2017-11-14 by George Mitchell
A couple of continuous plans have proven to be the most convenient option in the long term.
Short answer: I use Continuous Plan.
Long answer: I'm going to tell you here a bit about Budgeter's evolution in hope that it will be easier for you to understand why it looks they way it does, and easier to choose the plan type best fitted for you.
A couple of years ago, as I was struggling financially, I came up with a truly genius idea of writing my expenses and income down, on a piece of paper.
At first, it was just more or less chaotic bunch of lines. Very soon it became obvious that it didn't make sense to do it on paper. There's just too many changes. So I moved to a computer notepad – a simple text file. It lasted for about a week. I wanted up-to-date information how much is left and it meant recalculating everything again and again, after every change I made.
Well, I thought – it looks like perfect job for a spreadsheet software. You bet. Programming Excel may be fun if you get paid for it – I didn't. But I do computer programming for living, for heaven's sake, I can write a simple program to do just that – to keep a list of my expenses and incomes with a date attached to each entry, sorted by date and with remaining balance calculated. And that's exactly how it began.
At first, it was a Windows desktop program. I later called it Piggy. It had a day of month, amount with income/expenditure indication, comment and remaining balance. Every month I copied existing plan to a new file to plan ahead. But then my apetite grew and I realized that it would be more convenient to just keep continuous plan, without putting Opening Balance every month, plus I'd be able to plan once-a-year events like holidays or Christmas.
So Piggylog has been born. Still Windows application. And everything was fine, except that I only had access to it when at home and with my computer on.
You can guess the rest of this story – Piggylog went online as simplemoneyplanner.com and later it became Budgeter.
Now, hardly a day goes without checking on my plan. My life has changed enormously, since I know I have enough, not only this month, but in a year in advance. Want that new shiny iPhone? Sure – just let me check with my plan. Put that $600 in Budgeter and one second later I know when and by how much I'll be in red and can juggle a couple of expenses or just say: 'not this time'.
And then I do sleep tight.