Budget Tool Overview

My Swiss Army Knife

DYDR Tools – An Intro – 10 FREE DOWNLOADS!!!

Below is an inventory of excel-based tools that I have developed, used, and evolved over the years – and yes, let me go ahead and proudly admit that I AM A BUDGET NERD. 

Amongst some of my friends and family, my spreadsheet tracking has taken on mythical proportions.  For example, we’ll be talking about a raise, or new job, or an anticipated purchase and I will simply mention my need to revisit my spreadsheets for specific impacts or timeframes and I’ll be greeted with howls of laughter.  Sure, I kinda get it but I won’t make excuses or exceptions for how I’m wired or for what has worked so well for me.

So here, for the first time ever released for public viewing are my tools.  These are examples and the numbers are not mine, but the methodologies are.  And they’re all honest.  They are all products of my sitting at my computer asking questions and then building tools to ensure a ready answer.

Below are brief descriptions for each, but the real experience is in opening the tools where I have provided live examples and plenty additional commentary.  Give them a look and then let me know what you think.

**they are free to download as well – provided I’ve mastered that functionality.

Monthly Budget – Making a monthly budget should be like tying your shoes except for somehow this simple and critical skill is not taught and rarely discussed.  If you don’t operate a household budget then consider this your wakeup call.  Get off the couch and participate in your life.  Be an adult.  Cash – the very life blood of your personal freedom – flows in and out of your hands each month.  It’s worth 30 minutes every 30 days to plan and document how you interact with such a vital component of our civilized society.  This version provides an example of a single month budget – all income and outflow centralized into a single view for the month.

Bi-Weekly Budget – Same as the Monthly Budget, but this version assumes 2 pay periods per month.

Snowball Scheduler – This is my favorite of all the tools – but it requires use of a budget for maximum effect.  This tool allows you to predict exactly when you’ll be debt free and the ability to see your snow ball grow is pretty motivating.

Cash Account Management – What happens when you toss dollars into a Savings Account but some are meant for next month’s car registration, and some are for insurance, and others are savings for Christmas?  They become co-mingled.  Sure, you could open a new account for each occasion but what if you could simply manage the balances on a single page… well, you can with this tool

Contingency Budget – One of the surest ways to weather a financial storm is to be prepared and there is no better time to prepare for troubled seas than when the waters are at their calmest.  By anticipating how we should react in the face of a financial crisis – like a lost job for example – we have a source of comfort and confidence when such trouble arises.

Lost Job Action Plan – If you’re faced with a layoff or buyout, what do you do?  How do you financially prepare for such an event?  Similar to the contingency budget, the key is thinking it through well in advance.  By approaching it early, it is simply a math or logic question rather than a fear induced emotional minefield.  This tool highlights some of the steps I put in place just prior to having to make my own buyout related decision.  Components of the decision were still emotional but having a solid foundation kept the emotional tail from wagging the reality dog.

New Job Action Plan – A good plan for the ‘down side’ should only be matched with a better plan for the ‘up side’. 

Vacation Budget – Part of truly enjoying a vacation is in knowing that nothing but the good memories and cheesy t-shirts will follow you home.  Hey, we all like reminders of our past vacations but it’s no fun when those reminders come by way of your monthly credit card statements.  By planning your spending and your sources for those dollars in advance you’ll feel more free while on vacation.

Weekend Scheduler – Ever said that you’d get together with someone one weekend over the summer… ah the endless summer… until you realize that there are only 52 weekends per year and many are already spoken for – holidays, football games, your aunt Nella’s 40th birthday party.  Use this tool to easily identify and track your available weekends then pencil in that weekend meeting with so and so.

Home Maintenance Plan – Our homes are our single largest investments so why not have a plan to preserve and maintain it?  I searched online in early 2008 for a schedule that I could follow and was surprised that no such tool really existed – so I created one.  I cobbled together suggested maintenance activities, which were widely available, into a monthly schedule.  You’ll want to customize this to the specifics of your home, but the template and many applicable ideas are right here.

Let me know what you think.  Are they helpful?  Overly complicated or convoluted?  Is there another tool you’d rather see?  Please provide your comments.  I’d love to know what you use to maintain your balance.

Photo By: herzoghr

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