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Where are the best Expense Spreadsheets?
Old 02-10-2014, 10:18 AM   #1
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Where are the best Expense Spreadsheets?

I'm looking around at getting an expense spreadsheet so that I can track discretionary and non discretionary expenses. Hoping to FIRE in 2015. Have lots of money (relatively speaking) and thinking I live well below my means, but I've got to prove it to myself. I tried looking at Jeff Yeager's worksheet, but it is in a newer Excel format and being the cheapskate I am I don't have the latest Excel. Does anyone have it in the Excel 97 format?

Basically I'm looking for a long list of expenses, everything from Sewer, Water, Garbage, Insurance:Car, Insurance:Umbrella, Restaurants... etc. to Vacation and Entertainment expenses. I would imaging the ultimate spreadsheet would have lots of expense categories, lots of which I didn't think about, that I could pair down. Of course I would also want it in the older Excel format (works good enough, why spend money to upgrade). I'm NOT looking for a tracking spreadsheet, I already have over 15 years in Quicken (also an ancient version, also why upgrade as it works great).

Anyway let's use this thread to collect the latest/best/usable expense worksheets, unless you can point me to a thread that has a lot of these.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #2
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Have you looked at Mint.com? I find it very helpful in seeing where the money goes.

It does require a bit of "training" (telling it what expense goes where) but after a while it is all automatic.

You can also download a CSV if you want to play with spreadsheets eventually.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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Marko,
A while ago I looked at Mint.com, but with my fiscal frugality and use of Quicken religiously I found that I didn't need something that was web based and possibly out of my control. I'm not paranoid or anything. I have been a computer programmer all my life so I do understand these things. Cloud based apps (which is what Mint is, before the rest of the world learned what "cloud" was) are not for me.

Anyway, I am looking for a simple list and/or Excel spreadsheet so that I can find out exactly how much I have been spending. I can come up with the list myself, but I'd really like to see what others have come up with for a few reasons, one) to help me realize categories I may have missed and two) because I'm lazy. It's going to take several nights of manipulating my Quicken and diving down into receipts to determine what I've actually spent. It would be nice to see what I'm diving down into to help me with relevant and complete categories.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #4
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Here's one expense category list, but it's easy enough to Google for more lists or spreadsheets. I couldn't begin to know what would suit your needs best.

Quicken 2012 All-Inclusive Category List - For Dummies

I've written my own, it's pretty easy to just enter everything in a format like a check register with preassigned expense category drop downs, a budget in the same format, and then summarize totals, variances, etc. using pivot tables. YMMV
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:05 AM   #5
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Midpack,

Thanks, that's a start. Not very complete though. They have categories for "Car Wash" but not for "ISP" ? Seriously, who pays for a car wash, or at least enough to justify an entire category, while ISP charges have got to be significant for almost everyone.

Still looking for something a little more real and complete, maybe skewed toward cheapskates, which I am.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Marko,
A while ago I looked at Mint.com, but with my fiscal frugality and use of Quicken religiously I found that I didn't need something that was web based and possibly out of my control. I'm not paranoid or anything. I have been a computer programmer all my life so I do understand these things. Cloud based apps (which is what Mint is, before the rest of the world learned what "cloud" was) are not for me.

Anyway, I am looking for a simple list and/or Excel spreadsheet so that I can find out exactly how much I have been spending. I can come up with the list myself, but I'd really like to see what others have come up with for a few reasons, one) to help me realize categories I may have missed and two) because I'm lazy. It's going to take several nights of manipulating my Quicken and diving down into receipts to determine what I've actually spent. It would be nice to see what I'm diving down into to help me with relevant and complete categories.
Doesn't Quicken do this already ? The "Reports" feature tells you in seconds where the money goes and you can customize it (reports and spending categories).
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:27 AM   #7
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I tried looking at Jeff Yeager's worksheet, but it is in a newer Excel format and being the cheapskate I am I don't have the latest Excel. Does anyone have it in the Excel 97 format?
OpenOffice ( LibreOffice ) will open old and nwe MS office format. Also MS has a file converter for the newer formats. I have installed for many people with old versions of office Download Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats from Official Microsoft Download Center

You could create your own, but I'm not sure what you are looking for. You said you do not want a tracking sheet, what are you looking to do with it ?
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:32 AM   #8
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Arky,

Quicken does do reports, but my ancient version won't export it. That and the fact that I'm going to have to filter and massage what I do have since the categories I've created are not always the best is going to force me to gather and enter by hand into a spreadsheet anyway.

Now the search at the top of this page through early-retirement.org "powered by Google" does not yeild very good results, but I notice on the bottom of this page there is a "Similar Threads" section which does look promising. I would have hoped though that a thread like this would have already been done to extreme and the results posted in a sticky thread in the "FIRE and money" forum, but that does not seem to be the case.

