Who Knew Excel Could Be This FUN??

By Lena Rizkallah, Money Moxie

Years ago, I was at a  meeting with my boss and some clients  when my cellphone rang.  At that time, the song “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was a big hit and like any self-respecting 15-year old, I decided that since that song was my jam, it also had to be my ringtone.  However, when my phone rang during the meeting and the bass filled the boardroom–and since I was actually not 15 years old–I decided that was the point in my life to rethink hip-hop ringtones.  Time to grow up!

Ironically, only a few years later, I met the guy who actually created the ringtone for “Drop It Like It’s Hot!”  Michael Zumchak was the nerd behind the ringtone and nowadays he’s the wizard behind the Easy Excel classes that he teaches to individuals and corporations in NYC (http://www.easyexcelclasses.com/).  I had heard about his Easy Excel classes from friends, colleagues and Yelp–that he’s a smart, funny instructor who makes learning Excel simple and fun.  I took the class a few weekends ago and I was not disappointed!

Michael Zumchak, Easy Excel

Michael Zumchak, Easy Excel

The basics class is for everyone–from beginners to programmers to people who just want to brush up and fine-tune their Excel skills.  Michael has a low-key, easy-going approach to a very dry,  coma-inducing subject.  I took the class on a dreary Saturday afternoon, and while staring at numbers, lines and formulas all afternoon could lull anyone into a nice long nap, Michael kept the pace moving, encouraged (DEMANDED!) class interaction and cracked jokes left and right.  Besides his comedic style of teaching, Michael has a great knack for breaking down a complicated, sometimes mind-numbing application like Excel, and explains what we need to know, and what we don’t need to know.  That information is priceless because if you’re like most people faced with a long, complicated spreadsheet that’s color-coded, contains multiple pages and full of various notes, formulas and charts–the more complex the spreadsheet, the less user-friendly it is and the angrier you become!

Michael began the class with simple tips and formatting short-cuts, then went into creating formulas and spreadsheets.  His tips on formatting–long forgotten since college–were awesome and he went over the rules of creating a clean, uncomplicated spreadsheet so many times that everyone got into it and started enthusiastically shouting out the rules like we were in 5th grade!  I left the class feeling more comfortable, knowledgeable and confident with my revitalized Excel skills–and much less angry and confused.

Make Your Budget EXCELlent!

Even if you don’t use Excel for work, consider taking this class if you want to create your own budget.  If you’ve been thinking of putting together a budget–and you don’t want to use Mint.com or any other online application–sign up and get yourself in gear.  With Excel, you’ll be able to customize your budgeting spreadsheet to your specific needs and spending habits.  Once you get the mechanics of the spreadsheet and formulas down, you can make adjustments in your spreadsheet based on any life changes or changes in your spending/saving needs.  And at the very least, you’ll have fun in class!

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