managing your financesThis article is a guide to excel that will help you in managing and keeping track of your finances.

If you want to manage your finances and make sure that you save a certain amount of money in a certain amount of time, or that you stop haemorrhaging cash, then one of the best tools you can possibly use is Excel.

Excel of course is a piece of spreadsheet software that’s designed to help you organise and monitor information, and this can be used for a huge number of different purposes to make your life easier and help you keep tabs on everything that comes in and out of your accounts.

But understanding Excel isn’t easy when you’ve not had much experience in the past – and looking at a blank page of empty ‘cells’ and reading about ‘formulas’ can all be a little intimidating for the uninitiated.

For that reason then, let’s take a look at some of the basics of Excel, and at how you might use them in order to keep better tabs on your cash-flow.

The Basics

When you open an excel sheet all you can see is an empty page, what you’re looking at essentially is a page of ‘cells’. These are the squares that make up a giant table, and if you want to, you can use them as nothing more than an outline for a table with a set of headers and some text added in. You can punch in text or numbers in these cells and then use the ‘Home’ tab to edit the formatting as simply as you would with a word document.

Excel Basics


Things get more interesting though when you enter just numbers into those cells. This now means that you can write equations, substituting the numbers for the cell-names (the coordinates – a letter then number) you want to use. If you write in any cell and start with an ‘=’, then Excel will treat that as maths and will display the answer to that sum.

So for instance, ‘ = C1 + C7’ will show you the sum of those two cells. If C1 says ‘3’ and C7 says ’19’ then that cell will show 22. Look at the top text box when highlighting a cell to see what the underlying equation is. You can also use divide and multiply, but remember that ‘*’ is a multiply and ‘/’ stands in for divide.

Excel Maths


Another useful tool that an Excel sheet offers is filtering. This is useful where you have used only a few values for a column (a score of 1-5) for instance. Click filter, and then the top headings of your table will become drop-down menus. Now you can pick a number say ‘5’, and that will then show you all your favourites in that list and leave out the others.

Excel Filtering

There are many ways you can use these skills, from creating budgets to just keeping tabs on what you spend and how much you earn. Be inventive, don’t be scared to experiment, and you can end up with a much more organised and easy to access set of accounts!

Article WritingThe author of this post, Jack Norman, is a freelance blogger who currently writes for First World Mortgage, a company that provides the best mortgage rates in Connecticut. He likes to spend his weekends with his family at home.