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Monthly expense tracking with Excel tutorial prompt

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Request an AI such as ChatGPT to provide you with step-by-step instructions or suggest formulas for specific calculations or tasks that you want to include in your spreadsheet. Then, you can manually implement those suggestions in Excel or another spreadsheet application.

To get the most accurate and helpful response from the AI, be specific in your request by providing detailed information about your desired spreadsheet, including:

  1. Purpose of the spreadsheet: Clearly state the goal or objective of the spreadsheet.
  2. Data and structure: Specify the type of data you will be working with and the organization or layout you want for the spreadsheet (e.g., columns, rows, headers, etc.).
  3. Functions and formulas: If you have particular functions or formulas in mind, mention them so that GPT-4 can provide guidance on how to use them effectively.
  4. Additional features: If you require any special features like charts, pivot tables, or conditional formatting, mention these as well.

An example request could be:

"Please provide step-by-step instructions to create a complex spreadsheet in Excel for tracking monthly expenses. The spreadsheet should have separate sheets for each month, with columns for date, category, description, and amount. I would like to use formulas to calculate the sum of expenses for each category and the overall monthly total. Additionally, I would like to create a chart that compares the total expenses of each month."

An example output could be:

To create a complex spreadsheet in Excel for tracking monthly expenses, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Open Excel and create a new blank workbook.

  2. Rename the first worksheet:

    • Right-click on the tab labeled "Sheet1" at the bottom of the workbook.
    • Select "Rename" and type "January" to rename the first sheet.
  3. Set up the columns for the January sheet:

    • In cell A1, type "Date".
    • In cell B1, type "Category".
    • In cell C1, type "Description".
    • In cell D1, type "Amount".
  4. Format the header row:

    • Select cells A1:D1.
    • Apply desired formatting (bold, larger font, background color, etc.).
  5. Create a list of categories in a separate area (e.g., in column G):

    • In cell G1, type "Categories".
    • List your categories below G1, starting in cell G2 (e.g., Rent, Groceries, Utilities, etc.).
  6. Set up data validation for the Category column:

    • Select cell B2.
    • Click on the "Data" tab in the Excel ribbon.
    • Click on "Data Validation."
    • In the "Allow" dropdown menu, select "List."
    • In the "Source" box, enter the range of your category list (e.g., =GG2:GG10).
    • Click "OK."
  7. Create a summary table to calculate the sum of expenses for each category:

    • In cell F1, type "Category".
    • In cell G1, type "Total".
    • Copy your list of categories from column G (step 5) to column F, starting in cell F2.
    • In cell G2 (next to the first category), type the formula "=SUMIFS(DD2:DD1000,BB2:BB1000,F2)" and press Enter.
    • Copy the formula down for all categories in the summary table.
  8. Calculate the overall monthly total:

    • In cell F (below the last category), type "Monthly Total".
    • In cell G (next to "Monthly Total"), type the formula "=SUM(G2:Gx)" where x is the row number of the last category in the summary table. Press Enter.
  9. Repeat steps 2-8 for each month, creating a new sheet and adjusting the sheet name accordingly.

  10. Create a summary sheet for the monthly totals:

    • Add a new sheet and rename it "Summary".
    • In cell A1, type "Month".
    • In cell B1, type "Total Expenses".
    • List the months in column A (e.g., January, February, etc.).
    • In cell B2, type the formula "='January'!Gx" where x is the row number of the "Monthly Total" in the January sheet. Press Enter.
    • Copy the formula down for all months, adjusting the sheet name in the formula accordingly.
  11. Create a chart to compare the total expenses of each month:

    • Click on the "Summary" sheet.
    • Select cells A1:B13 (assuming you have 12 months listed).
    • Click on the "Insert" tab in the Excel ribbon.
    • Choose your desired chart type (e.g., Column, Bar, Line, etc.) from the "Charts" group.
    • Customize your chart as needed (title, axis labels, data labels, etc.).
  12. Save your workbook:

    • Click on "File" in the top left corner of Excel.
    • Select "Save As" and choose a location to save your file.
    • Name your file (e.g., "Monthly Expenses Tracker") and click "Save."