I use a ‘Waterfall’ chart to show category or group totals for selectable time periods, and make how expenditures fit within income more apparent. I have previously made a Google Sheets version available here.
How did you come up with the idea for your workflow?
My wife doesn’t understand numbers. To help her understand where our money is going, I need to provide visuals. Pie charts and Bar charts are OK for comparing categories to each other, but I wanted to include how expenditures fit within earnings. While figuring out how to do that, I stumbled across the ‘Waterfall’ chart type, included in Google Sheets. A waterfall chart shows how values add or subtract from a starting value. When referencing a sorted query, the chart uses vertical bars showing how your income was generated, and then a cascade of increasingly larger subtractions for each category or group, with a subtotal at the end showing the difference between your income and expenses.
- Download the Waterfall workbook .
- Follow these instructions to copy the downloaded template into your Excel workbook and to connect the formula references to your local workbook data. (The instructions are for the desktop version of Excel, the web version is not recommended for the installation but does work once the Account Reconciliation sheet is installed.)
At this point your new template should be functional and linked to your local workbook’s data.
If you’d like to use the Payroll period option that is explained below, enter the description you use for your Paycheck (or a portion of it) in cell R3.
You can change the period of time you’re seeing transactions from using the ‘Period’ dropdown. You can change if you’re viewing by category or group using the ‘View By’ dropdown.
If you don’t enter the description of your paycheck transactions in R3, the paycheck options in the Period dropdown won’t work. Note that the ‘Paycheck’ options will be most useful for those with a single major pay source.
- Current Paycheck - Enter your paycheck ‘Description’ in R3 (either the entire description or a unique portion). Period starts on the date of the first transaction with a description that contains R3, and extends until now.
- Previous Paycheck - Enter your paycheck ‘Description’ in R3 (either the entire description or a unique portion). Period starts on the date of the second transaction with a description that contains R3, and extends until the day before the first transaction with a description that contains R3.
- Since Last Sunday - Period starts on the most recent Sunday and extends until now.
- Since Start of Month - Period starts on the first day of the current month and extends until now.
- Previous Month - Period starts on the first day of last month and extends until the last day of last month.
- Since Start of Year - Period starts on the first day of the current year and extends until now.
- Previous Year - Period starts on the first day of last year and extends until the last day of last year.
- Number of Days - After selecting this period, B5 will become visible so you can enter a number. The period starts the number of days you entered before now, and extends until now.
- All - Period starts on the date of your oldest transaction and extends until now.
You can also change the ‘View By’ dropdown in B6 to change between Categories and Groups.
Is it ok for others to copy, use, and modify your workflow?
Yes, please, and please provide feedback on any issues you encounter and/or suggestions on how to make improvements!
I’ve replicated almost all the functionality of the Google Sheets version of this template. The things I’m still hoping to add are:
- Change the colors of the bars within the chart
- Add a final ‘Subtotal’ bar that shows the difference between what you earned and what you spent.