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Budgeting tips: Google is your financial friend

PAUL THOMPSON
Last updated 15:29 03/07/2013
budget
Using a spreadsheet can help with budgeting.

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We've asked our Stuff Nation members to share their money saving secrets. 

For years I have used Google Docs, now known as Drive, to manage my finances. 

I have a full view of my financial position and I update this every two weeks - on the 15th when I am paid and at the end of the month. 

I add a new column for the period I am updating and this means I have a historical view of the progress I am making towards my goals.

Every two weeks I update the dollars I have in my bank account and the accumulated debt on my credit card. This gives me my current position and my net position.

Current is cash on hand and credit card debt. This tells me if what I have after paying off the credit card.

Net position is all assets like the house and shares.

Credit card is the one element that is hard to manage but I use the following rule: Credit card is for groceries, gas and assets only. For all else I use cash and I set an amount of $200 per week to cover these expenses.

For me, budgeting goes hand-in-hand with savings. In this regard I have two savings vehicles.

CRA (Current Reserve Account) this funds my planned expenses in the next 12 months. Currently this is fed to pay for a holiday to the UK at the end of the year.

LTSA (Long Term Savings Account) this is for long-term goals like the next car and a bigger home.

It is also important to run accruals. This can be income accruals like commission for me or means putting money aside for expenses that I know are coming up such as rates.

Using rates as an example here each month I save a third of my rates so when the bill comes I have the money set aside. I use Rabo online savings accounts for doing this.

All of this is available on my smart phone so I always know where I am. For me having this information and a plan (goal for my CRA and LTSA) means I feel in control and financially secure.


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