Am I missing something or looking in the wrong place?
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:53 PM   #9
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rbmrtn,

Good point about OpenOffice. I do have it on my netbook. The thing that concerned me about Jeff Yeager's spreadsheet was that I was able to open it at work with the latest copy of Excel, but when I tried to convert it to the 97 compatible it crashed Excel. I don't know if we have some kind of "special" Excel but so far conversion has not worked. I will try OpenOffice.

You asked about what I really wanted in a spreadsheet. I would like a list of Manditory Expenses and Discretionary Expenses. I can get a yearly figure for each element by going through my Quicken (like I say with massaging and interpretation). At the end I would have a figure for yearly Manditory expenses and Discretionary expenses and would have not forgotten anything important. This will allow me to meaningfully enter a withdrawal figure to FireCalc and other planning tools. I don't REALLY know how much I spend each year. I am fortunate enough to not worry as I save more than I spend, I suppose... I don't really know though exactly how much I use yearly as I've never had to worry about it, but I WILL have to worry about it when there is no longer a paycheck.

By the by, I've been Go-ogling my brains out since the beginning of this post and have found no spreadsheet or even list of expenses that I could turn into a spreadsheet that have more than a few dozen expense categories. Most of them are meant for people just starting a budget. I know there are spreadsheets out there. A while ago I remember seeing one that had average US expense for each category based on current gross income, but for the life of me I can't find it now when I'm ready to sit down and create such a worksheet.

Anyone...Buehler, Buehler...Buehler...
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:29 PM   #10
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I doubt too many of us use anything like two dozen categories, though I use about 30 in Quicken. Doesn't matter how many you use, but it is good to make sure you've thought of everything. We have had a thread or two on retirement expenses you might not have thought about.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:41 PM   #11
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rbmrtn,

Good point about OpenOffice. I do have it on my netbook. The thing that concerned me about Jeff Yeager's spreadsheet was that I was able to open it at work with the latest copy of Excel, but when I tried to convert it to the 97 compatible it crashed Excel. I don't know if we have some kind of "special" Excel but so far conversion has not worked. I will try OpenOffice.

You asked about what I really wanted in a spreadsheet. I would like a list of Manditory Expenses and Discretionary Expenses. I can get a yearly figure for each element by going through my Quicken (like I say with massaging and interpretation). At the end I would have a figure for yearly Manditory expenses and Discretionary expenses and would have not forgotten anything important. This will allow me to meaningfully enter a withdrawal figure to FireCalc and other planning tools. I don't REALLY know how much I spend each year. I am fortunate enough to not worry as I save more than I spend, I suppose... I don't really know though exactly how much I use yearly as I've never had to worry about it, but I WILL have to worry about it when there is no longer a paycheck.
I tried to open yeagers spreadsheet with MS file converter and it got an error opening file. So I don't what he has in there, could be macros, VBS scripts or something. Openoffice is worth a shot .

So I don't see a lot of difference in what you want and a tracking spreadsheet ( might be missing something ). Many here created their own sheets, I did. Sit down and make a list of everything you spend, checking account, CC account etc ( I found keeping track of cash is a lot more trouble so I try not use cash ). I don't think you'd really miss any big ticket things, then check and adjust if you find something missing. It took a few years of tweaking and reorganizing to get it where I wanted it and I still rearrange some things.

You are not alone in transitioning from paycheck mode to no paycheck. I used to keep track of things by income - spending = savings. That doesn't help much when looking to analyze were the money is really going.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:46 PM   #12
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If you are using Quicken, why not create the categories you are interested in? Expense categories are so personal - eg. you want an ISP category, but for me, that goes under "Housing:cable"

IIRC, older versions of quicken allowed you to 'print' to a file in a csv format.
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Old 02-10-2014, 03:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Midpack,

Thanks, that's a start. Not very complete though. They have categories for "Car Wash" but not for "ISP" ? Seriously, who pays for a car wash, or at least enough to justify an entire category, while ISP charges have got to be significant for almost everyone.

Still looking for something a little more real and complete, maybe skewed toward cheapskates, which I am.
All the more reason to start with a list like the one above and modify as needed. More is not necessarily better IMO, over the years I split out a few that were too big and eliminated others that were trivial (small or erratic frequency). All I want from expense tracking is how much I am spending and the detail to see where I'm off track (gain/loss vs budget), more detail is just clutter, again IMO. YMMV
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:24 PM   #14
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Midpack,

Thanks, that's a start. Not very complete though. They have categories for "Car Wash" but not for "ISP" ? Seriously, who pays for a car wash, or at least enough to justify an entire category, while ISP charges have got to be significant for almost everyone.

Still looking for something a little more real and complete, maybe skewed toward cheapskates, which I am.
It's there. Look under "Internet".

sailor,
whose DW sneaks in Car washes as other Quicken categories. But it's a small price to pay for marital bliss
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:41 PM   #15
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You're making me feel like a simple-minded fool. I track expenses in just ten categories, and only five of them have subcategories.
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:49 PM   #16
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I like making my own categories.

I'll bet I'm the only person here who has a separate category for "video games & consoles", but doesn't have separate categories for "travel" or "entertainment".

