Pagemonth Budget
plan ahead to get ahead
 
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Pagemonth Setup
 
 
 
 
 
              First, size your workspace to look like this: 
 
 
 

figure 1.

1.  Open your file and Maximize the spreadsheet within the program frame. 
 
 
Pagemonth spreadsheets are arranged with all data on a single file.  In normal use you won't want it all open at once, so the first thing to do is "frame" a workspace window.
 
Download the file from the bottom of page 1, then using the appropriate spreadsheet program (Excel or Works), open it and adjust its borders to look like figure 1 above, with the spreadsheet (inner screen) maximized within its frame.  Notice that the view, with JANUARY showing in the approximate center of row 1, should be about 21+ rows deep and column "O" or "P" rows across.
 

This is the Screen size you will use for most editing since it allows each cell in one month's screen to appear in the same relative cell position on the next month's screen, reachable in three "pagedown" button clicks.  Horizontally, this size separates the workspace from a summary page and formula arrays to the right.  Whenever you save, save to this size and position (about 21+ rows deep).  It is not critical to functions but makes overall use much easier and takes advantage of the unique Pagemonth format.

 


This page height is easiest to create in the "restore down" screen by grabbing the outer frame edges rather than in an outer maximum window.  It will allow you to move to the same position in FEBRUARY by clicking pagedown three times.  In other words, each month occupies three vertical windows on the computer screen.
 
For example, any entry you make for cell O7 ($750 for the January rent) can be copied (ctrl-C) then pasted (ctrl-V) in the same relative rent position cell for February, March, etc. by clicking pagedown three times and ctrl-V after every third click.  Framing your workspace in this way makes locating, copying, and editing items throughout the year very convenient.
 
 
 

2. Enter your income and expense categories and copy them through the year.


Try it by typing in the current year in cell O1, ctrl-C, pagedown, pagedown, ctrl-V, pagedown,pagedown, ctrl-V, etc., until your December page is entered in the right year. Then save the file again, this time renamed something like "Budget16.xls"   (Caution: Before you begin entering your amounts or categories very much, please note that some columns call for amounts, some for names, and others contain formulas that should only be changed once you're familiar with the budget as you first got it. (You might do well to make a backup copy or two of the file before losing or modifying the original too much, in case you need to start over or create a different year's budget later.  If you accidentally modify or delete a formula, no harm done; you can repair it from a backup.  But after you enter your own data to any extent, you'll not want to have to "start over."  Best advice: back up your work frequently.)
 
If you wish, scroll horizontally over to columns Q and following right, and you'll see where each month's totals in all categories are aggregated in a year-end summary report. The summary (page 13) can be printed out for an instant, "PageYear" report you can use as I do to help prepare item and category totals for taxes.
 
Notice if you scroll down from the summary page you'll find the aggregating formulas used by each month next to that month's rows.   As with all cells, you may modify these formulas, but be aware what cells they reference or you will get unexpected results.
 
Other than the obvious caveats to make backup copies of your original file and to save your work frequently, you should be able to answer questions about using your spreadsheet from its program's (Excel or Works) help menus. We will use the rest of this page to explain the color-coded areas of figures 2 and 3 below, so you can become familiar with the different areas of your spreadsheet and how they work together.

 

3.  Make sure your cash flow and budget end balances agree.


Take a look at figures 2 and 3 below.
 
Possibly the most important feature of this spreadsheet budget is that cells D61 and J61 (the month's end balances) must agree exactly, to the penny, though they arrive at that amount through two different processes: the daily cash flow by a running checking account balance in column D; the categories of income and expenses in columns G through O by category totals of income (mint green area), regular expenses (coral area, columns L-O), and other expenses (salmon area, columns G-K).

If these two month-end balances do not agree to the penny, something is incorrect and the error or omission would need to be found before printing out the January page, because false totals would affect every other number and be carried through the errant side of the spreadsheet all the way to the end-of-year balance on December 31.

