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personal budget and expense tracking

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Are you worthy? ->>>

My friends,
Come with me to France, to the time of the musketeers, when honor is everything. Meet the musketeers. Laugh with them; ride with them; fight for your life with them. Weep with them. It's 1638. You are there. France does not suspect the evil forces working within to shatter the tranquility, to split the spoils for evil's own gain.

But this is no ordinary story, as circumstances conspire to plunge the young lady, master fencer into the fateful position of saving France from the traitor. She cannot do it alone, but she will be a part of the battle.

Feel the emotions of the musketeers as they are swept up in this battle. Can they accept a woman as an equal? Can they protect her. Should they protect her? Be careful, as you cannot stop once you begin. Fate has spoken. Read more ->>>

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  • "Some of best stories and best written books I have read in several years."
    Mark Myers - storyteller - Ohio

  • Selected by Las Vegas Green Valley High School for 2006 Reading Incentive Program

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For Honor ->>>
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Righting Time ->>>
Out of Phase ->>>

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Track Your Expenses in a Simple Spreadsheet and Find Money You Didn’t Know You Had As Featured On Ezine Articles

Article by Donna Jaske - editor for daughter Kat Jaske. Advisor on family finances.

You need to track where you spend your money. Why do you think that is the first question financial advisors ask you when you turn to them for help?

If you can enter numbers to a simple Excel spreadsheet, you can track your spending, and once you know where your money is going, you are well on your way to having more money to spend. Yes, you’ll find money you didn’t know you had. Managing your money doesn’t take much time and it will make your life so much easier.

The thing that’s different about this spreadsheet is that you can see all expenditures by category for a month, all on one page, along with totals by category. It’s easy to see exactly where your money is going. And the computer does all the math.

1. Download the free budget spreadsheet from http://www.forhonor.com/downloads.html and save it on your computer as Expenses2008.xls. There are more articles with more detailed instructions that you can also print.
The Excel workbook contains:
• A page of instructions – You can change category titles.
• A page with example expenses entered – You can put a description or date under the expense.
• A page for each month, January through December
• A total page that adds all the numbers from January through December

2. Every time you spend money, just type the amount in the column under the proper category, such as housing, automobile, groceries, restaurant, medical, etc.

3. Some simple procedures:

• Enter you expenditures as soon as you can after parting ways with your money. Put the receipts beside your computer as soon as you get home so you won’t forget or delay.

• Don’t worry about tracking every penny. Just do the best you can.

• Never set up an “other” category because you will never know where this money went.

• For credit card, debit card, and check purchases: 1) Always enter the total purchase under just one category, such as “grocery,” so that you can easily match this number to bank and credit card statements when you look at them to make sure you entered all your expenditures. 2) Then, in the next cell under this grocery column, enter a minus number for whatever amount was not grocery, such as laundry soap. It’s easy to do the sales tax calculation in the cell when you enter it. 3) Finally, enter the amount for the laundry soap under the “personal care” column.

• For regular/predictable cash expenses, don’t try to track them every time you spend the money. You just won’t do it. If you know you give the kids about $5 a day for lunch money, just enter ($5 times the number of school days in the month times the number of kids) under the “restaurant” category once a month and forget about it. Do the same thing for cash parking fees, allowances, coffee at work, etc.

• Don’t track the credit card bill payment, because you have already entered each item charged. But do enter the interest or fee charges under “business expense.”

• For regular, same amount, withholdings from your paycheck for medical, charity and life insurance, enter them into all 12 months in the spreadsheet and then forget about them unless the amount changes. You may want to track savings as a business expense just to force yourself to put money into savings.

• Do not track taxes or social security in this spreadsheet. It’s too difficult, and you can’t do anything about them anyway.

4. Track all these expenses.
Money withheld from paycheck
Automatic payments/deductions from bank accounts or credit cards
Bank and credit card fees and penalties
Check cashing fees
Checks written
Debit card expenditures
Credit card charges
Refunds or returns. Enter these as negative expenses under the proper category.

5. Once you know where your money is going, start looking for ways to reduce spending on things you don’t want. You’ll have more money for things you do need and want, such as putting more money into savings.


