Freedom Fuel-Free Budgeting Tool

I am a long-time fan of budgeting.  Practicing the art and science of budgeting is very useful in helping you get real with your financial habits and provide you a baseline from which to measure and modify your spending and saving/investing energy.  This is something that my mother instilled in me, along with the belief that all debt is bad and should be avoided at all costs.  I am eternally grateful to her for imparting her wisdom as it has allowed me to live debt-free to this day.

Now that I have explored the world of financial education by feeding my brain with such delightful reads as Rich Dad Poor Dad and Retire Young Retire Rich, I no longer look at debt the same way.  While I still avoid acquiring “bad debt” (debt accrued on credit cards or by taking out auto or home loans), I am an OPM convert.  OPM stands for Other People’s Money, and if becoming financially free is your goal, as it is mine, then OPM is what you want to leverage to build your real estate investments upon.

So! This is barely scratching the surface of investing that I highly recommend everyone look into.  More on investing later!

Today I want to share my new and improved budgeting tool that I created to help keep my spending in line so that I can invest more of my income in investments that pay me. 

I am reminded of a dialysis nursing preceptor who told me: “if you are working then you want your equipment to be working also.”

I am upgrading this sentiment to: “if you are working you want your money to be working also…so that eventually you can stop working and your money will work for you!”

So far I have been using this tool for the better part of December and it has really helped to keep me in line with my spending, in spite of the holiday shopping season.

I designed this spreadsheet on Google Sheets-for free!! And I am really excited to share it because I think that others may find this a helpful tool as well.

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 10.39.44 AM.png

I’ve created formulas that do all the calculations for you, all you need to do is input the amounts coming in/going out.  One thing I’d like to share is how to create a sum equation within a cell.  This is useful when you make more than one purchase in one category per day.

Let’s say that you buy groceries at 3 different places on one day.  You spend $25 at your local farmer’s market, $13.56 at Trader Joe’s and $20 at a local fish market.

Within the cell (B2 in the photo below) you will click your mouse and type:

  1. =
  2. SUM(
  3. Then enter the amounts followed by “+” sign
  4. End the equation with )
  5. Hit enter
Place your equation of “=SUM(x+x+x)”
Once you hit enter the total amount will be displayed in the cell.

If you want to see the full equation you can click inside the cell and the formula will be displayed in the “fx” box (see 2nd photo above).

Try it out by following the link to the Google Sheet here.******

******Note: Please do not edit the sheet itself, if you do, your information will be visible to anyone in the world who accesses the link!! Instead, make a COPY of the spreadsheet and save it to your Google docs account  by going to File and select Make a Copy. 

You can also download it onto your computer in Excel format to edit, PDF format to save for your records, etc.  I personally like to keep the spreadsheet in my Google account so that I can access it from any computer/my phone any time I want to add anything to it.

I really hope you find this useful.  To your financial freedom!!

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment!

Attitude of Gratitude: Yes, Thank You!

With the holiday season in full swing, I have been getting excited about sharing some tips on fueling your life with even more positivity, more blessings and more joy.  The secret? Gratitude!​

Gratitude seems to have an undeniably positive, albeit difficult to explain, effect on they who practice it.  While the study of gratitude is in its infancy, there already exists a body of research with mostly positive evidence in support of the tie between practicing gratitude and an overall sense of well-being (Sansone & Sansone, 2010).  Results of a study by leading scientific researcher on gratitude Robert Emmons and co-author Michael McCullough (2003) found that gratitude listing participants reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more connected with others and had greater optimism for the coming week than did participants in the control group.​

Positive psychology research studies have shown that there is a strong, consistent association between gratitude and greater happiness (Harvard University, 2011).​

​​​​


Researchers at Berekely have found that gratitude:​

  • Unshackles us from toxic emotions​
  • Helps even if you don’t share it​
  • Benefits take time (study showed difference after 4 weeks’ practice writing gratitude letters)​
  • Has lasting effects on the brain (Wong & Brown, 2017)​

Practicing gratitude can lead to positive health benefits and greater satisfaction in life so why not take the opportunity today to start? ​

Writing thank you cards or thanking sending a wish of thanks to someone mentally is a great practice!

Harvard University (2011) gives some fantastic suggestions on how to make gratitude practice a simple part of your life:​

-Write a thank-you note

-Thank someone mentally​

-Keep a gratitude journal​

-Pray​

-Meditate​

-Count your blessing​s


Ohm-my, meditation is divine!

I am particularly a fan of gratitude journaling.  It is a great activity for right when you wake up and/or right before bed.  What better way to start and end your day than with sending out vibrations of gratitude that are bound to attract more of the same to you?​


References:

Emmons, R.A. & McCullough, M.E. (2003).  Counting blessings vs. burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389​.

Harvard University (2011).  In praise of gratitude. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude

Wong, J. & Brown, J. (2017).  How gratitude changes you and your brain.  Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain