
Enough of Disney throwbacks! Let’s move on to the actual article now!
The trick we are going to discuss today is extraordinary. Its potential is undervalued. Seriously, it can change the way you spend, save and invest.
Have you observed yourself spending carelessly on unnecessary things towards the start of the month and then panicking and availing credit to pay for bills towards the end of the month? (At least this is what I used to do before reading Bachat blogs!)
Have you ever lavishly ordered Domino’s Farm Pizza in the first week but had to have Maggi for 3 days at the end of the month?
If you are living like this, spending exorbitantly initially and then accumulating a lot of credit card debt later on, then you need to read further to discover a magic formula.
And the formula is…Making a Cash Flow spreadsheet!
Making a detailed spreadsheet that covers your recurring expenses, incomes, deposits, etc. will help you perceive how much cash do you have today, how much you’ll have next week, next month, next quarter and possibly next year!
No no, it’s not April Fools yet, I am not joking! Promise.
Note: You can use either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for this purpose. Both are extremely easy-to-use. Also, you can make a table in Microsoft Word if you want to avoid complications and are willing to calculate using a calculator.
Here’s an example to give you a rough idea about the cash flow spreadsheet. I’ll be explaining it in detail below.
Making a cash flow spreadsheet like this for the entire year can really get you going. However, I understand if you prefer trying it first for a period of 3 months or even one month.
In Column A, you must write the dates and days spanning the time period you’re planning to cover.
If you don’t want to type in so many dates, just type in 2 or 3 dates and then move your cursor close to the base right corner of the last cell you wrote in until you see a dark cross/block/plus sign, at that point drag your cursor right down the sheet and the date will embed naturally. Phew!
This column is used to give a title to your transaction: whether incoming or outgoing. Any and every transaction will be labeled in this column.
Column C is for recording any incomes/deposits or inflow of cash. Your monthly salary, bonus incomes, passive incomes, investment gains, etc. will fall under this category.
This column covers all your expenses (which are not made by a credit card).
To fill in this column, just sit down with a calendar and figure out the major dates at which your main bills are to be paid. Then, decide on the dates when you’ll be buying groceries, going out, ordering in etc. These can change of course if you change your mind later on.
Next, account for festivals and celebrations like your own birthday, your parents’ birthday, anniversary, friends’ birthdays, etc.
I know some expenses are not fixed and it may get difficult to predict those months in advance. But some forecast and planning are better than no forecast and planning.
Therefore, just take your best shot and fill it in.
Also, as things spring up, you can add them then and there.
And, once you prepare a copy of your spreadsheet, it’ll become way too easy to do it for the next year. This is because you can simply copy/paste the spreadsheet and make some minor adjustments here and there.
That looks like a lot of work! Looks. But isn’t.
This is the balance column. This is an important column as this will help you to ‘look into the future’!
Firstly, you’ll begin this by stating the existing balance in your account.
Then, as things spring up, you can alter the balance. If there is a deposit, then you must add it to the previous balance and if there is an expense, then you must subtract it.
What if there are both?
Well, then you add the deposit and subtract the expense. Simple.
Okay, so now we come to the interesting part.
If you are using Microsoft Word to make a table, then you’ll have to alter the balance yourself regularly.
But, if you are making a cash flow spreadsheet, you can simply insert a formula to calculate the balance automatically. To make it easier to understand, I am inserting the example here as well.
For this, you first need to type in your existing balance. Suppose you typed your existing balance in E1. (Red font)
Now, to calculate the balance for E3, type in the following formula:
“=E2+C3-D3” i.e. Previous Balance + Deposits – Expenses
And to apply this formula to all the E cells, drag this formula to the below cells.
Doing this will bring a clear picture of the future before your eyes.
You can effectively spot those particular days/weeks where you will potentially face a cash crunch.
Column F is for your credit card transactions. Record any expenses you incur using your credit card.
Make it a habit to review your credit card activity every once in a while. Doing this will ensure that when your credit card bill comes, you won’t be in for any shocks.
Also, on the date your credit card bill is expected every month, embed an equation in Column D that equivalents the aggregate of your action in segment F.
Tracking Cash Flow – Conclusion
Making and following this spreadsheet will certainly make you’re financial like a lot smoother.
Also, you can use different colored fonts for past transactions and future transactions.
You don’t need to follow everything as I have mentioned, you can alter the spreadsheet to suit your personal circumstances.
It may appear to be a great deal of work, yet working on an evening with concentration will get you sorted for a whole year.
Hope this helped!