This dual-entry of each amount in both the cash flow side (left) and the budget category side (right) is how Pagemonth Budget keeps you on your toes and assures accurary. If you correctly mirror each month's dual end balances before going into the next month, the dual end balances for December will match, and match your check register balance as well.
When setting up a new budget, we recommend you balance January's numbers in its regular income and expenses, entering amounts only for those categories you know will be repeated and not entering any "Other Income: or "Other Expenses" or credit charges at all yet.
Just get your cash flow and category month end balances for January to agree.


4. Enter other known items in their respective months, both on the budget and cashflow sides.

Now you can copy the entire month's entries and paste them through the other eleven months. If the December 31 dual balances agree, you can copy and paste whatever other income and expenses you can anticipate in the months and days you expect them. And after making sure your budget says your checking register balance is right on, on the same day's balance you see in your cash flow, you're well on your way to budget tracking!
If the December dual end balances do not agree, however, back through to the first month that they show a difference, find the error, and correct it. Tip: if you can't easily find the error, use the difference between the dual end amounts (subtract one from the other) so you know the amount you're looking for.

 

 

Figures 2 and 3 below represent the top and bottom halves of the January view in Figure 1 above, but they are now color-coded to identify the functions of their areas. Beginning in the white top center, cell J3 is where you will enter your beginning checking account balance carried over from December 31 the previous year.

On the left, the yellow columns A through D then show that J3 amount plus or minus any income or expenses named in the running date of the month in columns A-C. January's end balance, 11227.02, is shown to the penny in D61, rounded to the nearest dollar to save horizontal space in the purple monthly totals box F50, and-- very important to note-- again to the penny in violet-colored cell J61.
 
D61 and J61 are the twin end balances of the cashflow and budget sides for January.  You will find these twin balances in the same cell positions of each subsequent month.  Their agreement assures accuracy.
 
  

 
figures 2, 3
 
 
 
Before leaving this setup page, notice the blue-violet "Other Expenses/Charges Summary" center bottom totals , category-numbered 120-129 on the left and 130-140 on the right. These are sums of totals described in each category as "Medical," "Gifts," "Clothing" and so forth which are added from entries in the coral "Other Expenses" area above them, if they were paid by check, or from areas in the orange "Charges" area for credit purchases. They appear again to the nearest dollar in the running annual totals (columns E and F) for each category in the same colors. and are finally totalled again in the Annual Summary page. Thus the Pagemonth Budget Spreadsheet gives you not only an accurate picture of your income and expenses through the current month but also end of month balances for all months and the year on each page.
 
That is, accurate until something changes! which it does for us all, every day! The beauty of keeping a budget is that you don't just set it once and forget it, because it would be totally worthless. You set it up, then correct it when amounts change. If the water bill goes up by $2.34 in March, enter the check you write in category 105, "water" as $21.02, not $19. But if it is a regular utility raise, copy it on through the year, and notice how it affects your monthly and year-end balances.
 
Changes need only be made to past transactions in case of error.  It's the future you want to see, and you want to see it realistically, not optimistically, so you can manage your money effectively in the present.
 
 
 5. Save As a different name from your original, such as "Budget14.xls" or "Budget15.xls," (for 2014,2015)
 
 
This overview of setting up and locating general features of your Pagemonth Budget should get you started. For more specific help in actually using the program, (handling cash transactions, formatting and printing monthly and annual pages, handling debit card, credit card and loan payments, etc.) see our HELP page.  For a discussion on establishing income/expense categories and amounts recommended by some financial experts, see our BUDGETING 101 page.  And for answers to users' questions, issues and concerns, see our FAQ's page.  To email us your questions, concerns and comments, go to our CONTACT US page, or email us with your own preferred program, at mail@pagemonth.com.  We will reply as soon as possible.  To investigate other budget-related websites visit our BUDGET LINKS page, and to read our latest thoughts on home budgeting visit our PAGEMONTH BLOG.