App review: Excel (3 stars)
Pros: Highly flexible, large range of analysis methods and very powerful
Cons: Very technical, DIY data input and difficult to use on the move
After getting my first full time job and becoming financially independent last year, I promised my parents that I'd never ask for an interest free loan from them again. After I started taking things into my own hands, I wanted to make sure that I could prop up my own financial safety net.
I've always roughly tracked my spending. The way that a Monzo card tracks spending is phenomenal. The only reason that I don't still use Monzo is because I'm trying to boost my credit score. So I began exporting my bank statements instead. Now I monitor my spending on Excel.
Excel is incredibly powerful. If I can think of a new way of analysing my spending, Excel can probably do the calculations. I've made some projections, set goals, made various graphs, identified all of my large expenditure and more. This lets me look at my spending from any angle that I like, which really helps me answer questions about my spending habits.
Although I can calculate my budgets on Excel, I can't look at it on my phone whenever I like without an Office 365 subscription. I also have to assign an expenditure category to every purchase that I make. This can be very time consuming. Although it does help me realise where I'm spending my money. It also takes a bit of time to set up.
I wanted to build my own spreadsheet instead of downloading one. This takes a lot longer than simply downloading an app.
But when I sit down every month to look at my spending, it provides me with an incredibly comprehensive view on my spending, and this really helps me plan for the future.