Hello and something which works for me

Hi everyone 

Im a new member of the MSE forum though have been aware of it for quite a while. I first came across Martin and MSE on a mental health forum around 2015 (my dx is bipolar affective disorder but its way more complex than that) and have followed it ever since with considerable success. Im in a good place financially and have been for many years so thought Id share something which really works for me, hope that’s ok?

My most important tool for financial security is my use of a spreadsheet which both logs every item of non-cash expenditure but acts as a cash flow forecast several months ahead. Importantly it functions as a means of accrual accounting too. I was fortunate to learn about spreadsheets many years ago when employed as a purchasing manager, first MS Excel and latterly Apple’s Numbers (which works seemlessly with my iPad), checking my files this morning I have them all going back to 2001. 

I update it every morning with the previous day’s transactions cross checking to my Halifax current account especially as well as my savings in Nationwide and YBS. Whilst its great as a record of my spending its most valuable quality is the way I accrue on it for future costs. So for example since last autumn when it became apparent energy costs were going to escalate Ive been gradually increasing my accrual for this so that when I exit my EON fix in July and my monthly direct debit probably doubles I’ll be comfortable to pay that new cost. 

I’ll add that my income is really quite small, just two modest occupational pensions, but I am blessed to own my home outright. 

It is said that in order to control something we need to first measure it and in the case of personal finance this is absolutely true, for me at least. 


  • marybmaryb Forumite
    4.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Cash flow forecasts and accruing for known expenditure both absolutely essential.  I still use Microsoft Money as it still works even though Microsoft don't support it any more.  It's essentially a giant Excel spreadsheet but set up to be easy to use.  You can put in future transactions as well as keeping a register of actual transactions and see where you will be at any given point in time
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
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