Financial Headaches: A Series on Personal Finance Management

The process of balancing your checkbook isn’t just about knowing how much money you have to spend right now. It can yield huge insights into your future. “Years before I created the technique shared in this series, I gave a presentation for a speech class I had to take as part of my college curriculum.Continue reading “Financial Headaches: A Series on Personal Finance Management”

Lesson 1: Checkbook Duh! Factors

Before you can dive into managing your personal finances (checkbook balance, budgets, savings, loan payoffs, etc.), there are some basic money management concepts that you need to know.  Duh! Right? Perhaps you already know the basics, but please give the following questions and answers a read before continuing to Lesson 2: A Map for theContinue reading “Lesson 1: Checkbook Duh! Factors”

Lesson 2: A Map of Personal Financial Processes

In Lesson 1: Checkbook Duh! Factors, you were introduced to the concept of lagging and future commitments. In other words, the bank doesn’t know if a check is about to be cashed or that you will need to write a check for a bill that’s about to arrive. In this lesson, you will be introducedContinue reading “Lesson 2: A Map of Personal Financial Processes”

Lesson 3: Get Ready

In Lesson 2: A Map of Personal Finance Processes, you were introduced to the processes for managing personal finances. In this lesson, you will explore the process of getting ready to track your current status and plan your future. The effort to gather information about your financial commitments might seem obvious. However, it’s easy toContinue reading “Lesson 3: Get Ready”

Lesson 4: Set Up the Spreadsheet

A paper transaction register is part of the past, but its purpose never will be. With a spreadsheet, manual computing is no longer needed. And forget about sloppy handwriting. Typed entries are the way to go. In order to use the data collected in Lesson 3: Get Ready, follow the steps below to get setContinue reading “Lesson 4: Set Up the Spreadsheet”

Lesson 5a: Single Monthly Paycheck Plan

If you completed the tasks in Lesson 3: Get Ready and Lesson 4: Set Up the Spreadsheet, you are ready to move forward in preparing your digital tracker and planner.  In this lesson, you are going to focus on a scenario where you get one paycheck per month. This mimics a basic budget approach: incomeContinue reading “Lesson 5a: Single Monthly Paycheck Plan”

Lesson 5b: Twice a Month Paycheck Plan

If you completed the tasks in Lesson 3: Get Ready and Lesson 4: Set Up the Spreadsheet, you are ready to move forward in preparing your digital tracker and planner. If you reviewed Lesson 5a: Single Monthly Paycheck Plan, you will see the same steps below. However, the running balance will be different. In this lesson,Continue reading “Lesson 5b: Twice a Month Paycheck Plan”

Lesson 5c: Every Two Weeks Paycheck Plan

If you completed the tasks in Lesson 3: Get Ready and Lesson 4: Set Up the Spreadsheet, you are ready to move forward in preparing your digital tracker and planner. If you reviewed Lesson 5b: Twice a Month Paycheck Plan, you will not be surprised regarding the steps that follow. However, there is a difference soContinue reading “Lesson 5c: Every Two Weeks Paycheck Plan”

Lesson 5d: Front Loaded Paycheck Plan

Let’s start by explaining what I mean by front loaded. The concept is simple. The income from one month is used to pay the next months commitments. Instead of talking about it, consider a sample using the income and commitments from Lesson 5c: Every Two Weeks Paycheck Plan. Sample Front Loaded Digital Tracker and PlannerContinue reading “Lesson 5d: Front Loaded Paycheck Plan”

Lesson 6: Tracking Actual Commitments

You planned that your electric bill in January would be $100. The odds that a utility bill is an even $100 are low so this is a perfect example of a planned commitment that needs to be updated with the actual cost. Updating your digital tracker with actual costs should be done with each transactionContinue reading “Lesson 6: Tracking Actual Commitments”