How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

dollars   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google DocsEverybody knows that Google Docs is an awesome tool to do office work online. It’s a really good online alternative to Microsoft Office and helps you get things done in the cloud. Coupled with Google’s reliable servers, you are guaranteed to have your documents and spreadsheets in a safe, guarded niche in your Google Account.

Now, Google Docs support something called creating forms. It lets you create interactive forms, using which you can get a hold of other people’s opinions. While all that is great, we’ll talk about a completely different, awesome use case for Google Docs today.

Within a few, not so laborious minutes, we are going to set up an easy system to keep track of your personal finances. So here’s how you can go about keeping a track of your expenses, using Google Docs, and Gmail.

  1. The first step would obviously be to go to the Google Docs website and sign-in with your Google credentials.
  2. Next, you need to click on “Create New” and select “Spreadsheet” from the drop the drop-down list that appears. You will get a workspace similar to the one shown below.

    finance1   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

    finance2   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

  3. Now, you are going to create a form, which you will use to submit your transactions to the spreadsheet. Click on “Form > Create a Form”

    finance3   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

  4. Next up, you need to add some fields to the form. Remember that this is going to be a record of your expenses. So, put in relevant fields; such as date, charge amount, payment method, description, comments, etc. For this example, we are going to have three fields, namely Date, Amount, and Payment Method.

    finance4   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

  5. Finally, save the form. After saving, click on “Email This Form” towards the top to email it to your Gmail account.
  6. Now, go to your Gmail Inbox. Make sure you’ve the “Quick Links” labs plugin enabled to make the best use of this method. Click on the green labs icon at the top and click “Enable” next to the Quick Links option. Also make sure that the “Google Docs Preview in Gmail” labs feature is enabled. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

    finance5   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

    finance8   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

  7. Open the email you just received from Google Docs. Once it’s open, click on “Add Quick Link” from your Quick Links sidebar.

    finance6   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

  8. The final result will be something similar to what is shown below.

    finance7   How To Easily Track Your Personal Finances With Gmail and Google Docs

That’s all there is to it! From now on, whenever you have a new transaction that you need to track, all you need to do is fire up your Gmail Inbox, and click on the Quick Link to the form in your sidebar. Once your form opens up, fill it in and click Submit to make an entry into the spreadsheet associated with your form.

At the end of the month, all you need to do to track your personal finances is open up the spreadsheet in Google Docs to get a consolidated view of all your important transactions. If you want, you can play around with the theme of the form when you are designing it. However you shouldn’t bother too much about that aspect, since the form would be mainly used by yourself.

There’s no doubt that Google Docs is an awesome tool to be productive. All you need to do is think of creative and inspiring ways to use it. If you’ve got an interesting use for Google Docs, lets hear it in the comments.

Image Credit : stock:xchng.

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16 Comments -

0 votes

Darren

I like the integration back into Gmail. I set up a nice cash tracking template using Google docs which may work well with this method. Take a look at http://blog.sumwise.com/2009/07/16/review-google-docs/
Cheers
Darren

0 votes

Darren

I like the integration back into Gmail. I set up a nice cash tracking template using Google docs which may work well with this method. Take a look at http://blog.sumwise.com/2009/0
Cheers
Darren

0 votes

Craig Darlow

That’s a great idea. And since Google Docs are shareable, this same spreadsheet and form can be used by all members of a team – just add a “Name” field!

0 votes

Cb

I love Google, and this is great… but a much easier (and automatic) way to do this is Mint.com – it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to keep track of all your $. I use Google for almost everything, but as far as free services go, Mint beats Google when it comes to finances (IMHO).

0 votes

Cb

I love Google, and this is great… but a much easier (and automatic) way to do this is Mint.com – it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to keep track of all your $. I use Google for almost everything, but as far as free services go, Mint beats Google when it comes to finances (IMHO).

0 votes

Jake

I agree with Cb here. Mint.com is a fantastic tool that does most of this automatically. Now, if you were working on team finances, or if you were working on out of pocket cash expenses(something mint.com has difficulty with) then I can see the usefulness. But Mint.com keeps track of everything I need to keep situated in these rough times automatically.

0 votes

wolfshades

(To all non-Americans)

Mint.com looks like it would be a great site – if it could accommodate other countries. But those outside of the U.S. are out of luck for now. I asked them about this (I live in Canada) and they said they weren’t ready to work with banks from other countries and credit unions are out as well, but they’re working on it.

My suggestion: contact them and let them know of your interest. But don’t waste much time right now with mint.com otherwise. The article here outlines a pretty neat process anyway – which I’m using.

Oh, and if you like to track your purchases on your iphone, you just need to go that form on your phone, and then grab it as a web page, and place it on your phone’s “desktop”. And there you go: instant tracking tool.

0 votes

Jake

I agree with Cb here. Mint.com is a fantastic tool that does most of this automatically. Now, if you were working on team finances, or if you were working on out of pocket cash expenses(something mint.com has difficulty with) then I can see the usefulness. But Mint.com keeps track of everything I need to keep situated in these rough times automatically.

0 votes

Saili

This is great. It’s real simple to do. I also agree that Mint.com is a really nice Finance Management tool, but its limited to the US only. For people who live outside the US this can be really useful.

0 votes

Saili

This is great. It’s real simple to do. I also agree that Mint.com is a really nice Finance Management tool, but its limited to the US only. For people who live outside the US this can be really useful.

0 votes

Anon

How to let google know in what you spend your money

0 votes

anon

mint.com is US only. Gmail and Google docs is international.

0 votes

anon

mint.com is US only. Gmail and Google docs is international.

0 votes

Abhigyan

While I agree that Mint is pretty powerful in what it offers, this is just a simple, quick way to get the same thing done. I am debating on which is better. This system is meant to be a hack kind of a thing whereas Mint is a full-fledged platform dedicated to finance.

0 votes

Simon

I think this makes an excellent “master idea list” capture tool as well. Just alter the fields.

0 votes

wolfshades

(To all non-Americans)

Mint.com looks like it would be a great site – if it could accommodate other countries. But those outside of the U.S. are out of luck for now. I asked them about this (I live in Canada) and they said they weren’t ready to work with banks from other countries and credit unions are out as well, but they’re working on it.

My suggestion: contact them and let them know of your interest. But don’t waste much time right now with mint.com otherwise. The article here outlines a pretty neat process anyway – which I’m using.

Oh, and if you like to track your purchases on your iphone, you just need to go that form on your phone, and then grab it as a web page, and place it on your phone’s “desktop”. And there you go: instant tracking tool.