I track my savings with the most powerful software in the world!!… Microsoft Excel!
Excel can do a whole lot more than most people think it can. As well as being an awesome data entry tool, you can enhance your sheet to the point of it being a fully featured form. You can even add Python and Visual Basic code to run complicated macros which calculate anything you want.
The beauty of Excel really shines when you have a lot of data, you can do tons with it! Animated pie charts, interactive graphs, anything! This is why it really shocks me when people use or even pay for external software to track their expenses and savings. With Excel, it’s fully customizable, so you really can get a tailored product. It’s pretty damn easy to do too… Sure you might spend a little bit of time Googling how to structure a certain formula, but you’ll get it in no time.
I made a mega Excel sheet especially for Saving Ninja readers. I wanted it to be as simple as possible to track your monthly savings, but also provide the most useful stats possible. I even went the extra mile and added some Visual Basic code to calculate the expected time in which you’ll reach financial independence.
The document assumes that you have a budget and you know what your annual expenses are expected to be. I have a separate Excel sheet to calculate my budget, but I’ll be writing about that in a different post. It also assumes that you know your house value (if you own a house) and your mortgage interest rate. I wanted to track my savings as effortlessly as possible, so I added formulas which use your mortgage interest rate to automatically calculate how much house equity you have paid off every month. The predicted investment growth is used to calculate your ‘Expected Time To FI’. This updates when you click the ‘calculate’ button. The Visual Basic code which runs when you click this button recursively simulates future months based on your average savings rate. It adds your predicted investment growth to your investment pots and also adds your house equity. The recursion stops when you’ve successfully got enough savings to retire on (using the 4% rule). I will increase the complexity of this in the future, and possibly add some customisability for the inputs.
This section of the Excel document also shows lots of useful information based off your savings so far such as total pot worth, total growth and total interest earnt (in the current year).
The next section of the document is where you’ll be updating your total pots each month. It will then use these figures to calculate how much interest you’ve earned and how much your pots have grown (or decreased). All of the orange boxes are user inputs; the rest is automatic. As you can see, the house equity (other than the starting figure) is calculated automatically based on your monthly contribution.
Finally, you’re monthly contribution section. Here you’ll enter how much you’ve contributed each month. It will use these figures to calculate your savings rate and figure out how much interest you’ve earned since the previous month.
Draw Down Calculator
A lot of people will be trying to calculate how much money they need in their ISA to last them until they reach their pension pot. For this I built the Drawdown Calculator. This is detatched from all of the other data on the Spreadsheet (other than expected annual return). You simply add your pot and your yearly drawdown and hit ‘Calculate’. It then iterates month by month, drawing down and adding interest until you finally run out of money. It will then let you know how long it lasted in the ‘Years Until Depleted’ cell.
Compound Interest Calculator
Calculate all of your compound interest until your hearts content! Input your pot, yearly deposits and months of compounding and hit the calculate button.
I’ll be using this spreadsheet each month to update my savings and to help me share with you guys how much my savings have grown. I hope to make it into a bigger spreadsheet in the future, with lots more nice coding features and fancy graphs. When the new year starts, I’ll make a ‘Summary’ page which amalgamates the data from each year into one useful, graph-filled sheet. The editable copy of this spreadsheet (along with lots of other content) is available on the Secret Ninja Page which all Saving Ninja subscribers have access to. Subscribers will also get an email update whenever new features have been added. If you’re not yet a subscriber; subscribe below. It’s free, and you can always unsubscribe if you don’t want to keep in touch.
I’ll be using this page as a landing page for any special requests or questions regarding this spreadsheet. If you have any feedback or even if you’ve found it helpful, please do leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you!