Use Summer Downtime to Prepare Your College Budget for Fall

  • WPS Office, Education, Productivity

Excel spreadsheets can be a student’s best friend for getting organized at any time of year. This summer, why not use spreadsheets to help you create a better budgeting system for the upcoming school year?

Before you get started with Excel, though, consider one caveat: to make the most of the program, it helps to use a spreadsheet app from WPS Office called WPS Spreadsheets. And don’t worry about adding this WPS Office app as a line item in your budget—it comes as part of a package of free office software that you can download right from the WPS website.

Why do you need the Spreadsheets app if you’re already working in the Microsoft office suite? For one thing, if you’re a busy student, WPS Office makes it much easier to access and edit your Excel spreadsheets from wherever you are, any time of year.

For example, if you’re traveling this summer, you can start planning your budget anywhere that your smartphone works, even while on vacation. That’s because the free office suite from WPS Office comes equipped with WPS Cloud. This allows you to not only view your Excel files (as well as PowerPoint and Microsoft Word files) from your mobile phone or computer on the fly—but also lets you edit the files. And this professional office file cloud storage service also can stay out of your budget, since 1GB of document storage space is included free of charge when you download the WPS Office app.

You now know how easy it is to use cloud connectivity to boost your productivity and make working on your Excel files very convenient this summer. So here are a few tips to get you started in crafting a college budget for improved expense tracking and money management:

Figure out your fixed/variable expenses and income sources. An essential part of effective school budgeting is figuring out how much money you expect to have to spend, while balancing that against your income sources and savings. So as a first step to building your budget plan, make a list of all of your fixed expenses (such as tuition, dormitory/housing fees, monthly parking rate, and dining hall meals). Next, list your variable expenses that may change from month to month (such as textbook fees, entertainment, restaurants, and clothing). Finally, list your sources of income and savings (such as income from a summer job, financial aid, and scholarship money). These are the categories that you’ll want to account for in your spreadsheet.

Choose your template. Once you have a general idea of what your income and expenses will be this fall, it’s time to put Excel and WPS Spreadsheets to work. The beauty of Spreadsheets is that this WPS Office app takes the guesswork out of budget creation since it includes a templated approach to table formatting. Simply review the template options available when you launch the app and select how you want to organize and present your budget data. Not only does the app include built-in table and cell styles, but it also includes an array of customizable charts that make it easier to track and view your progress.

Get familiar with formulas. Many students turn to WPS Spreadsheets because of its ability to calculate formulas for you. No more number crunching or late-night calculations—you can instead tell the app which formulas and functions you’d like to use depending on your budgeting goals. At the most basic level, you can use the formulas in Spreadsheets to help you add and subtract columns of numbers with one click, as well as count data items and look up figures within a specified range.

These are just a few of the benefits to using Spreadsheets for college budgeting. You can also explore using time-saving macros to store common commands in the program, and take advantage of the app’s ability to open, edit, and manage multiple Excel sheets simultaneously—even on your smartphone. So what are you waiting for? Have some fun this summer, but save some of your downtime to plan ahead for next fall!