Category: Budgeting

The River Flow Graph – How Your Money Flows Each Month (Web App)

Once in a while, one needs to take a broader look of things, even personal finances. To help you see your monthly flow of finances from a higher ground, we made the “river flow” graph.

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Imagine the money that you earn and spend each month as a system of rivers. It flows in, hopefully rests a bit in a lake of your making, then most of it flows out again to replenish the fields – or yourself and your phone bill. With some good planning you can build yourself a dam and some accumulation lakes on the side, just to be safe if a dry season ever hits you.
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The number at the very top is your income, your main inbound stream. If you set up your monthly budget for all expenses, that will be the dam that you constructed. Income flows in and hits the dam. If the income amount is larger than the budget amount, the difference will flow into your savings for the dry months. It’s good to grow an “accumulation lake” or your “savings account” as your less poetic banker would call it.
If the budget is larger than the income, you’re living beyond your means and need to readjust the budget. Or even better, increase the income if possible.
Beyond your budget dam and monthly money lake, your expenses flow out. The width of the flow represents its size.
The flow in dark red are expenses that have already been made.
The orange flow are your planned expenses, the ones which are coming this month, but have not been due yet.
The green flow is your “left to spend” money. The money that you have already budgeted for, so it should hold by the end of the month, but you have yet to let it flow out of the dam.
If you have not built your dam yet (set up a monthly budget for all expenses), then the flows will simply be going straight down, but their width still representing their size.
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If your expense flow is much stronger than the income one, you know the lakes will run dry rather quickly. It’s a situation that should be quickly fixed. Hopefully you’ve accumulated enough in the past to weather through this dry season.
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Hopefully, the river flow graph will help you get a good understanding of your money flows and you’ll be able to avoid the dire situations before they occur.
While it’s great seeing these rivers from the top down to manage your money better, it’s even better in first person, leaping down those rapids as the Toshl Monsters see them…

To learn more, check out the Monthly overview and Left to spend blog posts.
Posted in Budgeting, Personal finance, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Make Your Yearly Financial Overview of 2014

The 2014th ellipsis of Earth around the Sun since we decided to keep track of those laps, is slowly but inevitably coming around. Not quite so incidentally, this is also the time to take stock of what happened with your finances during the year. The more we know this year went, the better we’ll know how to start afresh in the new one.

With that in mind, here’s a few quick and easy tips how to do yearly financial overview in Toshl.
 

1. Set the time span to entire year

Seeing your finances month-to-month is just dandy most of the time, but for a year end review, it’s better to sum it all up.
 
On the web (toshl.com):
Click on the big red month link (e.g. December 2014), the click on the Custom time span tab and set the time from Jan 1st 2014 to Jan 1st 2015. Click Save and you’re done.
 
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Mobile apps
Tap the time span button, then custom time span and set the time from Jan 1st 2014 to Jan 1st 2015.
 
Can’t find the time span button?
Android: First tap the menu button, which can be either the hardware menu button or the … button on the top right, then you’ll see the time span clock button.
iOS: The clock button on the top left.
Windows Phone: The clock button in the action bar on the bottom.
 
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2. Check out the tag sums

Now that you have the whole year selected, it’s time to look around a bit, as the numbers will be quite different than before. On the web, check out the Expenses graph next to the timeline. For a more graphical display, switch to the tags section to play around with the bubble graph (Pro only).
 
What’s most important is that you get a sense of the numbers and how much to you spend on certain areas of your life during the year. While some spending on food and lodging is a quite necessary evil for us all, be on the lookout for any numbers that jump out. Can you optimise your transport costs? Quit smoking? Stop your penguin buying addiction?
 
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3. See which months are the critical ones

Another important look at your spending is to see how it moves through the months. If you have Toshl Pro, you can check out the “Expenses, Incomes, Balance” graph and see how your financial flows moved through the months.
 
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With many people, the same yearly patterns repeat every year. So keep in mind when you spend the most and be extra vigilant then. If you have yearly bills that you can predict, enter them as yearly repeating expenses. Car insurance, magazine subscriptions, major birthdays etc. are good candidates. Even if you don’t know the exact amount yet, you can enter an approximate one and adjust the expense later. It’s more important that you don’t get caught by surprise by the expense.
 
Don’t forget to put some money on the side for the 2015 vacations!
 
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4. Make yearly budgets

Especially shocked or intrigued by some of the tag sums that came up? Set up a yearly budget for the specific tag or tags. That way you can keep track of spending on your personal vices throughout the year with little effort.
 
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The green progress bar shows how much you have left in your budget, while the dotted date line shows how far we’ve come in the year. If you’ve made a good prediction and are spending in your desired pattern, those two should be on roughly the same place. If the green bar’s disappearance is way ahead of the date, you might be in trouble. Keep an eye out. Well, not literally. You know what I mean. Kids, don’t try putting your eyes out at home. Or… ever. You know what, perhaps just make an ophthalmologist budget as well.
 
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All in all, don’t forget to have fun too. It’s the merry December after all! Hopefully you still have some leeway in your yearly booze budget. ;)
 
2015 will be a year of renaissance for Toshl too, so we’re already looking forward to how much more fun the yearly overview will be in 2015.
Posted in Budgeting, Personal finance, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

How to Create a Budget, Perhaps Make a Golden Pagoda

Tutorial to help you start budgeting with Toshl and explore some most common uses of budgets. The surest way towards becoming a enlightened budgeting genius.

