View Full Version : Anybody else doing spreadsheets today?

1-1-11, 5:49pm
Sorry to be posting as admin -- so lazy!

Although I'll never be an investment guru, I do need to catch up spreadsheets, do new charts, and try to lay out a course for 2011. I'll at least be doing some of that today, although I doubt very much I'll complete it. Anybody else playing with their money today? :cool:

1-1-11, 6:21pm
Yes, it's "net worth calculation day" for me. I got most of the structural stuff done last week, a whole lot of tweaks and fussing with the cash flow. Why is the money Still not simple? It's where I started this whole journey! :treadmill:

1-1-11, 6:30pm
Yes, I have been pondering how to adjust my portfolio for the last few weeks. I basically depend on Fidelity and Morningstar tools for any analysis. I have seen some really cool spreadsheets but it has been so long since I did anything complex on a spreadsheet I would have to learn over again. That might be a challenge but I'm too lazy. ;)

My goal going forward is to simplify. I have too many funds spread over several accounts and would like to get down to maybe one of the "Lazy Portfolios". Through the years I have noticed pretty much that my returns have been pretty close to the S&P 500 - if the market does good, I do good, I the market does bad, I do bad.


1-1-11, 6:36pm
Me! I actually got started setting up my 2011 expense sheet and budget categories/estimates last week, but I am doing monthly/yearly net worth totals today and considering some tweaks to my categories. I track our networth pretty religiously -- have actually been doing daily tracking since Sept. 2009, which is easier than it sounds because I have everything set up in an online account management program and just need to go in and update account totals and cut and paste to the spreadsheet daily.

One thing I am considering now that I have a Kindle is breaking out books/magazines from our general entertainment category. Reading is a major form of entertainment for our family, but it doesn't seem to be quite the same as other types, and I think it may deserve its own breakout.

Our 2010 spending totals ended up being considerably over the original budgets, but I am ok with that. Part of it is currency depreciation/local inflation, especially for food and household goods, but part of it is also related to changes we thought through carefully and decided were worth making. I think our food/household/entertainment/clothing budgets were probably too low -- growing kids and changing priorities about buying more organic/sustainable stuff has a pretty big impact on the bottom line, but I am willing to pay more because these changes reflect our values.

The best news for us is that networth is up significantly, and savings in all areas is on track -- especially retirement and college savings, which have both rebounded nicely and seen significant growth as we continue to DCA substantial amounts every month. General savings is lower than I would like, but at ok levels considering we are not spending mindlessly but buying things that will be good for the long haul and that contribute to our overall quality of life.

OK, off to get DH's current account totals so that I can finalize our 2010 totals.


1-2-11, 10:42am
Isn't it so nice to close out the accounts for last year, and start a new set for 2011? There's a sense of completion, a hard year over, but also the ability to see a complete picture of the year.

1-2-11, 1:09pm
Yes, it's my favorite time of year, because of the spreadsheets. Started getting ready a week or two prior. Then did quite a bit Jan 1. Most of my personal stuff is done but it takes a while to fully transitional to the 2011 spreadsheets, and I don't finish DH's until later in the month when I get his bank statement.

So far it looks pretty good. Despite some inflation in rent and utilities, my 2010 total spending was exactly the same at 2009, not including school related expenses (returned to college in August) and networth is still up a bit, despite paying tuition and only working part time.

iris lily
1-2-11, 4:34pm
While I'd like today to be "net worth calculation" day, DH waits for printed valuations to come from our investment companies and he claims that we won't really know until April, that's when the last one comes. He often does a calculation based on what he knows so far, but I'm not going to press him because right now he is in the basement working on a project for me, so that's more important than the financial calc. But I used to look forward to Net Worth Day a lot.

1-2-11, 7:28pm
Yes, today I am doing our spreadsheet for 2011. Everything that goes out, every last penny, is put into our spreadsheet. I have expanded and contracted it over the past six years, through different lifestyle changes and when we were buying or selling things.

I have finally (I HOPE!) figured out categories that make sense. In 2009, we bought several one-time items (our RV for one) that were not going to be repeated in 2010. But then, in 2010, we bought a couple of motorcycles and my scooter. Again, one-time purchases; so I had a category for One Time Purchases.

But this year - 2011- there should not be any "One-Time" purchases. I figured the updates on software are not "one-time" purchases as we seem to purchase them every year! I had also put strange items that I had no idea where to go into a Category called Stuff. I had RV Stuff, Truck Stuff, and Cycles Stuff. But those really did not make sense, so I have changed that around. I now have Maintenance and Upgrades for the truck, cycles, and RV. It makes much more sense. We will continue to upgrade our lives, so why not our stuff too?
Making the spreadsheet was a little more work :treadmill: haha, actually almost a day of figuring it all out. But, I put a number in at one place of the spreadsheet, and it populates in other areas.

I don't just have the expenses, of course, below that I show our balances for the places that we store our money. Like others above, we have different accounts and it can get confusing at the end of the month and certainly at the end of the year.

This year I resolve not to go chasing the higher interest, because it is not going to happen, and I do not want to have another account to keep track of. We are doing well, and are FI, and I am not going to waste Life Energy for keeping track, although I do find it helps my brain cells.

I also put our expenses on our website. I do this to help others realize that they can live like we do, that it does not have to be expensive. Realizing that others might see our expenses, helps keep us more frugal, I think, sometimes, but not always. But being able to share, well, that is much more fun.

If anyone is interested in this spreadsheet, I use Open Office spreadsheets, and I plan on putting it on our website (without the numbers of course!) so that others might try it out. Probably will be a little time before I put it up, but if you are interested, just PM me and I will send it to you.

1-2-11, 7:35pm
Yes, got the first pass at mine done this morning (way behind because I was sick over the holidays). Not good, not bad, about where I expected to be.

