Savings Goal Tracker
Do you budget? How much of your monthly savings do you allocate to each of your savings goals? How do you keep track of how much you have saved for college, furniture, vacation, or Christmas? Or do you just lump all your savings together and figure it out later? The new Savings Goal Tracker by Vertex42™ makes it possible to easily track your savings goals. The spreadsheet functions both as a Savings Account Register as well as a Goal Tracker, and is a great tool if you are using Quicken or a Budget Planner spreadsheet. I explain more about how to use it below.
Savings Goal Trackerfor Excel
This spreadsheet has some very handy features to help you track your savings goals:
1. You can calculate how much to allocate to each goal based on percentages.
2. You can enter deposits and withdrawals like you would in a basic account register.
3. Visualize the progress of your goals with a nice chart.
This spreadsheet is not make predictions like the Savings Calculator. It is designed to help you budget and track your savings.
How to Use the Savings Goal Tracker
When managing a budget, you might use the technique of considering money that you put into savings as an "Expense", because putting money into savings means that the money is leaving your spending account. So, if you have a general budget category called To Savings or maybe a main category called To Savings with a few different sub-categories like Emergency Fund, Vacation, Christmas, it means that the money is leaving your spending account to be placed into these specific separate "Savings Accounts" or "Goals".
How Many Actual Savings Accounts Do You Have?
My guess is that you might have a Savings Account (high yield or perhaps just a simple normal bank savings account), possibly a Money Market Account (to take advantage of a slightly better rate), and probably a 401(k), IRA, CD, etc.
The point is that if you are like the majority of people, you lump all your short- and medium-term savings into one or two savings accounts. You probably keep your retirement in a 401(k) and IRA(s) and maybe you have a separate account for college savings, but your Vacation, Christmas, Travel, Furniture, New Car, Downpayment on a Home, and other savings are probably lumped together.
New online tools like Mint.com are starting to make tracking savings goals easier, but if you are like me, you'll probably find the Savings Goal Tracker very useful.
Deposits, Withdrawals, and Splits
Are you familiar with what a "Split" transaction is? In Quicken, this is how you can allocate a single transaction (like a charge from Target) to multiple budget categories.
Well, think of a Deposit in the Savings Goal Tracker as a Split transaction. Instead of just entering the total deposit amount in the register, you actually Split the amount into your various savings goals.
Interest earned can also be "split" or "allocated" to different goals.
Even Withdrawals can be recorded as coming from multiple goals. This might be necessary if you were using the savings tracker to save for a few different irregular expenses (like a semi-annual insurance bill, quarterly estimated taxes, Christmas, etc.) and needed to make a single transfer into your spending account to make payments on more than one irregular expense.