Skip to main content

Why Visualising your information makes ultimate sense while planning your expenditure?

What is the problem statement?

If you have tried managing expenses in your home during pressing circumstances ie., when you have loads of other things to do you may have hit a wall looking at the complexity it can present to you. Sometimes you are totally confused and disorganized and are unaware of the expenditure that is going to hit you in the near future.

There are people who are good at this no doubts. But as we age, many of us feel that the amount of data we need to process and the amount of expenses we need to gauge is enormous and we may miss out on the important ones many a time. Couple that with other disturbances such as pressure at work, household chores, lack of sleep and a general lack of time and we tend to move towards assistant apps on our phones which will keep track of the costs for us.

Again there are some really good apps in the market for that such as expense managers ranging from simple ones, all the way to ones that even manage and read your bank statements and show you your networth value in order you get to know how you are performing. But sometimes these are overwhelming and they themselves become items on which we need to spend extra time feeding the data for them to interpret.

The need of the hour ...

To be honest with you, given the amount of complexity that I have in life personally, I am looking out for a million different ways to keep things simple all the time. Be it at my work, or conversations, or at home - consolidating accounts, keeping emails short or avoiding them, using collaboration boards when possible and so on and so forth.

So in the quest for keeping things simple, I had to find a way to organize my expenses that I am facing or will face in the future. Again I did not want to plan years ahead. Say just for this year. 12 months. And I had one burning need. The data must be visible to me all the time, without any sort of reminders and I must be able to track the progress on the goals or tasks.

The solution - simplicity

I started thinking like a kid - what would a kid do given the limited resources he had access to, to note down something? Yes! Jot it down in a pen and paper. But then I am an adult so I can add a bit of flair to it, right ?


So first I scaled up the size to a marker sheet or a cardboard sheet fairly large enough. This solved two issues for me - one, I can write a lot and put in many items there by varying the font size choice, and two - I can walkby where it was put up and glance at it whenever I wanted to.

Buckets of content

There was no need to put in all information randomly and in an unordered list on that sheet. But rather to split it into many different categories or buckets as we will call it. Its the same simple thing everyone knows and does. Since I planned for a complete year one obvious division was monthwise expenditure. Another was by type of expenses - some are mandatory expenses, some are nice to have but not important expenses, and others also included things like savings - basically money that you deem will not be accessible to you for spending (for me I considered this as an outgo)

Content representation

Content can be represented in multiple ways as you would know it. A to-do list which is simple and says some things are done when they are done. Or a more organized list by date or month with amounts per each item to give more info. I chose a sort of hybrid approach - for some buckets I used plain text without end dates, and for some items like savings I used "Smileys" or "Frownies" - meaning if there is a smile, I saved up for the month, else I did not.

For categorization vertically it was columns for each month. For horizontals I divided based on priority or differentiation. Smileys were best shown below expenditures since it was a savings category. Everything on top was super important but everything in the middle was nice to have though not must to have.

I could still use one more separation for the things I actually binged on, when it was not planned to give me a visualization of where I wasted money. How you put the data is up to you as long as there is one view on everything.

The results

The experiment had such a positive impact on me, I cannot convince you enough that you must try it out too

  • Ensure you use large size cardboard paper to list out your items

  • Ensure you categorize clearly

  • Ensure you put things that are not important lower in the list

  • Use both text and indiciations like smileys to make important things fun

  • Smileys in my case have to be earned and not earning a smiley relates to a whole month (basically a large time period) wasted which questions your basic discipline abilities and keeps you on track without getting disturbed or distracted.

  • Keep adding the things you are additionally buying so you have a full picture at end of the year to discuss and reflect

  • Put in things like vacation and family time as they are important too and cannot be compromised. Basically everything you want to do or attend to should be in there

  • Any new recurring investment should feature in the next year's chart without being missed out.

  • Show people and talk about your chart to people and try to inspire them like I did for you.

  • Last but not least celebrate small but significant achievements both on savings and being accurate about your planning.


Popular posts from this blog

Car Rentals in Kuala Lumpur - SoCar vs GoCar

IntroductionAs I was headed to Malaysia for a trip for 10 days, I needed an option to commute within the country. While renting cabs with drivers was definitely an option, there was no privacy enough, and there was no way to make my own decisions on where I wished to go when. I was not so keen to rent a cab outside of KL city.We had plans to visit multiple places such as Cameron, Penang, Langkawi so I needed a vehicle which I was willing to drive myself. It was the best option as it would give me the convenience without burning a hole in my pocket. The trip itself was turning out to be expensive and I wanted a good option for inside the country travel.Things that I was looking forAs any first time car rental customer, I had some concerns, so I needed theseEasy rental mechanism, including driver sign up and validation of
licensePreferably use local Karnataka (state license from india) - without the need for IDPApp based car handlingEasy fuelingEasy breakdown service if needed anywhere …

How to cover Malaysia in 10 days - full details on a self planned trip

Some history Ever since 2016 my wife and I decided that we want to do one international trip (though not necessarily one country) every year. We made it to Singapore in 2016, and Dubai in 2017. It was time to explore and take my family to Malaysia this time around in 2018.

The fact that I was working in Malaysia in 2002 and could not get time in the short one year that I stayed there to see many places only meant the urge to go there was pretty strong in order that I could get another chance to cover all the places I did not see this time around.

Also 15 years down the line with a lot of instrastructure and convenience improvements happening around the world, surely the trip would seemingly put me at more ease than earlier on. So it was time to decide how to plan the trip.

My logic for planning trips I usually do my own booking and planning for everything for my trip. I look through places to visit, I look through multiple sources of reviews, I look through the best times to travel t…

Veg Biriyani Recipe

IngredientsOne Potato - dices into small cube sized pieces and soak in waterBeans - about 10 of them chopped into medium pieces, soak in waterCarrot - about 2 of them chopped into medium pieces, and soak in waterOnions - big ones, 2 of them sliced thin and longGreen peas - a handfulMint and Coriander leaves - one medium sized bowlGhee - 2 to 3 teaspoonsCurd - 4 tea spoonsGroundnut oil - 4 to 6 teaspoons for the onions to caramelize (same can be later used for vegetables to be cooked), 4 teaspoons for the spices to be cooked along with riceBasmati rice - One cup upto brim (standard cup measure)Multi spices pack - 2 packs (contains cloves, elaichi, cinnamon, star anise)Bay leaves - 3-4 for vegetables, 2-3 for riceShahi jeera - for vegetables (2-3 teaspoons)Turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, biriyani masala, salt, cumin powderGinger garlic paste - 2-3 teaspoonsMethi leaves - half a handfulChillies to taste (I used one long chilli, you can desire to add 2) - diced into medium p…