Having a new residence makes comparisons to prior years impossible, so we'll just have to shrink our spending back to the minimum again and build up some baseline data for review next year. I do already know the electric dryer is going to go! Yikes!

Dharma Bum
1-2-11, 7:41pm
Updating the net worth calc is my New Years ritual. Was at relatives until today but it was the first thing I did when I got home. This year I added another calc that converts net worth into a hypothetical cash flow at a conservative SWR so I can fantasize about the crossover.

1-3-11, 9:31am
My eyes were burning yesterday from all the spreadsheeting. I made it through the monthly tracking and also some tax stuff I needed to do for my rentals. I haven't finished the net worth stuff, but started it.

1-3-11, 11:01am
I have to say, since I've starting using Mint.com, I don't need to do a yearly spreadsheet--everything is tallied up, especially since I've been pretty good about making sure things were categorized properly. But that tool is fantastic for giving you all that information--your net worth is constantly updated on a daily basis, and all the categories of spending are accessible according any time frame you want. You can tag things as tax-related to find them more easily.

It took me a little while to get used to all the features, but honestly, as a person who has always done Excel sheets and has micro-recorded purchases, I feel like a weight is off my shoulders.

1-3-11, 12:30pm
@catherine - I like the idea of Mint.com but one of the main reasons I use computer based software is that I can not always be online. Last couple of places I lived, we did not have internet access at all for quite a while. In a sense, the spreadsheets relax me, even though in the beginning they were time consuming. I see where every thing is going and coming and realize that everything is OK.

1-6-11, 6:32am
i have been very fortunate to have a husband who is well versed in finances and has been doing spread sheets for some time

i save us money in small increments; he does the big picture

its such a great feeling that we work together but in different areas

1-6-11, 1:40pm
Yes - I have tallied my 2010 numbers and have revamped my spreadsheets for 2011.

I have had issues with Mint lately, they are doubling my checking account numbers and I can't seem to figure out a way to correct it without manually going in and deleting the duplicates. Generally, they are a great tool.

1-8-11, 12:25am
I have a question for you all. Other than the online spreadsheets, are you creating your spreadsheets based on YMOYL examples? I have been involved in the forums for years but I have never done the spreadsheets. Maybe this is the year I should. Do you also track everything on Quicken or something similar and then transfer to spreadsheet? I need a little direction please.


1-8-11, 4:06am
Hi Polliwog,
My spreadsheets are based on the YMOYL principles. I have two sheets per month. One sheet is for everything that goes out - all expenses, and another sheet that tallies up the first sheet into categories. First sheet may be called Jan Everything, second sheet called Jan Categories.

On the Categories sheet, I have our hourly wage, the amounts of each category, and the F1, F2, F3 and F4 boxes. Every category has a monetary amount, a + or - sign stating whether it was a good purchase or not worth our energy. I did this group of steps way back in the beginning and that was how we figured that a mortgage was not worth our life energy. So it was changed as so as we could do so. Now we live in an RV and have no mortgage.

I have another file that has the line showing our cross-over points as well. But I know the cross-over point via numbers, and so can just use the one file most often.

We do not use online spreadsheets as we are not always online. I use the free software: OpenOffice.org for my spreadsheets and text files. We have online banking, and very little checks. Our vehicle insurance is automatically charged on our credit card or deducted from our bank account, we do not have utilities to pay for, nor a mortgage or vehicle loans, nor school loans. We have two credit cards, and one is linked to our main bank, so we just transfer money from the checking account to the credit card company on the day that it is due. The other credit card is paid online. The only time we write a check is paying for health insurance, it is through an association, and they need checks instead of credit cards or online banking. We have had the same box of checks since we first got married 13 years ago! So we hardly write checks.
Hope that helps!

1-8-11, 1:49pm
Hi Laura,
Thank you so much for that very informative explanation of using spreadsheets. You guys really have it all together! I do have a mortgage, but it is very manageable. In fact, I could not rent for what I pay on my mortgage. I am of retirement age but I continue to work. I work with my family in developing and managing affordable housing. Formerly, I was a well-paid, but burned-out, paralegal. Being involved in the simple living movement gave me the courage to leave that career which also involved moving to a more affordable area. It was very difficult at first (I lived at the beach and moved inland) but six years later the rewards have been wonderful. Now, I work part-time and really enjoy it. In fact, I do not plan on full retirement for some time. I am close to my grandchildren and my 90-year old father. Life is good.

I will take another look at YMOYL and the chapters on spreadsheets. I am fairly frugal but I know I can do better with my discretionary funds. I have a 15K Heloc that I would love to get paid off asap. I have minimal credit card debt, less than $500.00, and my car is paid off. I live alone in less than 1300 sq ft with my 17-year old Burmese cat.

I bank online and reconcile everyday - it is so easy. In addition to my wages I get Social Security. i am building my emergency fund and trying to keep expenses low.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to answer my questions


1-10-11, 8:07am
I will take another look at YMOYL and the chapters on spreadsheets. The chapters on categories are what you're referring to. YMOYL doesn't explicitly mention spreadsheets. If it helps you categorize to use a spreadsheet, by all means do so.

I actually use an antique accounting package which has the categories in it. Then I export the summary totals to various spreadsheet tabs in my master spreadsheet for graphing and further discussion. So there are lots of ways to handle the data; the real question is: are you getting the information you need to make good decisions?


1-10-11, 7:08pm
Thank you Jonathan. BTW, I really enjoyed your book, Living Simply in the City. :)

Dharma Bum
1-10-11, 8:22pm
Thank you Jonathan. BTW, I really enjoyed your book, Living Simply in the City. :)

Volume II: Living Simply on the Tundra? Or was that LHOTP?