Ever track your money using a calendar?! Here’s a reader’s review of a new app he’s obsessed with.

by J. Money - Published September 9, 2019

calendar budgeting

Hey guys!

Welcome to a new week of saving money and kicking a$$!

Still recovering from all the fun that is FinCon over here (was so nice to meet some of you IN REAL LIFE!!!), but wanted to share this article in the meantime from someone who’s super excited to have found a better way to manage his cash flow.

The initial note that spawned this write up is below, followed by his detailed thoughts – and screenshots! – of what it looks like in real time. (And using his real money! ;)).

Thanks for taking the time to write it all up, Brian!

And hope it gives some of y’all non-budgeters a new route to possibly consider…

Here’s the note that inspired this:

Hey J$,

Last time we chatted I had mentioned about an app I liked, but I found an even better, SEXIER one.

https://calendarbudget.com/

Its excellent.

I have been a great saver all my life, but for some reason, just using this app to track my bank account, inflows and outflows, has made me even more of a miser when it comes to spending, yet not in a deprived way.

I didn’t get it with a budget in mind, rather just to track my bank account with known in and outflows (recurring and irregular) to see where I would be at any point in time. The spreadsheet (and I love spreadsheets) was such a pain in the ass. I love the visualness of this app. It really helps to keep a close eye on how much MORE I can invest, and when.

It also alerts me to when I need to move from savings back to chequing (Canadian, eh!) to make sure I don’t overdraft, even though I keep a $5,000 o/d limit just to be safe in case of timing/memory issues.

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think.

– Brian Vroomen

I never got the chance to check it out with all the buzz going on lately, but I asked him if he’d put something together that we can share with others since if it helped HIM so much, maybe it’ll you guys too?!, and he kindly obliged which you can see below.

Here’s a personalized review of the app, along with juicy screenshots that you can click to enlarge. Hope it sparks something!

********

Hi guys, my name is Brian and I have been what I always thought was a great saver and planner for my future financial needs. I started to really track my cash flow to forecast when and how much I would be able to add to my retirement savings. I used a spreadsheet since I loved spreadsheets.

Here is what mine looked like:

budgeting spreadsheet(click to enlarge)

I thought is was great, until it became tedious to have to manually enter repeating items without having to use advanced spreadsheet features.

I just wanted it to be simple. I also started to not like the linear nature of the spreadsheet. It made more sense to me to have this in a calendar format. I know I could have created one using the spreadsheet, but it still would have its limitations – especially in regards to recurring items.

I did some Google searches and found one app that looked promising but I kept on searching. I paid for one to see how it worked and I liked it, but I found some issues that I preferred not to have had.

Then I discovered “CalendarBudget” and it ticked all of the items on my checklist.

Here is a screenshot of my month of September 2019 (forecast as of the date of writing this on August 29, 2019):

calendarbudget screenshot(click to enlarge)

When you hover over any date with more items to display, it shows them all as noted on September 6th above. The date with the lowest bank balance is highlighted in the date bar in red, while the date with the highest bank balance is highlighted in green.

The app gives you one month at a time. What I am looking forward to is seeing the app showing just the current week and the next 3 or 4 weeks. Once a week has past, I really don’t need to see it any more.

When you click on a category on the left sidebar list, it highlights in the calendar portion. Since I have not set up actual budget amounts, the “Unspent” or “Unreached” amounts are not applicable or accurate.

I use the program exclusively to track cash flow, and keep my bank balance above zero but usually below $100.

I should mention that the app costs only $3.99 US per month after a 30 day free trial. The “inventor” of the app also includes a 192 page book PDF with lots of spending tips in it. (I’m not getting paid in any way for sharing this, btw.)

calendarbudget cost

I like that it has Android access as well. I have not used it yet because my cell phone has an older version of Android and will not run the latest app.

I know many people want things for free, me included; however, this app is worth it and as far as I am concerned, pays for itself. I don’t care for apps that force me to budget and are purely budgeting apps.

This app gives you that option, but more importantly, it lets me forecast my bank balance way into the future to see where any shortages might occur that need to be addressed, and gives me plenty of lead time to figure out how to address them.

That to me is more powerful than a simple budgeting app. The inventor also responds to support requests or suggestions within a day. Great personalized service.

Below is the Setup menu:

calendarbudget setup menu

Here is the “Account Setup” option, which lets you set up multiple accounts to track, such as savings accounts or credit cards:

calendarbudget account setup screen

The next screen shot is of the “Category Setup”. I don’t use the monthly budget amount set up though I think it is a great feature. I budget by using multiple e-savings accounts in a fashion similar to the envelope system. I don’t care to have an app that does that for me. I prefer to have separate actual savings accounts which I nickname for the budget they represent.

calendarbudget category setup

Here is the Reports menu:

calendarbudget reports menu

Here is the “Category Spending” for this month:

calendarbudget category spending

Note that my biggest expense, “Banking” is actually savings. I use this category for money that I move out of my chequing account into investments or e-savings accounts.