It's MY life, MY expenditures, and I like doing categories MY way. Have fun with it!
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Old 02-10-2014, 04:55 PM   #17
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I like making my own categories.

I'll bet I'm the only person here who has a separate category for "video games & consoles", but doesn't have separate categories for "travel" or "entertainment".

It's MY life, MY expenditures, and I like doing categories MY way. Have fun with it!
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:05 PM   #18
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Both my banks offer this service. Perhaps you can look at your bank's categories:

Here is the Well's Fargo one - with all groups (bold) expanded, they paste into Excel but require a bit of HTML removal:

Auto/Transportation
Gasoline
Maintenance/Repair
Parking/Tolls
Public Transportation
Taxi
Other Auto/Transportation
Bills/Utilities
Cable/Satellite TV
Garbage/Water
Gas/Electric
Phone/Internet
Rent
Other Bills/Utilities
Business/Office
Accounting/Payroll Services
Advertising
Legal Services
Office Supplies/Furniture
Postage/Shipping
Property Lease
Wages
Wholesale
Other Business/Office
Cash/ATM
Cash Advances from Wells Fargo Credit Card
Cash from Branch
Non-Wells Fargo ATM
Wells Fargo ATM
Other Cash/ATM
Children*

Allowance
Babysitter
Child Support
Children's Activities
Daycare
Other Children
Entertainment
Arts
Books/Magazines/Newspapers
Movies
Music
Recreation/Fitness/Clubs
Sporting Events
Other Entertainment
Food/Drink
Bars/Alcohol
Coffee Shops
Fast Food
Groceries
Restaurants
Other Food/Drink
Health
Dentist
Doctor/Hospital
Eyecare
Pharmacy
Other Health
Home
Décor/Furnishings
Home Improvements
Household Services
Lawn/Garden
Other Home
Insurance/Financial
Auto Insurance
Health Insurance
Home Insurance
Life Insurance
Other Insurance/Financial
Miscellaneous
Charity/Community Org
Education
Fees/Service Charges/Dues
Other Miscellaneous*

Personal Care
Dry Cleaning/Laundry
Hair Care/Beauty Supply
Spa/Massage
Other Personal Care
Pets
Boarding/Petsitting
Pet Food/Supplies
Pet Grooming
Veterinarian
Other Pets
Shopping
Children's Supplies
Clothing/Accessories
Electronics/Software
Gifts
Sporting Goods
Toys/Hobbies
Other Shopping
Taxes
Federal Tax
Property Tax
State/Local Tax
Tax Preparation Service
Other Taxes
Travel
Airfare
Bus/Train
Cruise Ships
Lodging
Rental Car
Other Travel
Uncategorized Payments
Checks Written

The shopping group seems really strange to me.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:27 PM   #19
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I like making my own categories.

I'll bet I'm the only person here who has a separate category for "video games & consoles", but doesn't have separate categories for "travel" or "entertainment".

It's MY life, MY expenditures, and I like doing categories MY way. Have fun with it!
That said, here are the way my categories seem to have fallen in place after several years of tracking my spending:

1. Food
..........1a. groceries
..........1b. restaurants
2. Miscellaneous
..........2a. gifts
..........2b. books
..........2c. hurricane evacuation
..........2d. electronics
..........2e. haircuts
..........2f. other
3. Video games & consoles, apps
4. Car

..........4a. gasoline
..........4b. maintenance & repairs
..........4c. insurance
..........4d. other
5. House
..........5a. lawn guy
..........5b. maintenance & repairs
..........5c. improvements
..........5d. homeowners' insurance
..........5e. flood insurance
..........5f. property tax
..........5g. other
6. Utilities
..........6a. cable
..........6b. natural gas
..........6c. water, trash, sewage
..........6d. electric
..........6e. cell phone
..........6f. landline
7. Clothes
8. Fitness
..........8a. gym
..........8b. weightwatchers
..........8c. other (Concept2 rowing machine, heart rate monitor, etc; equipment, classes, no clothes)
9. Medical
..........9a. health insurance
..........9b. Medicare Part B
..........9c. prescriptions
..........9d. other
10. Income tax

In reality this is a fluid list and not at all set in stone. For example, if I should lose interest in video games (heaven forbid!) then I would merge that category into "Miscellaneous". For now, it is my main hobby and although logically it could be a subcategory of "Miscellaneous", I think it merits its own category so I gave it one!

Also, clothing is always the smallest total amount of these categories, so I might eventually create a "personal care and fitness" category and put it in there with fitness.
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:49 PM   #20
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Thanks W2R, that's getting a bit closer. I don't have a video games category, although I do seem to remember playing pong once. I guess I really thought there would be hundreds of these and I could choose the one that was most complete and trim. I am a computer programmer, and my theory is that there hasn't been a line of code written since 1981, just cut and paste of the same old code into different places. I was hoping to take such an approach to my expense spreadsheet, it'll be tough actually doing real work rather than cut and paste! Who said this would be fun? Shut your mouth.
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