This is the personal finance tracking hub that I use. Principles guiding this:
Manual input over automated
Manual is actually a feature, it helps you stay mindful and allows for better adjustments if you’re on pace to be over spending
Manual also forces weekly touchpoints, which area good time to make sure bills are paid off and tack on other habits
Budget flexibility over strictness
Goal for budgeting is just to be mindful of sending and generally to make sure I’m not spending excessively, but I don’t have to be too strict about it
The thought and mindfulness is what matters more to me as adding thought to a bad habit is what breaks it. Plus dopamine for seeing saving and low expenses, more instantaneous feedback on something that’s usually harder to get dopamine from.
This system gives the opportunity to adjust spending if needed, but also you shouldn’t stress too much if you’re over budget.
An example of how I tactically do this: 1) I see during a monthly or weekly review that I’m on pace to probably be over budget for shopping -> 2) I add a callout to my shopping list to slow down shopping (something like in collapsed content). Alternatively if I think it’s worthwhile spending, I can adjust the budget allocations and get a better picture of what my yearly spending actually is.
Budgets also have to be flexible because changes in behavior are naturally seasonal and change over time. This is built into this doc through budget adjustments.
Checking into balances and credit scores monthly gives a cadence for re-evaluating portfolio allocations, credit cards, and also a good check to make sure accounts that may not be frequently used haven’t been hacked. Another perk is that while you’re in the area, you might as well pay your cards off every week for peace of mind/spending room and maybe a slightly better credit score with lower utilization (hypothetically you’re losing a bit on time value of money but realistically it’s negligible).
Track monthly and yearly budgets for regular expenses and also special expenses (think travel and savings). You can:
See what transactions contributed to this for each month or year and add notes for specific months or years.
See historical spend on these in cool charts.
Make one off or ongoing adjustment to budgets in case spending isn’t evenly distributed.
Track spending on tagged items that span multiple categories for easy tracking (think splitting gas with roommates, where gas could go in social or work related categories).
Track when the most recent purchase of a tag was (think to check when your most recent haircut was.
Track various ratios for spending categories (think savings as a ratio of other expenses).
Track balances that are refilled based on categories (think the balance of a transit card).
Track net worth and credit score and portfolio allocations on a monthly snapshot basis. You can:
Define granularities for portfolio allocations to drilldown.
View these in cool charts.
Create and view a long term plan based on assumptions and projected income vs spending.
. These are used to group and track transactions (including the most recent transaction with that tag) that can span multiple budget categories or are specific within one budget category. Examples for my personal use: I split gas with my brother, but for gas for travel, we don’t count that in the split so I add a “split gas” tag to any gas payment that we will be splitting. This is aggregated monthly in the budget page to be evened up. I also use tags to track when my last haircut was to know when I should probably get another one.