Here is the “Category Trends” graph for the last 6 months:

calendarbudget category trends

Here is the “Export Data to CSV File” option. I like that it lets me choose a range. I can go right back to when I started the app to analyze my actual expenses and cash flows, in and out.

This makes it a great tool to figure out what you are spending money on, or how much you are investing. Once you have that figured out, you can then create a new account, set up budget categories based on actual history, and move forward with budgeted spending tracking.

calendarbudget export csv

The next screen shot shows you what the CSV file looks like in a spreadsheet. The data is very easily manipulated in the spreadsheet to do whatever analysis you wish to do:

calendarbudget csv file

Here is the “Print Calendar” (expanded titles):

calendarbudget calendar printout(click to enlarge)

Lastly, here is the Help menu:

calendarbudget help menu bar

The video tutorials are really good too and explain all the features of the program. He did a really good job on this app. It is good to check the “New Features!” to see what is new in the app as new things are being added fairly frequently.

So I am a fan for sure of “CalendarBudget”. I like that it is an app that I can access from any computer. I use it at home and at work.

I have my bank chequing account set up to notify me of any withdrawals or deposits by email and text. I do that for security reasons to make sure I know if money comes out of my account that I never initiated, just in case I somehow get hacked.

I wish I could use the Android app on my phone. I am sure it would only make me like this app more. I would not be happy with a program that is installed only on my home PC and not accessible elsewhere.

******

Thanks Brian!

Anyone else have experience using CalendarBudget? Or any other new budgeting systems you’ve come across lately that’s been a game changer??

Share below and let’s keep the recommendations going!!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 [HCF] September 9, 2019 at 5:39 am

Looks promising… it is soooo 90’s but if it does the trick it’s ok :)

I tried TOSHL Finance (https://toshl.com/) recently, I liked it but it was not able to convert me into a budgeter :D

Reply

2 Ramona @ The All Finance September 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

There are so many apps for productivity and money, it’s not funny anymore. I am trying to find some that are simple and yet have all the features and I’m resorting to use an excel for my web design tasks (after trying Asana, Trello, Freedcamp and others) and YNAB the old computer-based app or AceMoney. Will look into this calendar as well, but I really dislike the idea of paying for each app every month, when I am already paying for hosting, SEMrush and others that I need in my work.

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3 J. Money September 9, 2019 at 2:56 pm

It’s only worth it if it *works* :)

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4 Wes G September 9, 2019 at 7:24 am

I started using this method of budgeting this year and it’s been a life saver, but with excel instead of an app. CalendarLabs.com lets you download an excel calendar with each month on a different page with room to write notes for each day and for bigger notes on the side.

To make it a budget, I went through and highlighted each payday. Then I started putting the name of the bills down on the dates they’re due – I usually go a month or two in advance. On the far right area, I made small table with all of my monthly bills and what they usually cost along with typical fuel and food costs. I also list out any bills that are on autopay and compare my expected monthly debts with my expected monthly income. Helps me keep track of exactly what we need to survive if one of us lost our job.

To the bottom of the calendar I make small tables for each paycheck. The first one for the last one of the month before and 2 (or 3) more for the paychecks that month. Each table has the expected paycheck amount, the bills that need to be paid with that paycheck, and what’s left over that can snowball into other debts. As each one is paid, I highlight it in green on the list and the calendar.

Why it works for me: I was frustrated with zero dollar budgets and mint and everything out there that asks for your full month of bills but then tells you to just budget one paycheck at a time. It’s clunky, it’s confusing, and at the end of the day I couldn’t tell if I had wiggle room to save one bill for later, or to pay one early. Mainly just kept me in a panic. With this system I can see everything I need to pay on each paycheck – doesn’t matter if the first paycheck of the month is on the 13th of the month or the 28th of the last month. I can pay something ahead of time and know I’ll be okay, I can re-budget as needed and move payments to the next paycheck and know I won’t be over budget, and most importantly it helps me budget for my debt snowball – whether it’s $10 this paycheck or $100, I can confidently apply it without being afraid of over drafting at the end of the month.

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5 J. Money September 9, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Awesome!!

So glad you found something that works for you, man – appreciate you sharing and breaking it down for us! Hadn’t heard of CalendarLabs.com before.

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6 Kate September 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

I love app budget related things and people! I’m a YNABer myself and was in an AA meeting last week and was very excited when I saw the same app open on another person’s phone. We Sexy Budgeters really are everywhere! When the hat got passed around I wonder what category he put his $1 contribution down as…

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7 Samantha September 9, 2019 at 10:47 am

Love it! I have yet to see another YNABer in the wild, but I will be *so* excited when I do!

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8 J. Money September 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Love even more that you’re willing to share the fact you attend AA!! Self-improvement all around is sexy!!! ;)

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9 Barb September 9, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I have been using this app since April 2013 and LOVE it. I am able to plan out my spending and move individual events to another day if need be. I can see what my account will look like next month…5 months…1 year…5 years from now. I have repeating events like paycheck and mortgage and then have specific events like coffee run or a special night out. I use it on my PC as well on my cell.
The best thing on the market.
Thank you.

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10 J. Money September 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm

Excellent!! Thanks for chiming in!

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