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Are you ready to take control of your finances and start achieving your savings goals? One of the best ways to do that is by using sinking funds.
Now, you might be thinking, “What the heck is a sinking fund?”
Well, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Simply put, a sinking fund is a way to save money for a specific goal over a period of time. Whether you’re saving up for a vacation, a down payment on a house, or a new car, sinking funds can help you get there in an organized and manageable way.
But how do you keep track of all these different savings goals?
That’s where sinking fund spreadsheets come in. With a sinking fund spreadsheet, you can easily organize and track all your sinking funds in one place.
In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to creating your own sinking fund spreadsheet using Excel or Google Sheets. I’ll also provide tips and strategies for keeping track of your sinking funds and making sure you stay on track to reach your goals. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea, if that’s more your style) and let’s get started!
What is a Sinking Fund?
Let’s dive a little deeper into what a sinking fund actually is. A sinking fund is a type of savings plan that allows you to save money for a specific goal over a period of time. Unlike an emergency fund, which is meant to cover unexpected expenses like car repairs or medical bills, sinking funds are used for planned expenses that you know are coming.
Sinking funds can be used for a wide variety of goals, such as:
- Saving for a down payment on a house
- Paying for a wedding
- Taking a dream vacation
- Buying a new car
- Covering the cost of annual expenses like car insurance or property taxes
The beauty of sinking funds is that they allow you to break down a large expense into smaller, more manageable chunks. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a big price tag, you can save a little bit each month and watch your progress over time.
One important thing to note is that sinking funds are different from emergency funds. While an emergency fund is designed to cover unexpected expenses, sinking funds are used for planned expenses that you know are coming. By saving up for these expenses in advance, you can avoid going into debt or using your emergency fund.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of sinking funds, let’s move on to how to calculate sinking funds in Excel (and Google Sheets).
Related Post: 35 Sinking Fund Categories Ideas for Your Budget
How to Calculate Sinking Funds in Excel (and Google Sheets)
Calculating sinking funds may sound complicated, but with the help of a spreadsheet, it’s actually pretty simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculating sinking funds in Excel (and Google Sheets).
We used this same process to figure out how much we needed to go on an anniversary trip to Ireland. Using sinking funds, we save enough to pay for our entire 2 week vacation with cash.
Determine the Total Cost of Your Sinking Fund Goal
The first step is to figure out how much money you need to save. Let’s say, for example, that you want to save up $2,000 for a down payment on a new car.
Decide How Long You Have to Save for Your Goal
Next, decide how many months you have to save. Let’s say you want to buy the car in two years, which means you have 24 months to save.
Divide the Total Cost of Your Goal by the Number of Months You Have to Save
Divide the total cost of your goal by the number of months you have to save. In our example, $2,000 divided by 24 months equals $83.33 per month.
Add the Calculated Amount for Your Sinking Fund to Your Budget Spreadsheet
The best way to remember to save money is to treat your sinking funds like an expense. After you calculate your sinking funds, create a new line item in your monthly budget spreadsheet and add that amount into your budget. Buy a simple spreadsheet here for just $5.
I’m also a big fan of automatic transfers. When you set up automatic transfers for each sinking fund goal, it’s impossible to forget.
Related Post: Sinking Funds for Beginners
How to Make a Sinking Fund Spreadsheet
Creating a sinking fund table can help you stay organized and track your progress towards your financial goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a sinking fund table in Excel (and Google Sheets).
And if you love tutorial posts for helping your finances, also try Debt Snowball Spreadsheet: How to Make One Today.
You can also watch this video if you’re more of a video tutorial person.
Step 1: Open a New Spreadsheet and Enter Your Sinking Fund Goals
Alright, open a new spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets. You’ll enter your sinking fund goals across the top row starting in column 2. I like to start with our emergency fund in column 2 and add my other savings goals from there.
I know an emergency fund isn’t the same as a sinking fund, but it’s helpful to have all of your savings goals in one spot.
Step 2: Enter the Starting Amount for Each Sinking Fund Category
In column 1, row 2, type in “Starting Amount”. Then go across the entire row and enter the amount you currently have saved for each saving goal. If you don’t have any saved for a goal, that’s totally fine. This is just a starting point, and your sinking fund will grow as you continually add money to them each month.
Formatting tip: remember to format all the cells as currency. This way when you enter numbers, the excel or google sheet will automatically change them to dollars.
