Financial Tools / Budget Calculators
A budget is the most basic tool to help with managing God's money. A budget calculator will help you compute estimated income, and expenses. However, before you can do the budget, you need to identify goals you plan to achieve. The goals show what you plan to do in the budget period. If you have no goals you will get lost. Then again, goals without plans are useless. You need plans to show the steps you will follow to do the goals.
The budget calculator has two parts, the income section and the expenses section. Both parts of the budget calculator are essential to preparing the budget. We use a separate income budget calculator to stress the need to calculate the amount available to spend before you decide how much you should allocate to spend. This is vital. I repeat, before you use the budget calculator, ensure you identify and agree goals you plan to do in the period. Then, you need to develop supporting plans you think you will follow to do these goals.
You do not need to finish using this budget calculator for your entire budget in one session. Save the budget computation form data to the file generated automatically: "expenses.mgm." You can view this file only by clicking the "Restore Saved Work" button below. Develop the habit of saving the result of the budget calculator (budget computation forms) before clicking the Create Worksheet.
SO what is budgeting? Before you start to use this budget calculator to prepare your budget, let us review quickly budgets and budgeting. A budget is a spending plan; your best estimate of resources—time, talents and money—you are likely to need during a specific future period to do specific goals. A budget is a freeing tool without which you stumble along and advertisements dictate how you spend. A budget starts with God's goal(s), followed by plan(s)—steps to do His goal(s). The budget quantifies this plan, and helps identify potential gaps and opportunities during the budget period, so you might plan to remove gaps, and seize opportunities. Many people fear the word budget, that's why we refer to it often as a spending plan, a guide, not a straitjacket but a key part of PEACE Budgetary Control that begins with setting goals.
After doing the budget, Act - do what you planned, Compare results against the plan and the budget, and then, Execute needed changes:
This is the expenses budget calculator that you complete only after calculating the amount available to spend. Likely you will not know your spending pattern, so you will need to use your best estimates to allocate spending to the Budget Computation Expenses Form. What do you think likely income and expenses will be? Tough question, but you can answer it using information available. As you record spending over the next three to six months, you will learn your spending pattern and you can modify the budget (best estimates) on the spreadsheet file or on the expenses computation form. A spending fast will help during this challenging period.
As you prepare your budget, try to identify units you wish to monitor. don't try to"manage" dollar amounts--money isn't manageable, it the units behind money that's manageable. Instead of budgeting $250 for clothing without identifying what's included, specify clothing items (units) you wish to buy, then cost each (price). Show the cost on the expenses form. Keep details of these calculations to help with your budget review--the "C" in PEACE. I repeat, the key control unit isn't dollars, but what's behind the dollars. For meals, decide how many times you will eat out monthly and use a cost for each; monitor the number of times you eat out and the budgeted prices. If you focus on dollars only, you won't deal with real control variables, which your behaviour influences.
After you enter your expenses on the form, "Save Your Work," then click "Create Worksheet." The name of the file saved will be "expenses.mgm." You can open it only by clicking, "Restore Saved Work"--unlike other files, clicking on it won't open it. The worksheet form will give options to "Create Envelopes" for each category on the budget computation form, and save to "Spreadsheet File." More guidelines are on the worksheet form.
The Money May is a key budget worksheet. It is a portion of your budget that you travel with, not a complete budget. If you plan to do a full budget, go to the Incomes Form.
Have you ever wanted to take parts of your budget with you when you go on your spending trips? Over the next week, you want to go to the mall to buy clothes, birthday and Christmas gifts, and bulk toiletries, which you budgeted. Then again, you plan to go on vacation and do not want to overspend your budget for transport, food, shelter, and recreation.
The Money Map will help you spend for specific planned items at pre-determined prices. The Money Map system will give you a separate worksheet (your map) with expense categories and budgets to help track spending on the road. Don't leave home without it.
To activate the Money Map budget worksheet, enter amounts in the Budget Computation Expenses Form's weekly section only and ignore amounts the system calculates for other periods. For the Money Map calculations only, you do not need to enter amounts in the Income Form.
If you are going away for a week and plan to spend "gas" $100, "dining out" $350, "accommodation" $400, and "movies and shows" $50, enter these amounts in the weekly section of the Expenses Form, then click "Create Money Map." You will go to the "Money Map Worksheet" screen where you will see these amounts under "Weekly Budget." There you will be able to change amounts if needed.
The Money Map Worksheet does not replace the budget, it represents items included in the budget, which you want to isolate and track over a period shorter than the budget period.
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Before you implement financial decisions, consult an Independent Financial Advisor. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible (Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)