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FROM THE RESOURCE LIBRARY

Cash Flow Management Spreadsheet Tools

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Introduction

Money has the potential to cause a significant amount of stress in our daily lives.  While it may seem overwhelming, spending some time reviewing your finances and setting up a plan to more actively manage them can improve both your financial and emotional well-being.

The system presented below is one method for managing your finances.  You may need to consult a financial advisor for your specific situation.

Cash Flow Management System

The Cash Flow Management system can be done using paper and a pencil or on a computer.  There are no fancy gadgets needed to get your finances under control.  At the heart of the system are four key financial rules:

  • Live below your means
  • Do not borrow money
  • Implement a zero-based budget (make a plan for every dollar that comes in as income)
  • Create an expense plan that is reasonable and achievable

The Cash Flow Management Materials

The Cash Flow Management Materials were designed for those wishing to track their finances by computer.  The materials include a Short Term Cash Flow Planner and a Yearly Planner which has four spreadsheets inside it. There is also a set of “How to Use…” power point presentations. These are Microsoft Windows 2007 creations. They are also available in ’03 versions. The applications for Apple are not yet available, however, these are not difficult to create by using the available set as a guide.

The spreadsheets that are available and discussed in this article are for personal use only.

The Short Term Cash Flow Planner

The Short Term Cash Flow Planner is designed to let you look at the amount of money going into and out of your home in a designated period of time. Think of it as a vertical calendar with places for paycheck amounts and places for specific expenses and when you pay them.

CAUTION -Cut and Paste only – to do otherwise can affect the math formulas.

There is a graph to the right which shows you how much cash you will have left after each expense and it keeps a running numeric total for you as well. Here is an example of how this might help focus your attention on cash flow. Imagine it shows you that you only have $50 of unobligated money left between now and your next paycheck 8 days away!  This highlights the need to either find ways to cut obligated expenses, or to increase the amount of income that comes in.

While the planner is set up currently for weeks, it can be modified to show months or years, easily. This allows you look at current income and expenses for the next two years to see where you will have money for things such as a new car or school expenses.

The Yearly Planner

The Yearly Planner is designed to provide a picture, first quickly and then in more detail, of the income and expenses of your household.

When you open the Planner, you come first to the Quick Cash Flow Spreadsheet. The first portion of this spreadsheet is Net Income for the home. In this portion you calculate the amount of money which comes into the home FOR THE YEAR. This is the amount of your paycheck times the number of paychecks in a year. There are lines for additional, known incomes. This amount is utilized through the other spreadsheet in this group. It you want to change your net income on the 2nd or 3rd sheets, change it on this first one only.

The next section is for Big, Known Household expenses. Some are paid monthly, like auto payments and rents/mortgages. These numbers can be put in column c as monthly payments and the yearly total will be automatically calculated and put in the last column. These numbers are also carried to other pages of the spreadsheet package. Some numbers may not be paid monthly and need to be calculated for the year and entered. They will then be carried into the last column. Some of these numbers will also be carried to later pages.

This section gives you a yearly total for these items and subtracts that total amount from your net income and shows you how much is left over. Just below this is a section which asks you for the monthly costs of gasoline, food, entertainment, and miscellaneous expenses. The spreadsheet will automatically calculate these into a yearly cost and subtract it from the amount leftover from your income. This number is carried over to other spread sheet pages as well.

By completing this Quick Cash Flow sheet, you get an eye-opening look at how much money is left in your personal financial cash flow plan for everything else, like clothes, maintenance, repairs, etc. This motivates you to go to the Yearly Planning page and look at all your expenses to achieve a positive cash flow balance.

Going to the second spreadsheet in this package gives you a chance to think about all your expenses in the year and distribute your income appropriately. At the bottom of the sheet is a “What’s Left Over” entry which is calculated each time an item of yearly expense is entered. You can see the yearly cost of your monthly expenses is already included in this total. If you decide to change some of the monthly expenses in order to better budget you money, make the change on the Quick Cash Flow sheet.

If, after you have determined and entered all the expenses for the upcoming 12 months, there is no money left or you have a negative number: Go back and realistically lower some of the categories. Remember that some may have to be lowered on the Quick Cash Flow sheet to change the later sheets.

The Yearly Expense Tracker

The third spreadsheet is the Yearly Expense Tracker. Here the expenses in each category are put in for each month. The totals amounts which are budgeted, spent, and left over in each category are automatically maintained.

It may be easier to track daily expenses somewhere on than in the Yearly Expense Tracker. At the end of the month you can total all the expenses within a category and add the final number to the spreadsheet.  It may be easier to have a single number in the month for Clothing than putting in an entry and adding rows and changing formulas every time you buy a pair of socks. The separate expense sheet can provide a record of monies spent, if you want to go back and check the details.

Using Pen and Paper

While this article will walk through how to use the financial worksheets developed to help you keep track of your finances, there is no need to purchase a computer just for this purpose.  This method can be employed simply using a pen and a notebook.

Use the first 12 pages of the notebook for the 12 months of the year.  Each page should have the name of the month, the Allowable Expense Total for the month, and the Monthly Expenses (Food, Gasoline, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous) and the amount allowed for each category.

The Dollar Figure at the top of the page was our maximum expense for the month in these categories. Each day, you will write the amount spent in any category and subtracted that amount from the total in that category. You will then always be aware of how much is left.  If, within that month, you have to pay more for food or gas than budgeted, you can look at your other expenses and try to trim them to offset the additional expense.  The goal is to spend no more than the allotted amounts overall within a month.

The next pages in the book should be your Yearly Categories. These are all the other expense categories for the home. These amounts are based on your Net Income for the home: that is the money that comes in from your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly paychecks. Do not include your tax returns in your financial plans. Instead, any money returned can be put in to savings or to more aggressively pay off debt.

It is our hope these tools simplify seeing your cash flow in a useful way, so that you are able to make effective money management decisions based upon the reality of your situation.

Work/Life Connections-EAP is available for confidential interviews and discussions about how to set up your cash flow plans. We also give the Cash Flow Management presentation throughout the year. To contact us, call (615) 936-1327.

Download a zip file containing the Cash Flow Management Spreadsheet Tools


Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Facing Life's Challenges, Resource Articles, Work/Life Connections and tagged , ,

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