Inspired by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, I have been journaling my expenses with a modified budget sheet regularly since late 2012. By mid-2014 I realized a need for a change, as I was making errors with totalling a months’ worth of each category by hand for each sheet. Also, collating each month for trends was a difficult task in itself.
For the 2015 year, weary of buying actual accounting software (and not fitting the needs of the computer I run at home), I created a Microsoft Access database. It allowed for an easy (for me) customization of the input fields needed to directly paste in a bank, or credit card statement to categorize based on Gail’s ~40 categories.
As time went on, I made customizations to my needs, I even set up an export to a free cross-platform accounting tool (HomeBank). With this, I can create visual representations of where my money is going.
This has been a year’s plus work-in-progress, and I feel like I’m ready to share it with others. I am not charging anything, although a donation would be appreciated (details within).