I’d also recommend freezing row 1 and column 1. Do this by clicking “View – Freeze” and then select the row/column 1.
Step 3: Add Months and Years to Your Sinking Fund Spreadsheet
In order to track how much you’re adding every month, you need a place to account for the months and years.
In Column 1, right under the cell marked “Starting Balance” enter the current month and year. Then continue to add months and years below that cell until you get to the end of the year.
You can add as many months as you want. I personally like to add the months for the current year and at the start of a new year I can add an entire year’s worth of months in column 1. This helps me track how much money I’m adding and using from year to year.
Step 4: Use the SUM Formula to Automatically Add Up Your Sinking Funds
This is where the magic happens.
Skip 1 cell underneath the last month you entered into Column 1 and type the word “Total.”
Next, go over to the total cell in Column 2 to enter your first SUM formula.
Using the example from the images in the article, this is what the formula will look like in cell B15
You can test to see if your formula is correct by typing in a dollar amount into any cell in Column 2. If you did it right, your total column should change to reflect the sum of your numbers in that column.
Step 5: Repeat the SUM Formula in All of Your Total Cells
After you’ve checked that your formula works, click in the cell you just typed the formula. Then click the small blue box or circle at the bottom right of the cell. Once you’ve done that, drag the cell to the right for each sinking fund you entered into your sinking fund table.
This process will duplicate the SUM formula for each of your sinking funds.
Step 6: Create a Formula to Add Up All of Your Sinking Funds
Alright, this is the home stretch.
The best part of a sinking fund spreadsheet is that it tracks all of your sinking fund goals in one place. It’s also helpful to see how much you have in TOTAL for ALL of your sinking funds combined.
This combined number should be a pretty close match to how much money is in your savings account.
To do this, go down a couple cells from the “TOTAL” cell in column 1 and type in “TOTAL IN SAVINGS ACCOUNT”.
Now you’re going to enter the same SUM formula as before. It will look something like this:
Now you have a way to track each sinking fund individually AND the total amount in your savings account. It should function like this short video when you’re finished.
Step 7: Adding and Subtracting Money from Your Sinking Funds
When you transfer money to your sinking funds each month, you need to go into your sinking fund tracker and enter the amount you’re adding to your savings account.
Like you saw earlier, the formula will automatically add the money to your total.
Do the same thing when you subtract from your sinking fund.
For example, if you go on a vacation, open up your sinking fund spreadsheet and enter a – or minus in the cell, and your fancy formulas will do the work for you.
Now it’s time to save money and have fun doing it!
How to Keep Track of Sinking Funds
Now that you’ve created your sinking fund spreadsheet and table, it’s important to keep track of your progress and make adjustments as needed. Here are some tips for keeping track of your sinking funds:
Treat Your Sinking Funds Like an Expense
Treat your sinking funds like any other expense in your budget. This means allocating a certain amount each month to each sinking fund goal and ensuring you make those contributions.
Set Up Automatic Transfers
To make saving even easier, consider setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your sinking fund account. This way, you don’t have to worry about remembering to make the transfer each month.
Regularly Review and Update Your Spreadsheet and Table
Make sure to regularly review and update your sinking fund spreadsheet and table to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals. You might want to do this monthly or quarterly, depending on your preference.
Make Adjustments as Needed
If you find that you’re not saving enough to meet your goals, consider adjusting your monthly savings amount. Or, if you have a change in plans and no longer need to save for a particular goal, adjust your sinking fund table accordingly.
By following these tips, you can keep track of your sinking funds and ensure you’re on track to meet your financial goals. Remember, sinking funds are a great way to save for planned expenses and avoid going into debt. With a little bit of planning and organization, you can achieve your financial goals and live the life you want!
By now, you should have a good understanding of sinking funds and how to use sinking fund spreadsheets and tables to achieve your financial goals.
- Sinking funds are a powerful tool that can help you break down big expenses into smaller, more manageable chunks.
- By setting up sinking funds for your goals and regularly tracking your progress, you can avoid going into debt and achieve your financial dreams.
- To create your own sinking fund spreadsheet and table, follow the steps we’ve outlined in this article.
- Treat your sinking funds like any other expense in your budget and make adjustments as needed.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to create your own sinking fund spreadsheet and table using the steps we’ve outlined in this article. And don’t forget to treat your sinking funds like any other expense in your budget and make adjustments as needed.
Next step is to add more sinking fund categories to add to your fancy new spreadsheet!