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:
Last time we chatted I had mentioned about an app I liked, but I found an even better, SEXIER one.
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:
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):
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.)
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:
Here is the “Account Setup” option, which lets you set up multiple accounts to track, such as savings accounts or credit cards:
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.
Here is the Reports menu:
Here is the “Category Spending” for this month:
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:
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.
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:
Here is the “Print Calendar” (expanded titles):
Lastly, here is the Help menu:
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.
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!!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!