Chapter Three

Scenario #1:

Lucy wants to get ahead and pay her tuition payments, and afford the basic costs of living in downtown Chicago. She decided to try something simple. She set up a budget in Excel. She wanted to better manage her life, and was scared of the horror stories of graduate students borrowing so much money for college, and never being able to find a job, and staying in debt forever. She wanted to take precautionary steps to avoid unnecessary hang ups after school, to alleviate potential future problems that s many others are going through in a tough economy. She decided to start her journey towards financial freedom early, knowing that she would have to pay back some money to the federal government for her subsidized student loans.

She is one of the lucky ones who is able to both work and go to school full-time. She works at Starbucks, and has health insurance through them. She is paid salary, which means she gets the same amount of money for her work every tow weeks. Here’s what she did first: she arranged all of her expenses in order of priority first, like this:

Then Lucy renamed her worksheet by the month and year (January 2014). And she added all the expenses in like this:

She placed a function in cell B16 that is “=sum(“ then the cursor turned into a plus sign, then she highlighted cells b2 through b12, then she then hit enter to look like this:

Then she realized that she had expenses that occurred not only in the first half of the month, but the second half. She also highlighted all of the cells with numbers in them and right-clicked, format cells, then clicked “currency” to change it to dollar amounts.

In cell b20, she placed a function in it “=sum(“ click on cell b19, hit the subtract (-) sign on your keyboard, then click on cell b16, then hit enter to get a negative 40 dollars. She was negative 40 dollars in her bank account for that half of the month, which means she is facing a 35-dollar overdraft fee from her bank net month.

After realizing this, she had to “cut” out her expense for “miscellaneous” money to spend during the first part of the month. The next thing she did was held her cursor over the bottom right corner of the highlighted cell b20, it turned into a black plus symbol suddenly, she clicked and held and dragged to the right into cell c20, to look like this:

So she realized that she was up 800 dollars in the second half of the month, but still needed to address her over spending for the first half of the month while paying an anticipated 35 dollar overdraft fee. She then held her cursor in the black grey box above the first row numbered 1, and left-clicked it:

She then hit “ctrl+c”, that is the control button and held it at the same time as the c button, which copied the entire worksheet. She then went into the next worksheet currently labeled “Sheet2” and pasted using “ctrl+v”, like this:

The miscellaneous expense in cell b12 reflects the amount of the overdraft fee charged, as expected. Lucy budgeted for it though. This is the same thing. However, she really wanted the same format given that her expenses occur the same time each month. One key change however is factoring in the “carry-over” mount from the January 2014 worksheet cell c20. She then added that amount to cell b19. Then she placed the function in cell b19 “=sum(“, highlighted cells b2 through b15 again, hit the plus (+) symbol, and since the function was still active she went back into the January2014 worksheet and clicked on cell c20. This happened:

Oops! An error occurred. She had to undo her action by hitting “ctrl+z” at the same time to undo her action that led to the error. After she did this, she went back to cell b19 and inserted the proper function “=sum(“ then clicked on cell b16, hit the plus symbol again (+) and then went into the January2014 worksheet again and clicked on cell c20 and hit enter. It should look like this:

She realized something wasn’t adding up. She forgot to add the negative 40 dollars to cell c19 in the previous month worksheet, which would better accurately reflect her actual bank account. The January2014 worksheet should look like this:

After this correction she went back into worksheet “Sheet2” and saw a corresponding alteration as a result of her fix. It looks like this:

[stopped here – make fixes here and after]

Now that looks better, and it accurately reflects what is in her bank account. Now she has to do the same for cell c19, like this:

The function this time is a bit tricky, she realized. She wanted to add her salary paycheck of 1000 dollars, plus the carry-over amount from the first half of the month (cell b20), while subtracting the expenses for the second half of the month in cell c16.

Note: These blogs are difficult to follow, since they do not display figures that I refer to in the context. I offer you two videos here that you can easily follow step by step to learn how to budget in Excel:


You can also buy my E-Reader book for Kindle entitled “B.I.E. – B.I.E. DEBT: HOW TO BUDGET IN EXCEL” by Daniel G. Dybowski

Thank you.