Mommy Points received an email last week asking if she uses a spreadsheet to track credit card sign-up bonus rewards. We’ve done this for our personal finances for years, tracking all but the smallest expenses to determine if we’re putting more (or less) toward savings at the end of the month. Maintaining a comfortable minimum balance in our checking account is our main goal, however, as bills never exactly coincide with income, and, without monitoring it closely, it’s possible that the total sum of bills can eclipse the total sum of income. Surprising for non-variably compensated incomes, but that’s life.
We started using a spreadsheet for rewards reminders and card recommendations. It is in its fledgling infancy, and I’ve modified it to share with the MP community. Some disclaimers:
- Requires Excel 2007 or newer.
- No personal information is included. Of course, if or when you add your personal info to it, make sure to not accidentally share your personal version with anyone.
- Level of difficulty is moderate to advanced. If you’ve never used Excel before, it may not make a lot of sense, or even be worth your time to download.
- Free to use (at your own risk). If a cell value is incorrect, and you don’t notice an expiration date as a result, caveat emptor.
- Rudimentary, at best. The goal is to give a starting point to someone who wants to personalize and expand on a framework.
- Not the prettiest. I’ve never been one to format for format’s sake, so if it isn’t aesthetically pleasing, blame me, not Mommy Points.
There are instructions included, but essentially, copy the credit card template worksheet, fill it out, make a few changes to the dashboard, and start tracking your spending and award receipt dates. Ultimately, I’m interested to see if this is along the lines of what others have developed. I would be more than happy to work with other developers to build a free, web-based solution for the community. The pay is lousy (as in none), the work is long and hard, and in the end, the reward is getting to trouble-shoot and work on bug-fixes and feature requests for newer versions.
I’m certain there are alternatives out there, and if anyone is happily using them, please let us know. I’m by no means trying to recreate AwardWallet or its kin, but rather, a reminder service that notifies through text, social media, or email that an expected award is delinquent or inaccurate. Additionally, a recommendation on which card to use in any given circumstance would be helpful, weighing potential bonus multipliers versus the time remaining to reach the minimum spend requirement for a bonus.
Use this link to download the file. When you click the link, your browser may give you the option to “Open With…” or “Save” the file. Save it locally to preserve any changes you might make.
Let me know your thoughts.
— The Man