2015 money tracking
I created a really pretty spreadsheet to start out 2015. I attempted to address some deficiencies previous versions had… but I’m already frustrated by it. I really don’t want to spend a ton of time on this, but I’m not getting in information I want.
Here are the questions I want to be able to answer at a glance:
- How much will we take home this year (net)?
- How much are we spending? What big expenses remain? What categories are trending over budget, and why?
- How much are we going to save for retirement, towards mortgage pre-payment, or in cash (for mid-term spending)?
- Are our tax withholdings approximately correct to net us a small refund?
- What is our net worth?
- Are there any major investment / strategic changes we need to make? [I know the answer is yes for this one.]
- How have these answers changed since the last time I looked? Are we still on track?
I was trying to do a zero based budget and track each dollar coming in. That is too rigid if I also want to use a slush funds to smooth out cash flow. For example, I want to ignore the fact that I spent about $4k on reimbursable work travel. I want to ignore the fact that we paid for a big house project in February even though we didn’t allocate income towards it until later in the year. I want to ignore this stuff in the big picture, while understanding that it is happening. Our cash flow is actually net negative thus far – but this is OK.
I’m really jealous of the PoP’s monthly income statements and balance sheets. This would be my ideal, but I’m not quite jealous enough to do them myself. The problem is, I’m not really a details person. They bore me to death. Quarterly reports might be something I could and should handle.
There is a lot of value in summarizing the information for myself, and I’d like something T can digest. Since he doesn’t often look at the whole picture, he has a constant low-level anxiety that we are about to go broke. It would be funny if it weren’t also mildly stressful for both parties.