Personal Budget - Take Control of Your Spending by Using A Simple Excel Worksheet As Featured On Ezine Articles

Article by Donna Jaske - editor for daughter Kat Jaske. Advisor on family finances.

Download the free budget/expenses spreadsheet ->>>

You need to know where you are spending your money if you hope to ever gain control of your finances. Do you avoid keeping a budget because you think it takes too much work and time? Would you use something very simple that doesn't require a complicated software program? If you can enter numbers to an Excel spreadsheet, you can track your expenditures and manage your money very easily.
Use the free BUDGET SPREADSHEET. Simply fill in your expense amounts for each month and the computer will automatically calculate all the totals.

1. For PREDICTABLE CASH EXPENSES where you spend a similar amount every day, don't even think about entering the three dollars every time you spend it because you just won't do it.
- What if you know you usually spend $3 for donuts and coffee on your way to work? Multiply $3 times 20 workdays, which equals $60. Then enter this $60 under the "restaurants" category for that month in the budget form. You don't need to be accurate to the penny.
- Do this same thing for your other regular CASH expenses, such as the kids' school lunches, kids' allowances, parking fees, lunches at work, etc. Enter these regular expenses once a month and then forget about tracking them.

, keep the receipts and put them in an envelope by your computer.
- As soon as you can, enter the expenses on the form under the right category, such as "Restaurant," or "Auto" for a carwash.
- If there are two categories of expenses on the receipt, break the bill apart and enter the correct amount under the two categories. Don't try to be accurate to the penny. Just quickly "guesstimate" the two amounts.
- Also enter expenses that are deducted from your paycheck, such as premiums for medical insurance and life insurance or United Way contributions.
- Don't track your taxes withheld or income; that's not the purpose of this form, and it would become too much of a chore. You may want to track savings as a business expense to force yourself to save each month.

- At the end of the month, take your checkbook register and just enter the amounts under the right categories in the budget form.
- Draw a little line in the checkbook so you know the last amount you have entered and so you will know where to start from next time.
- What? You say you don't always write in the amount and payee of the check. You need to do this to manage your checking account, so just do it.
- If you use a check/debit card or have automatic deductions, you should also be writing the amount in your checkbook register and can enter it to your budget.
- If you pay a fee for cashing your paycheck, enter it under the category of "Fees/Business."
- Enter any other checking account fees from your monthly statement. Then make a mental note that check fees are the first expenses you should eliminate somehow.

4. Save the receipts for CREDIT CARD EXPENSES.
- Put them in the envelope by your computer, and enter them as soon as possible.
- When your credit card statement arrives, look at it and make sure you entered all your charges, such as automatic payments.
- You should also be looking for possible fraudulent charges since identity theft can happen to anyone.
- Do NOT enter the monthly credit card payment because you have already entered the individual things you charged.
- Enter, under the "Business" category, any credit card interest or fees you pay.
- HINT: If you are entering a charge purchase under two or more categories, ALWAYS enter the full amount of the charge under one category, such as "Grocery." Then, just below it on the budget form, enter a minus number to show you are subtracting, say, $15.25. Then, enter this $15.25 under the proper expense category, such as "Clothes." That way, when you are comparing your charge statement to your expense form, you will be able to quickly verify that you entered all the charges.
The budget expense spreadsheet on the computer will automatically add up the monthly totals for each category. It will also give you a total by category for the year. Now, you can easily see on one page where your hard-earned money is going and you are ready to take control of your spending.

Download the free budget/expenses spreadsheet ->>>


How to Make a Personal Budget and Track Your Expenses

Article by Donna Jaske - editor for daughter Kat Jaske. Advisor on family finances.

Managing your personal budget can be simple and can save you lots of money. Make a plan. Work your plan. Track your actual expenditures. Change your plan. It is not as hard as you might be thinking, and the wonderful feelings of being in control and finding money you didn't know you had are priceless.

Ok. This sounds good, but how do you do it? Use the free spreadsheet described below and follow the steps. You are going to save the spreadsheet twice. One will be used to track actual expenses. The other will be used to enter your estimated expenses. The spreadsheet is easy to use, and it becomes fun to type your various estimates of spending your money into the budget plan and instantly see what the total expenditures would be.

