Well-organized people know: There’s hardly anything a good spreadsheet can’t make better. But you might find that spreadsheets can actually improve some unexpected areas of your life. Let’s take a look at some ways that Google Sheets could make your life better.
1. Track Your Meal Plans
Start with a list of the week’s meals. Break that into a grocery list. From there, break that into costs — so you can see whether you’re meeting your monthly budget. Updating your meal plans every week ensures that you make healthy meals, save time, and keep yourself from exceeding your budget.
You can even use the Google Sheets charting function to compare your food spending week-over-week or month-over-month, as well as to track your least expensive meals. Over time, you’ll develop a neat little database of your recipes and their associated costs.
2. Create a “Debt Snowball” Payment Chart
A debt snowball payment chart helps you pay off your debts by paying off the smallest debts first — giving you less overall to manage. A debt snowball chart is a proven way to get your debts under control. You can calculate the amount of interest your credit cards are charging you with the Google RATE function.
You can also consider paying off your debts via the highest interest first. It’s usually the best financial method, though it can feel lackluster psychologically!
3. Track Important Appointments
Make a list of your important appointments by date. You can create an entire calendar of important deadlines, whether they’re household, work-related deadlines, or even bills. You can even use the IF function to track whether the date has already passed — so you only see which appointments you need to tackle now.
4. Making an Insurance Inventory
To get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, you need a complete inventory of everything in your home. You can rely on your recollection, but you’re bound to forget a few things. Create a list of every item you have, whether it’s furniture or decor.
If it has a model or serial number, write it down. In the notes, add any functions — your insurance company is required to reimburse you for a model that does the same things. Use the FILTER functions to easily filter through and check your items.
5. Planning Your Next Trip
Google Sheets is a great place to create a schedule for a complicated trip. You can enter in all the costs of the trip — and then you can share it with the other people going. You can also split costs within the Google Sheet and track whether everyone has paid in. Create different sheets within a workbook to track different locations — and use absolute references to pull the information into one big index page.
You can also use Google Sheets to plan for major events, such as weddings. Use the sheet to categorize things like caterers, DJs, and more — and to help you plot out the costs for the event.
6. Compare Different Life Decisions
What would your life look like if you rented a new apartment? Or if you purchased a home? What about if you purchased a home in one area (expensive, short commute) vs. another area (affordable, long commute)?
Use Google Sheets to compare major life decisions. Create a different row for each factor and all important metrics, such as how much time it will cost, or how much money it will cost. At the end, you’ll have a better picture of the pros and cons of each.
You can also use this type of sheet to assess different types of investment. Do you want to put all your money into CDs? Into your 401(k)? Into individual stocks?
7. Organize Your Hobbies
Do you have a lot of books? Movies? Games? Yarn? Use Google Sheets to take a complete inventory of your hobby and craft supplies, then use LOOKUP, HLOOKUP, or VLOOKUP to easily search between them.
Filtering and sorting functions can make it easier to find the things that you need, including their location — as long as you add that to the sheet! The better organized you are, the less likely it is that you will lose things or purchase multiple copies of something.
The Bottom Line
From the IF function to the SUM function, there are many Google Sheets functions to learn — and many that can make your life easier. Consider creating your new spreadsheet now.