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Money was full of uncertainty during Celes’ childhood.
When the money arrived, his family decided on the fly what to buy and what to forgo, a 29-year-old scientist – who uses an online pseudonym – told Insider. The bills often piled up.
By the time she graduated from college and started earning her own salary, Celes wasn’t sure which expenses to prioritize. She grew up food insecure and felt the need to always have food at home, she said, but lacked a sense of urgency to pay medical bills, for example.
Eventually, she sat down with her partner, someone “who’s learned the value of money,” and created her first budget. Celes recently shared the latest iteration of her. budget template on Reddit, which has an active and growing personal finance community. The post has over 10,000 upvotes – a sign of approval from other Reddit users.
A model designed “ for someone who knows nothing about money ”
While using a now defunct budgeting app called Level Money, Celes realized that what worked best for her was to enter bills and an ideal savings rate, then calculate how much she could spend each day – rather. that every month – while respecting these financial conditions. obligations.
“I’m not very good at focusing on [long-term expenses], in part because I have a mental illness and have ADHD and it’s hard to control things like impulse spending, “she said.” I’m not very good at prioritize decisions on the spot. So, in the mind of a person with ADHD, something that seems to be a priority or that feels urgent takes priority over something that is actually important. “
When the app was purchased by Capital One, Celes, a self-described numbers nerd, turned to Google Sheets to create a budget template from scratch.
She shared the first iteration of her spreadsheet on Reddit three years ago. There was no section in the budget for credit card payments or savings for large purchases, but as Celes developed her financial literacy she also improved the spreadsheet.
“One of the things I really wanted to focus on when I was doing this was [making] it’s for someone who didn’t know anything about money, ”she said.
“I kind of realized that I needed to be more responsible in the way I worked on the spreadsheet and adding things to it and making sure to keep that original goal of keeping it simple, but also taking the time to ‘help people to be responsible. financial practices. “
Better budget leads to more savings and less anxiety
Savings are central to the current budget model, which Celes shared on Reddit channel r / personalfinance, a community of 14.6 million members, in May.
There are separate calculators for large purchases and regular savings, as well as a goal tracker to record savings progress and setbacks. At the very top of the worksheet: how much you have left to spend for the day, week, or month.
“I realized I wanted the savings to be kind of like an expense, so I added it in a weird way that it almost hid my savings from me. It was intentional,” Celes said. And it worked. Over the past four years, she has built a savings cushion of $ 10,000.
“We recently had emergencies and I was able to pay for everything comfortably without the fear of suddenly being left with nothing,” Celes said. “That kind of security and that feeling of security is something that I’ve never had before. And honestly, that’s the most significant thing to me.”
Her credit rating also improved and her spending anxiety decreased, she said. Others who found the spreadsheet through Reddit also made financial progress. People said it helped them get off their credit card debt, save for a home, and cultivate a healthier mindset when it comes to money.
“I don’t think I ever really thought that something as stupid as an Excel spreadsheet could change anyone’s life,” Celes said. “And I got to talk to you, I realized that it definitely changed my life, so I don’t know why it wouldn’t extend to other people.”