I haven’t written on a topic like this before, but I confess. I’m an Excel junkie. I love spreadsheets! As a joke, I even had my wife add something to her wedding vows about learning to at least like Microsoft Excel in the future.
I’ve been keeping my checkbook and house budget in Excel for a long time. I was a former Quicken user for many years, but the constant upgrades and cost became unpalatable. So I turned to Excel 6 years ago and it has worked well.
I have tried other sample Excel checkbook spreadsheets in the past, and they were decent. But they all had a problem. Any attempt to move (cut/paste) transactions around would result in #REF errors in the formula that’s used to calculate the current balance. So I’d constantly have to re-copy the correct formula to the affected cells. Not difficult. But definitely annoying! My version fixes that.
Why Use Excel for a Checkbook Register?
There are a lot of good reasons to keep a copy of your checkbook register in Excel. This includes:
- It’s easy to go back in time to find an old transaction. Most bank websites will limit or cripple your ability to see older transactions. Or they’ll offer your statements in PDF format, but searching across many PDF files becomes way too tedious.
- You can quickly see how much you’ve been spending in a particular category. Yes, that can be frightening! But helpful nonetheless.
- You can forecast how the rest of the month looks by entering bills that you know will come due, and then figure out how much money you’ll have left for other things. This is where my Excel spreadsheet shines over the others.
For me, the latter is a truly compelling reason to use Excel. If you’re like me, every month can be a little different for expenses, so rather than just wing it, I like to know how tight things might be in the ole bank account. My sample spreadsheet will help, and being able to enter future expenses is important. This is where all of the other sample spreadsheets I’ve seen ARE NO GOOD.
Click here or click the small thumbnail below to download the sample spreadsheet below. Note: there are no embedded macros nor anything dangerous within the spreadsheet.
IMPORTANT! You’ll see several sample entries in the downloaded spreadsheet. You’ll want to delete those BUT don’t delete the balance column numbers! Those are formulas that you should leave intact.
What follows is a short video to explain the basics. You may want to watch this in a larger window so feel free to go straight to this YouTube link to do so.
Google Sheets Users
This spreadsheet can be imported into Google Sheets, and it will work. However, you’ll have to manually add rows as needed and copy the formula for ‘balance’ down to new rows.
Update! (Feb 2020) – Goal Tracking for Debt
The latest version includes a new sheet called Card Debt, which has a simple table to enter your current credit card balances along with the starting balance (usually the highest balance you’ve had on the card).
There are bar charts to help visualize your progress which includes a goal chart that consolidates the progress on all of your balances. You can read all about it here.
New to Using Excel?
If you need some help with how to delete rows, insert rows and/or how to fix or re-copy formulas, here’s a short video that covers all of that.