Use Spreadsheets to Make College Budgeting Easier

Megan Scharar

A recent survey from EverFi and Higher One found that college students need some help managing their money. When researchers surveyed around 43,000 students from four-year colleges and two-year community colleges, they discovered that students are becoming less responsible about financial decisions even as more of them have credit cards and added buying power. The percentage of students who planned to stick to a budget to help curtail their spending dropped 10 percentage points over the two years of the study. Research has also shown that 20 percent of college students have bought things they can’t afford, and nearly one quarter think other people would find their spending habits hair-raising.

If you’re a college student, though, there’s no reason to become part of these disappointing statistics. Budgeting is not only an excellent way to develop your financial skills—it’s a valuable tool to help you reach your financial goals for your college years and beyond.

With so many interesting activities and necessary responsibilities vying for students’ attention, from social media to studying, it’s easy to see why budgeting may be put on the back burner. It’s a task that can seem tedious and time-consuming. But if you have the right digital tools at your fingertips, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s learn about how WPS Office Spreadsheets can take the snooze factor out of budgeting and set you up for simple success with your college spending plan:

All-in-One Budgeting
Students have many competing options to select from when considering a spreadsheet program, but why not choose one that offers everything you need to reach your budgeting goals? WPS Office offers an effective, versatile program called Spreadsheets that can help students get their budget done without their eyes glazing over. Here’s what it can do:

• It’s fully compatible with Microsoft Excel.

• It offers a wide range of built-in templates that automatically display when you launch the app.

• It includes dozens of charts you can customize for a visual representation of whether you’re over- or under-budget at any given time

• You can analyze your budget data for trends with commonly used spreadsheet formulas and functions that are already handily organized into categories.

• Hate styling tables? The app’s built-in table and cell styles make table formatting and organization in relation to your budgeting figures much easier.

• You can save keystrokes and time with 50 predefined keyboard shortcuts for easier data entry.

• Once you’re comfortable with the basic features of Spreadsheets, you can tap into advanced solutions like “what-if” analysis functions to help you forecast solutions to your specific budgeting challenges.

Making the App Work for You
To maximize the usefulness of the Spreadsheets program, it helps to know a little more about some of the app’s key functionality relating to formulas and macros (shortcuts):

• Finessing formulas: Formulas are what the WPS app relies on to make Spreadsheets so powerful—and they can also simplify your life as a student budgeter. In short, a formula is simply what tells the spreadsheet program the type of calculation you’d like to complete. It’s as easy as entering a formula into the program and indicating which data set you’d like to apply it to—from there, the spreadsheet does the needed calculations and produces the result. Think about using formulas any time you need to do arithmetic, count data items, test whether or not values meet certain conditions, or look up figures within a range.

• Macro magic: Macros are preset programs that can help expedite your spreadsheet budgeting by storing “shortcut” commands and functions within the program. There’s no need to retype information multiple times when you want to take care of routine spreadsheet tasks—macros can do this work behind the scenes, as if by magic. So whenever you notice that you’re about to cut and paste data that you’ve used before, stop and check out the macros available in WPS Office Spreadsheets to save many keystrokes. Macros are also useful when you want to repeat assigned formulas instead of re-entering identical formulas on different lines.

When you take the time to learn a few basic tips about WPS Spreadsheets, you can make the tool ultra-effective for your college budgeting needs. For more guidelines and information on using WPS Office, please visit our Online Knowledge Base.