So you want to save some money or keep a closer eye on how much you’re spending. Setting up a budget is the easiest way to do it.

Tap the + button (top right) or shake the phone when in the Budgets tab.

There’s a couple of different ways to budget, depending on what you need. Let’s take a look at some common examples:

Budget for all expenses – monthly

Set up the maximum amount you wish to spend during the month. Hopefully that number is lower than your incomes. That’s important because it turns out that private citizens can run budget deficits for a much shorter time than governments can. It’s thus pretty wise to keep a bit of a surplus and save for the rainy days.

This budget will now track all your expenses within the month and warn you with some flaming red hues when things go overboard.

Budget for specific tags – weekly coffee

That caffeine habit is tough to kick, especially in the mornings when that extra energy boost is like mana from heaven. Now you can at least get a sense of proportion and try to limit your coffee spending by setting up some early warning signs. If you track coffee spending with its own tag you can set up a budget just for coffee and try to shake less when holding that cup.

Some Toshl users found strength to quit smoking by setting up a cigarettes budget. But it’s not just for vice, feel free to budget for any type of tag you wish to keep a closer eye on.

Travel budget – one time

Holidays can be a time to be a bit more relaxed with money, but it’s good to have a warning system in place when it’s getting tight. You know, just so you don’t end up on the streets of Yangon selling yourself just to earn that airplane ticket back home. True story! Not really.

Anyway, go traveling, set up a one time budget for all expenses with the start and end date of your vacations and you’ll know exactly how much you spent on the trip.

People of Yangon, Myanmar budgeted so well they were able to buy themselves a golden pagoda. ;)

 

These are just a few examples of the budget combinations you can use, there’s a lot more powerful options suited to your needs. You can combine any type of budget with a time period.

Budget types:

– all expenses

– for specific tags

– except specific tags

 

Budget time periods:

– one time

– daily

– weekly

– bi-weekly

– monthly

– yearly

 

Budgets with rollovers

One more thing to get you on your merry budgeting way. Your budget doesn’t have to reset each week or month. You can turn on the rollovers by selection the option “Move remaining to next budget”. That way if you’ve been especially good in saving on restaurants last month you can move those remaining funds to the next month and treat yourself to some proper nine-course dining with fine Slovenian wine at Skaručna. Suit yourself, but that’s what I’d do.

Posted in Budgeting, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials

Quick tip: Don’t squeeze that belt too hard, budget with ease

Knowing where your money is going and keeping your finances in shape is what we want to help you with at Toshl. But that doesn’t mean you should tighten your belt so tight you can hardly breathe. If you’re in a financial crisis mode, sure, set that budget the lowest you can go and try to curb your spending. Most of the time though, we only want to leisurely monitor how much we spend and save a bit for the rainy days.

The best way to save then is to set up a general monthly budget by subtracting how much you want to save from your monthly incomes. Let me give you an example:

Monthly income 1500 €
I’d like to save 300 € each month
Monthly general budget 1200 €

Setting up the budget is easy

Visualizing your spending

This way you can monitor your spending, but you won’t feel under pressure with each purchase you make. Sum up your spending and if you’re near the end of your financial month, you can relax your spending habits a bit more.
We’ll be making this kind of budgeting and saving even easier to use soon, new version of Toshl is right around the corner.

Save only in areas that need saving

Naturally there can be some areas of your spending where you need to be more careful. While generally spending 1200 € can be fine, there’s one type of expenses that you need to be more careful with. Let’s say you overindulge by hiring waaay too many prostitutes. :P In that case, you might want to set up a budget for specific tags, namely for the tag prostitutes. Just set up a budget for specific tags (Toshl Pro only) and add the tag “prostitutes”, “horizontal entertainment” or whichever euphemism you use. Toshl will then guilt you into spending less for that exact purpose. You need to use some common sense though and not limit your budgets for safe sex and contraceptives. Ever.

Save for the specific tags you need to curb your spending on

*Toshl does not specifically oppose nor endorse prostitution. In case you don’t use or support prostitution, set up a budget of 1 cent. That way you can rest assured you won’t be using their services. ;)

Posted in Budgeting, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials

Analyze your expenses with Toshl and relieve yourself of stress

Not only is Toshl good for tracking expenses it’s also good for relieving stress. How? For example you can really take it out on your expenses and kick them around like an old bean bag.

If you’re a Toshl Pro you get this really nice visualization with balls. Representing expenses. Get your mind out of the gutter! The bigger the ball, the more you’ve spent on the tag written inside the ball. For more details on the size of your spending you can click on it and get some proper numbers.

But if you don’t feel like calculating too much and just want to release some of your righteous fury at the size of your expenses you can go ahead and do that.

Just follow this 3 step procedure:

  1. 1. Cry out that epic battle cry that you have been saving up all these years! ROOAAAAAR.
  2. 2. Drag and release the expense balls and watch them crash amongst each other just as your spending priorities crash inside you.
  3. 3. Now think of fluffy bunnies. Mmmmm.

Kick around those expenses, they're waiting for it!

With the frustration and anger out of the way go and rationally organize your expenses. Set up a budget and stick to it. With the calmness and inner peace of being finally organised: live a little!

Written by Matic Bitenc

Posted in Budgeting, Family finance, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials