I’m not going to write about personal finance 101 because it would end up being version 10,000,000,000,000 ^365…
We’ve seen enough. Everything has been repeated and humans are humans.
I am, however, going to share my methods, which includes an excel sheet and a budgeting application.
The Excel sheet – I use it “planning” and being pro-active with my budgeting efforts. What I mean by this is, I plan purchasing a home, funding a college account for my future child, purchasing a car, or planning future investments. It’s sort of like a quick simulation.
Setting the goal, here’s how I do it – the categories:
Let the simulation(s) begin!
Just start filling it out based on a monthly view and allow excel to “summarize” it for you. Do the same for your expenses and see how much is left in the (“Net(+/-)) column at the end of the month.
On to the App! This is what everyone wants to see.
So, yeah, it does a lot – but it keeps things simple. My favorite feature about the application, aside from being able to view all accounts at once (Student loans, home loans, credit/debit, and 403b accounts), I’m able to view my “net worth” because of the vast account capabilities.
The other cool feature, is the ability to categorize. Throughout the month, I set a dollar amount budget (based on my monthly excel budget) and I categorize all expenses throughout the month. By the end of the month, I look at the budget dashboard and see where I am with my budget categories. Most of the time, I’ve over spent on restaurants or groceries, or wood working projects. I promise, one of these days, I’ll treat wood working like a business and actually make money from it!
The unspoken and indirect feature that Personal Capital offers, is the ability to reflect. I was feeling a little negative toward my finances – feeling as if I hadn’t made any progress in the last year. Personal Capital maintains record of all transactions and net worth… when I reflected on the app, I saw that I actually paid down $20,000 worth of debt, saved for a mortgage down payment, paid off my car and enjoyed an expensive vacation for a week in Florida… It instantly boosted my mood and made me realize that I am making steady progress on my financial, material and social goals.
The second App – Robinhood. If you’re investing but don’t have more than $200,000 invested in a stock trading brokerage account, then I suggest that you invest for free – in Robinhood. Seriously, you can make money instantly with their free trades. Buy Apple today, sell it in a few days and enjoy your 1-3% profit margins. If you capitalize on this technique which leverages compounding growth and the market continues to do well, you’ll do well!
Free money, create an account and start trading!
Message me if you would like a template or a more complete run through of anything in this post.