Toshl Blog

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.

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.
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.
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.
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