blogPg09_con1.html eMONEY: A USER GUIDE

Nearly every environmental and consumer protection agency - institutions created for the benefit of people - has been stripped of funding or taken hostage by the very element they were initially mandated to oversee. It's all window dressing now. Spokespersons pretend they want to help. But it's all about self-preservation; all they're really interested in is enhancing their own success.


Debt is bad, mkay. It’s a millstone around your neck. It’ll hold you down and hold you back. If you try to buy a house, your debt-to-income ratio determines how much money you can qualify for.

Should you lose your job or become disabled, debt can bankrupt you. You could lose your house.

Secondly, don’t buy anything new. If you buy new – a car furniture stereo equipment – you’re going to pay 40% more than it’s worth. Buy from people who can afford to trade up every three years. Buy a three-year old car - for what it’s actually worth! Then sell it three years later, for a little less than what you paid for it. Let the rich support the corporations they own stock in; it’s possible to live quite well of their table scraps. Buying new is certainly convenient, but not worth a 40% premium.

Excalindur was my best friend for many years. It made it possible for us to prosper, even on a lower than desired income. With Excalindur, we were able to retire our debt and improve our standard of living. It lives in our computer, and even now I can tell - to the penny - where the money went, what we spent on any given day, from 2006 to 2014.

Excalindur served me well, there's no doubt. And without the keen insight Excalindur provided I might not have been able to bridge the gap, taken the leap of faith required, between seeing what happens behind the scenes, and believing that it would happen, even if I did not see it. If that leap of faith had not been taken, the ease of use which makes this process universally accessible may have remained hidden, and distribution to all who need it would not have been possible. As good as Excalindur was, the fact is, few people would use it for any great length of time.

With HomeCFO, the bank and credit card companies do the grunt work. Excalindur has been retired. It is presented here merely to illustrate what goes on behind the scenes when using its successor (the Comptroller). However, understanding how Excalindur works is essential to understanding why the Comptroller can be used with confidence. The steps skipped to maximize convenience amount to a huge leap of faith.

So let's walk a block or two with Excalindur, before setting sail for the new world, and a new life, with Comptroller.

The Comptroller is a much more user-friendly version of Excalindur.


1. Download a copy of Excalindur to your phone, tablet, or computer.

2. Make a copy (one for each month) to work from, and save the original.

3. In the yellow field, at the top of the table, enter your opening bank balance (or a formula to carry over the Ending Balance from the previous month's summary, which can be found at the bottom-right corner of the sheet).

A word of caution!: Do you not overwrite the blue or white fields at the top of each day module.

4. In the darker grey area at the top of each day module, enter the total amount of deposits made that day.

5. In the lighter grey area of each day module, enter individual expenditures, one per line; payee on the left, amount on the right (see example).

Excalindur was an integral part of the development process. I don't use it any more because the Comptroller is so much more efficient. The advantage of Excalindur is that it lets you see every step of the process; the Comptroller abandons that feature in the interest of efficiency.

Perhaps the best way to describe the difference between the two interfaces is this: if Excalindur were the twenty-four letters of the alphabet between A and Z, Comptroller is the elipsis (A ... Z). If you believe those letters exist, you don't necessarily need to see them.

Excalindur still has value. It lets you keep a transaction record on your computer or other device. It details the method's inner workings - so users can see how it works, and know that it can be trusted, before putting their money on the line. And it can be used to test what-if scenarios and to forecast near future financial status.

As you will learn later (Lesson Z), proper use of different Forms of Payment effectively outsources the bookkeeping, and you can access the information you need online, via banking and credit card websites and mobile apps.


If you know you're going to get paid on the fifth and the 19th, and you know how much it's going to be, you can fill in that amount for the wholeYear by using 12 copies of the next calendar page. Likewise, if you're on budget billing for electricity, you can enter that expens and amount for the next eleven months. If you've posted your expenses for the current pay period, you can look ahead to see how much money will be left over - or, add a few things to the list to see whether you'll run out of money.

Should you choose to advance to Part 2: Streamlining The Process, you'll learn not only how to automate these tasks, but more significantly, how to administer the entire process more efficiently.

I spend no more than two to five minutes every morning, managing the finances, and five to ten minutes whenever a statement arrives. By following the routines, the time required to managing your money is held to a minimum. By targeting your pre-eminent need with each expenditure, you obtain the highest degree of satisfaction per dollar spent. You literally  spend  your way to a better life.

Who Writes It?

I have been budgeting for more than thirty years. Life experience, an occasional flash of insight, and tremendous advances in technology have transformed what began as an ordinary household budget into a comprehensive, effective, efficient way to handle money responsibly - one that enabled our family to improve our standard of living, even on a sub-median income.

It isn't rocket science. There's nothing about handling money well that a Junior in high school with a semester of Algebra couldn't figure out, eventually. I have no formal background in finance - just three decades of discovering ways to make ends meet. The reason you might want to read this blog is because it could save you thirty years.

There's plenty of information available on the subject. Over the years I've read my fair share, and I can tell you, nobody offers any practical advice for 1) prioritizing expenses or 2) saving time. Pretty critical omissions, I'd say, since the main reason people don't stick with a budget because it takes too much time. I've fixed that. As for prioritizing, the experts tell you to dinstinguish between Needs and Wants. That doesn't help anyboy. I've got a better approach for that, too.

I'm not trying to be vague, or promise something I can't deliver. It's all in the Guide and it's all free. I'm just trying to keep the Intro short.

You don't have to have any previous experience with budgeting.If you can operate a cell phone, you won't have any trouble. All you have to do is enter information in forms. The blog is basically a prototype for an app.

The blog consists of lessons and exercises. If you're having trouble making ends meet, you likely need to re-evaluate your relationship to money. The lessons cover fundamental concepts. The exercises are not just arbitrary. They're actually the tools I use to manage my own money. You just put your information in. The principles of responsible money management apply equally to everyone. What works for me will work for you.

You can view the tools (table templates) here.

To request a copy of the templates workbook, click the email link at the bottom of this page, and type "wkbk" on the subject line.

In How To Make Ends Meet, each step is represented visually, illustrating the link between action and result. How To Streamline The Operation takes it to the next level, using common online banking and credit card features to eliminate the bookkeeping. Working drafts of both classes are posted on this blog

It is assumed that the reader possesses basic computer skills such as downloading, opening, copying, and saving files, and entering information.

To download a set of templates tables for the course, click here.

What's important?

When trying to survive on a less than adaquate income, it's important to satisfy your highest-priority needs first. Most writers in the field would have you differentiate between needs and wants. That's useless advice. Research into human motivation tells us that at any given moment there is a pre-eminent need. Targeting your pre-eminent need with each expenditure virtually assures you will get the greatest amount of satisfaction per dollar spent.

You can't just wing it. Prospering, especially on a less than adequate income, requires a carefully crafted, sound spending plan - a budget - one that organizes, and satisfies, your needs by order of priority. Also, you need to save in advance for the expenditures you plan to make. And you need a way to compare your actual spending to your plan, and to test results before making adjustments.

I have been budgeting for more than thirty years.

Many people aren't comfortable sharing, with their peers, their intimate financial details. Plus, it's easier to stick with what you know than to learn something new. Despite assurances that it was far easier to use than to explain, I got no takers.


Edwin H Friedman


"Whether you think you can do something or not, you're right."

"Your future comes out of your mouth."

"Success is measured not by the scope of our possessions but rather, by the extent to which we are able to live life on our own terms."

"Your future comes out of your mouth."

Nashville, IN USA



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