This week personal finance blogger Andy writes his next Money Dashboard functionality review; this time about split transactions.
Introducing FIRE starter
My name is Andy and I write a blog called theFIREstarter. My aim in life is to retire early and blog about some of the ways you can start saving towards a goal like mine. Whether you want to pay off your student loans or save up for a car, saving money can be really hard.
Using a free budget planner like Money Dashboard can really help you to achieve your financial goals. The proof is in the pudding so I've taken some time out to review some of the functionality of Money Dashboard to help you along in understanding how to budget with this tool.
Saving with Money Dashboard
I discovered Money Dashboard about a year ago and was instantly hooked, and it has no doubt helped us get our spending in check, which is key to attaining FI (Financial Independence). Over the next few weeks I'll be chatting through my favourite Money Dashboard features that can help us save more and spend less. I've already blogged about Aggregating your accounts and Tagging towards your Financial Future which can help you get your head around how Money Dashboard works.
This week I'll be talking through the 'The Split Transaction Function' feature which can help in your quest to retire early or simply save money more effectively. Let's go!
Splitting the bill
The tagging system is great and handles 99% of all simple one time transactions, but what happens when:
- You are out at a restaurant and are splitting the bill, but you pick up the tab on card and everyone else pays you cash
- You stick a group holiday on your credit card, and then you get paid back later for it in dribs and drabs
- You withdraw £30 cash and spend £10 on groceries, £15 having some lunch with a friend, and £5 on a gift for your significant other (I know what you're thinking, my wife must be a lucky woman!)
Enter the split transaction button!
Just hover over the transaction amount on the right hand side of the Past Transactions screen and you should see the small but perfectly formed "Split" icon appear. Click on this and you are shown the split transaction box which is very easy to use and makes handling the above potentially complicated situations easy to deal with.
Let's use the restaurant situation as an example as that could be the trickiest one to handle. If you just wanted to tag the fact that you still have cash in your wallet due to your friends paying you back that money, you could just tag the split transaction as such:
However if you then spent all of that money you could tag it as such, for example if you went shopping afterwards and blew it all on some shiny new clothes. If you were more conservative and just spent some on clothes and kept the rest in cash, you can just use the "Add another split" option, like this:
Money Dashboard kindly works out the value of the remainder amount at the top, so you don't really even need to do any maths, you can just stick in rough values until you think the balance looks about right. You should quickly be able to see that you can just keep creating splits ad nauseum and so break down all kinds of larger, ambiguous transactions into smaller, correctly tagged ones.
What do you think?
Now that you have read my next post, I would love if you took a look at Money Dashboard and see if you can use some of my tips above. Tweet me @TFSRetireEarly and @MoneyDashboard with your top tips or questions on your quest to an early retirement or just about saving money in general.