1. Go to http://www.forhonor.com/downloads.html.
2. Get the spreadsheet. Click and download the free budget spreadsheet template. Save it as "Expenses2007.xls."
There is one page for each month. Across the top are the expense categories, such as housing, automobile, groceries, restaurant, medical, etc.
3. Get the instructions. Click the instructions link on the website, print, and read the instructions for tracking your expenses.
4. Enter actual expenses. Enter as many actual expenses as you know about before you save it again as a budget plan. Take the time to look up your checks written and to look at your charge card statements. However, it's so important that you get started tracking your expenses, that if you don't want to go back and enter your prior expenses now, that's ok.

5. Keep tracking your expenses. Continue to track your actual expenses in the "Expenses2007.xls" spreadsheet every time you spend money. (Follow the instructions you printed.) Compare them to your "BudgetPlan2007.xls" in the next step.
When expenditures aren't going according to plan, you can easily play around with entering different numbers in your plan to decide what changes to make so you don't spend more than you earn.

6. Save your budget plan spreadsheet. One time, save a second copy of this spreadsheet and name it "BudgetPlan2007.xls" after you have entered as many actual expenses as you wanted to.
7. Update your plan. To use the "BudgetPlan2007.xls" spreadsheet, enter your predicted detailed expenses under each category. You might type in several estimated expenses under groceries, for example. Look at the monthly grocery total, and if you want the total to be bigger or smaller, just change some of the detailed expenditures. Do this for every month until you have estimated all twelve months of the year. Then look at the one-page yearly summary and see the totals that the spreadsheet automatically calculates.

Yikes! The total is more than you are going to have in take home pay. Well, it's better for you to know that now, rather than too late.

8. Reduce your spending. Think where you could spend less money.
- Spend less on gas by car-pooling with a neighbor. Fill up on Wednesdays if gas prices always go up on the weekend. Walk or bike instead of driving.
- Lower your grocery costs by buying more basic foods and fewer prepared, ready-to-eat foods. Buy the large box of old-fashioned oatmeal. Cook it in your microwave and add skim milk, cinnamon, and sugar, even fruit. You'll have a really delicious, healthy breakfast or snack for pennies a serving, so much cheaper than other boxed dry cereal.
- Mix four ounces of pure grape juice and three or four ounces of water. You're still getting good nutrition, but are getting fewer calories and are saving half the cost. Pour four ounces of diet pop or soda water into four ounces of grape juice, and you have a healthy, low-calorie, low-cost drink that tastes great and quenches your thirst.
- Don't pay credit card interest. Force yourself to stop charging ANYTHING for two months. Pay cash only. Then, always pay more each month than you charged that month until the card is entirely paid off. The interest you no longer pay is "found" money. Change to a credit card that pays you a percentage back and doesn't charge an annual fee, but be sure you always pay off the balance in full each month.
- Get a free checking account so you don't have to pay check-cashing fees. Many banks waive account fees if you have your paycheck or social security check direct-deposited or if you have a savings account. Don't bounce checks. Don't get advance loans on your paycheck because the fees are very high. NEVER get the immediate income tax refund loan from your tax preparer. They charge a FEE. Choose direct-deposit for your tax refund and you will get it quickly.
- Use your income tax refund to help get your credit card paid off or to help break the cycle of always needing to get a paycheck advance loan. If you got a large refund this year, get help from your employer to calculate if you can reduce your tax withholding for next year. Then you will get more money in your paycheck every payday.
- Use electronic bill-payment for many of your bills and save the stamp, the envelope, and the check cost. And, you will never be charged a penalty for late payment.

9. Change your plan as often as you want. Type your revised spending estimates into "BudgetPlan2007.xls" whenever think of them, and let the computer instantly give you the new totals. Keep trying until your total estimated expenses are less than your total take-home pay for the month or the year.

After a few months it becomes very easy. The more months you track your actual expenses the easier it gets to plan for future months. Soon, you'll find you don't want to live without your plan and your expense tracking.
Go to http://www.forhonor.com/downloads.html and take control of your money today.

Donna Jaske has successfully used for many years this simple spreadsheet to plan and track where her money goes. Jaske is the editor for her daughter's book, For Honor, and more. The free budget tracking spreadsheet and free excerpts from the books are available at http://www.forhonor.com/downloads.html.

Download the free budget/expenses spreadsheet ->>>