Financial

One Year of Monthly Zero Based Budgets UPDATE: 1.2 version for OpenOffice/NeoOffice & Excel

Zero based budget spreadsheet for doing a budget for 12 months. Based on the concept described by Dave Ramsey.

Update: 1.1 includes some tweaks and a iWork '08 Numbers version.

Update: 1.2 includes a major bug fix for the OpenOffice/NeoOffice & Excel version. The way totals were calculated, all months would reflect the totals from January. This bug was not present in the Numbers version.

Note:I had to zip the Numbers version to get it to attach. Unzip it and then open with Numbers.

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Usage advice: 

At the beginning of the month, fill in the income and expenses you expect for the month. Include how much you will save for emergencies, debts you will pay off, and money you will give away. The difference between your income and all the other things should equal $0. Live on this budget and then fill out the "actual income" and "actual expenses" sections at the end of the month to see how you did.

You should be able to print it out in various sizes, but I have found landscape letter size works about the best.

License details included as part of the spreadsheet itself.

Paper size: 
Letter and A4
License: 
Other (note the license in the description below)
Applications required: 
Microsoft Excel, NeoOffice, or OpenOffice or iWork '08 Numbers
Language: 
English

Day planning with to do list and expense tracker

This template fits a page size 2.75x4.25 inches, which results from dividing a letter sized page in 8. The template has a weekly calendar (names of days are in Spanish, sorry, but they can be easily modified), with space for appointments on the left side. On the right side, there is a small to do list, for all things that need to be done that week not tied to a particular date. At the bottom track, I use that space as an expense tracker: it has three columns, where the left one is used for the day (no need to add the full date since this is already a calendar), the description in the middle and the amount in the right.

The template was created using Inkscape. It allows me to have an overview of relevant things per week in a format small enough to carry even in my pocket. And because the paper size is a fraction of a letter size paper, there is no waste of paper. I tried creating an 8-up version, but doesn't work as well due to the reduced margins in my printer, so I deleted it.

I'm including the template in PDF format, as well as the source file for Inkscape (SVG format).

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Usage advice: 

Works best printed on pieces of 1/8 letter paper. It is tiny, and very portable, so a small pen is recommended. I print a bunch of these, and punch them at the top, then use a ring to bind them together, along with a protective/decorative cover.

Paper size: 
Other
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
Inkscape (for modifying template)
Language: 
Spanish

Monsters Categorized Expense Tracker

A personal expense tracker with categories.

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Usage advice: 

Here is my adaptation of an expense template, 4 up in ODG and PDF (I folded mine, so i've got 4 sheets for re-use).

I’ve added a categories column, and category legend (so you only use 1 letter to specify the category) with a couple lines (maybe too small) for entering your own category.

Every now and then, drop it in your inbox for processing and grab a fresh one.

Paper size: 
Letter
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

Matt's Budget Card

A simple budget template based on another one and the widget set.

Usage advice: 

Print from PDF directly onto a 3x5 index card.

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview), OpenOffice.org
Language: 
English

Keep-It-Simple Financial Planning (Part 2)

Last Week in Keep-It-Simple Financial Planning (Part 1) I shared the economic theory of utility, which says that people have an unlimited amount of desires, and only limited means to fulfill them. Is Debt bad? I shared the basic financial terms for understanding how debt works, and then we walked through a Net Worth analysis. This week we are going to start where we left off, and make a plan to get out of debt.

The first rule of financial planning is Do Not Go into More Debt. Plan to spend only as much as you bring in every month (or less). If you use your credit cards make sure new balances are paid in full each month. Credit cards become crutches and all too often we find ourselves not having enough balance on the card when a true emergency arrives. However, if you find it hard to wean yourself off the credit card, then make them hard to use. Wrap them in paper, and freeze them in ice. Or slide them in an envelope that gets tucked away in your filing cabinet. Because the cards are no longer accessible, you become forced to consider how you use your cards.

Keep-It-Simple Financial Planning (Part 1)

CoinsWhen you look at your finances, do you feel empowered or depressed? There are few things in our personal lives which run to such extremes as our finances. Do you understand how to pay off your debts? Will you be ready for your retirement? Will you be able to retire? Do you get calls from collection agents because you have late bills? When an investment advisor tells you they have the perfect investment, do you know how to do the research for yourself, or do you blindly follow along, and get burned when the "hot" investment is a failure? If any of these are true for you, then I have good news: you can live comfortably now, pay off your debts, and prepare for the unexpected problems in the future.

Mind Mapping for Business

Click to enlargeThere's an exercise I practice about once every three months that I call "Should I Quit?" In it, I map out all the reasons why it's a great idea to stay at my current place of business, and I map out all the things that bother me, and that might merit my packing up and moving on. I use it as a way to purge frustration, but also, as a way to uncover new thoughts about a situation or topic that I believe I have all the answers for, and there's where mind maps come in.

Mind maps are an excellent tool for unlocking information and connected ideas by representing information in a visual medium. I'm a big convert to using mind maps. I use them for blogging, for story ideas, and other creative endeavors, but I also use mind maps for business in a number of ways. Here are some of the uses I have for the new Hipster PDA Edition v3 Mind Map card.

Simple Expense Tracker

A simple form to track expenses for business. It has columns for the dates you submitted an expense and when you get reimbursed for it.

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Usage advice: 

When you get a reimbursable expense record it, the amount and the date. Then mark the date that you submit the expense and the date when you receive the reimbursment.

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)
Language: 
English

Hipster PDA Budget

Three-column table for keeping track of projected expenses and remaining budget

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Usage advice: 

You can use this to keep track of your budget: how much you've set aside and how much is left. Start by writing your total monthly income on the first row. You can use a pen to write your fixed expenses such as rent, but a pencil is better for writing variable expenses. Fill in the amount left so that you can avoid going over your budget. Update this card at the end of the day when you go through the receipts in your inbox. You can use the back of the card to keep track of transactions without receipts.

Paper size: 
Index Card (3 x 5)
License: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PNG displayer (browser, etc)
Language: 
English