Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Money Makeover : Tip #1 – The Budget Calendar

 

Here’s a little tip that I thought I would share. One of the key things with our money makeover is to avoid surprises. We do this in a number of ways, we create a new budget each month, we have our emergency fund 1 and allocate savings for upcoming/possible events.

However, I still found I was getting caught out – why? Because it’s very easy to just plain forget about events that aren’t as big as Christmas or the next vacation. There are also instances when you get those sneaky 5-week months and you forget to budget an extra weeks groceries and whatnot.

So how do we normally remember such events? Well duh, a calendar!

Overview

Here’s what I do:

  • Create a new calendar called “Budgeting” on Google* (see below for instructions).
  • Add all recurring financial events, whether it’s things coming off of a credit card, direct debits, travel costs or whatever. Using a digital calendar normally makes this very easy and with most of the options we would require for financial stuff out of the box (e.g. “repeat X times” or “repeat until Y”)
  • When doing your monthly budget, you can then see at a glance exactly when money is going to be coming out of your account and when.
  • While budgeting it is then easy to also see when other events are occurring in your life that might require some cash – for example, Joe’s birthday, a gig or that it’s international talk like a pirate day and you need to buy an eye patch.
  • When adding any upcoming personal events, think about the financial implications and also add those to your budgeting calendar.

* I recommend Google because it’s free, its easy, it has a nice UI and you can sync with most mobile devices. But, you can obviously use whatever you like – you can never beat good old pen-and-paper!

Creating a New Calendar on Google

  • “Settings”
  • “Calendar Settings”
  • “Calendars”
  • “Create new calendar”

So there you have it. Create a budgeting calendar, make your monthly budget easier and quicker to create and have less financial surprises!

One other point to note..

Make sure you keep the calendar private ;)

  • Open your Google calendar.
  • Click “Settings”
  • Click “Calendars”
  • Calendars are private by default, you can double check via:
    • “Settings”
    • “Calendar Settings”
    • “Calendars”
    • “Budgeting” (or your name)
    • “Share This Calendar”
    • Ensure “Make this calendar public” is unchecked.

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1 comment:

  1. Hit the nail on the head talking about breaking down the assumptions.

    So much of the minimalism view comes down to just breaking free of this "mental brainwashing" of consume consume consume and taking some time to figure it what it is we actually need. I think in Rework today I glanced at the idea of 5 Whys which you allude to at the beginning. Just tried it on a couple of my budget items and its a really good strategy to break down the reasons for why you think you need something into lame-sounding excuses!

    The minimalist stuff really translates nicely to your money makeover stuff, good tips!

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