A Mixed Bag – A bit of everything under the sun

Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category


The first step in taking charge of your finances is to make a budget. It gives you a clear idea of how much of you income is going where and what you need to cut down on. Only then can you think about saving money. Given that it is such a simple and important step, here is an excel template that makes it even easier.

This excel sheet was created by me based on another budgeting template available online the author of which is unfortunately not known.

Features of this budgeting spreadsheet:

Budgeting Template

1. Track your budget every month – There are 12 sheets for each month of the year and you can track the budget for the whole of 2010 in just one workbook. Also, it’s easier to refer to the previous months when you need to.

2. It is customizable – You can enter your checking account, savings account and credit card account names. You can add your own budget categories and their amounts.

3. Displays the amount budgeted and spent in each category – For every category you name and set a budget for, you can track your progress.

Click to enlarge

4. Summary graph of your spending – A graph in the summary page shows how your spending varies in each category every month

5. Shows your net worth – Once you enter all your accounts and their initial balances in the first month, the spreadsheet displays your net worth every month

6. Tracks your savings each month – Every dollar you enter as “Savings” in the category column is kept track of by the worksheet and is displayed at the top left corner of the page.

Click to enlarge

7. View all your account balances in one page – You don’t have to log into multiple accounts everyday. Once you have entered the initial balances, the spreadsheet automatically calculates the balances and you can see them all in one sweeping view.

8. Alerts you when you are exceeding your budget – A red box on that category immediately warns you that you are exceeding your budget allotted in this category.

Download this spreadsheet:

1. Download the spreadsheet in xlsx(Office 2007) format

OR

Download the spreadsheet in xls(Office 2003) format

How to use this spreadsheet:

Step 1: Use the categories given or add your own in the drop-down box.

You can do this using Data Validation. Also update it in the budget section.

Step 2: Add your own accounts in the Account Summary section. Also add them to the drop-down box

Step 3:. Update the initial balances. You need to do it only once. The spreadsheet will keep track of it for the rest of the months.

That’s it. You’re good to go. Start tracking your spending.

More cool features:

1. Enter the initial balances only once – Once you do it, for the rest of the year, the worksheet will work out your balances for you.

2. Change the budget amounts whenever you like – When you do, the rest of the months will reflect the changed budget.

3. There’s place to figure out your budget – There is one sheet dedicated to planning your budget where you can enter your income, see how much you need for paying bills, how much you can spend in other categories etc.

4. Formulas are protected from accidental changes– Just to prevent accidental clicking and changing of formulas, the sheets are protected. You can nevertheless type in the fields which require you to. If you however need to make some changes, you can always go to Review -> Unprotect Sheet and make them.

Hope this proves to be a useful tool. If there are any bugs or questions, please do let me know. I will address them immediately.

Other articles you might be interested in:

15 Simple tweaks to save money without sweat

Earn some pocket money in your free time

Other downloads you might be interested in:

Organize with a Master Grocery List and Weekly Menu planner

Relationship Appraisal


Finding GPT Sites and what they are

I stumbled upon these out of sheer boredom. Sitting at home all day, i wondered if i could at least use some of the time to make a little money. And i entered a world of GPT sites. Well, GPT means “Get Paid To”. You earn money for doing simple things like click on ads, or taking surveys or signing up for an offer. I was cautious. I knew not all of them are legitimate. And of those that were, i liked some and disliked a few others. And what i like, i always like to share it with others.

How much can you earn?

These sites which i have listed below are GPT sites which give you half a dollar or a dollar or so for an offer you complete. Don’t be discouraged thinking that amount is insignificant. Remember, small things add up. And add up they do. Remember all the small amounts on your credit card which now have become too much to handle? Anyways, below  is the list of sites that i continually visit and make quite some amount of money. You can, on an average earn around 30$ a month on each of these sites. It is not much, but do it on three sites and you already have $100. All of them are 100 percent free. You don’t need to spend money everywhere. There are a few offers which require credit card. But you need not do them. You can always do the free offers.

How do they pay you?

The legitimate ones either pay you by check or by paypal. This is by far, the safest option. You don’t have to give your card information or bank account information anywhere.

Which are the good ones?

1. CashCrate

This is one of the simplest sites I’ve come across. There are no frills to it. You can go there and start earning money. As simple as that.

Features of this site:

1. Lots of offers to choose from. No fee for anything. You can always ignore the credit card offers

2. They have a minimum payout of $20 in a month. Meaning, you will have to make a minimum of 20 dollars for them to pay you. If you do not make $20 in that month, it’ll be carried over to the next month.

Pros:

1. It’s very reliable. If they say the payment comes on a certain date, it will definitely come to you that day.

2. There are quite a lot of offers to do and they  pay well.

Cons:

1. They pay only by check. This could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending upon you.

2. The payment will be only in the later half of the next month. For example, if you earn $20 in December, they will process your check on the 15th of January and you will get the amount only on 21st of January. This is not so bad, you only have to be a little patient. It is well worth the wait.

2. Treasure Trooper

TreasureTrooper This site has similar offers and is much more fun. Along with cash earned in offers, there are also chances of winning gold coins, pearl and platinum coins. You can buy fun stuff with them or trade one for another.

Features:

1. It is similar to CashCrate. The minimum payout is $20.

2. Payment method is by check or paypal if you have a paypal account

Pros:

1. The additional earnings in kind are good and makes it more fun

2. Paypal account makes it easier, at least for me.

Cons:

1. Like cashcrate, the payment is processed only in the last half of the next month.

3. PaidTheFastest

PaidTheFastest This has become my favorite website. The offers are good, they credit soon and the payment is under 24 hours. The payout is also very low. Just $3.

Features:

1. Minimum payout of $3. 2. Payment is via paypal.

Pros:

1. Low payout and they pay within a day. You don’t have to wait for one and a half months.

2. There are a couple of games where you can make extra money

3. There are a number of contests going on which keeps you motivated to earn more and more

Cons:

1. None that i can think of.

So that was my list. If i find myself consistently attracted to something else, i’ll definitely add it to the list. All the above websites also give you a 20% commission for getting referrals. So go ahead, have fun and maybe you can afford that Wii you wanted all along.