Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How I use a spreadsheet to track progress

That's where creating a spreadsheet comes in. You don't have to buy any software to create one. Google Drive and Open Office are both free. They are also good programs.

Google Drive is cloud based so you can keep up with your bills wherever you are. Open Office is downloaded to your computer. You can only access your progress from your computer but it's good for those who aren't always on the net.

Microsoft Excel is another program. This one isn't free. My job required me to use Microsoft so I'm using Excel to track my progress to get out of debt. The screenshot below shows I have the spreadsheet set up.

The colums show:
Bill name
Original balance
Payment amount
Amount paid
Remaining balance

Off to the right is a column that shows the date that payments began on the debt. A second section shows what my monthly bills are.

A third column that you can't see shows the income for the month and the sources.

All income sources are listed in a column that you can't see. This includes steady income like my husband's job and uncertain income from my writing sources.

I specifically cut the income off of the spreadsheet when showing it to you. I'm not trying to hide anything. It just seemed weird to do it. Also, I changed the names of the medical bills. Displaying those seemed weird too.

Older bills that were paid off last quarter are still being transferred over. That's why you don't see those. I hope to get those moved over soon. They will be in another column below the income and will be turned into light grey.

There are probably other ways to use a spreadsheet to track your debt reduction progress. This just happens to be the system that works for me. However; I'm open to ideas so if you have suggestions, by all means, leave a comment below.

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