Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Forward Budgeting and the Digital System


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By now you are familiar with both forward budgeting and the digital system.  There are different tools that can be used to track forward rolling digital finances as with the other systems.


While it is completely feasible to use an envelope system for your budget, it may be a bit more complicated for this type of budgeting.  You can use a printable, a digital envelope tracking system, or tangible envelopes.  This system is a bit more difficult because your funds are electronic and because there are a lot of places to look at the end of the month to transfer money into the savings account.

Check Register

A check register would work great if you prefer not to use a computer based tool to track your finances.  Each month, use your check register to track every transaction.  At the end of the month, transfer all your additional funds to your savings account.

A note to make on this is to keep a running balance on your account.  For example, you can keep $1000 in your checking account each time.  Thus, if you had $1700 in your checking account at the end of the month, you would transfer $700 to the savings account and $1000 would stay in the checking account.  A buffer like this is a great way of preventing over-drafting your account at the beginning of the month.

Computer Spreadsheet

Computer spreadsheets are a great way for tracking your digital finances.  A computer spreadsheet would work just like a check register. You would record each line on the date it occurred and then create an extra line for the transfer at the end of the month.

Additionally, you could create your spreadsheet to look like an income statement instead of check register.  With this method, you can use each column for a new month so you can see multiple months at a time.  You can also drag the formulas across the page to project for any period of time.

Forward Roll Spreadsheet


Another way to track using the spreadsheet is to use one color for transactions that have not taken place and another for finalized amounts.  For example: At the beginning of the month, have all the amounts blue.  Once each transaction has been made, change the color to black.  Originally you may have $75.00 blue in Electricity but after the expense occurs, it could say $73.24 (the exact amount) in black.  This will help you keep track of which expenses have been paid.

There are also many posts related to this type of a spreadsheet that can be found here.


There are many apps and programs designed to track expenses.  If you would like to track your finances digitally but are a bit overwhelmed by maintaining a spreadsheet, an app or program is a great choice.  Apps have many great visuals and other features.

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Say Goodbye to Living Paycheck to Paycheck: Choosing Your Budgeting System


This post is part of a series.  To start the series from the beginning, click here.  To browse through the series, click here.

Once you’ve determined which budgeting direction you will use, you need to start to layout the specifics of your budget plan.

One of the fundamental parts of creating your budgeting plan is to choose between a cash budgeting system and a digital budgeting system.

These are not to be confused with budgeting tools such as envelopes, check registers, and other types of tools.  All of the tools for budgeting can be customized to fit the system you decide to use.

A cash budgeting system is exactly that.  It’s cash.  No credit cards, just cash.  Of course, when you get to the point of saving, it could be a good idea to open a savings account rather than keeping a large supply of money around, but we’ll get to that later.

A digital budgeting system utilizes credit cards, checking accounts, online interfaces, apps, and many other technological opportunities.  All of your budgeting and tracking is kept in digital form and you are responsible for sticking to your budget without having tangible money to stop you from over-spending.

There are many benefits to both a cash system and a digital system.

Cash Budgeting

Cash budgeting is great for you if you like being able physically hold your money that way you know exactly how much you have at all times without having to log into an app or account.  Cash budgeting is also a great option for you if you dislike or have trouble with technology.  The system you use for budgeting should easily fit into your lifestyle.  If you don’t like being on the computer or phone, a cash budgeting system may be best for you.

Digital Budgeting

Digital budgeting is also a great budgeting system.  This system is good for you if you enjoy technology and find it easier to look in your app to see what your balance is.  While the digital world makes so many things easy for us, you need to pay special attention to your spending.  Unlike the cash system, where you literally can’t spend anything more than you have, the digital system shows no boundaries when you pull out the credit or debit card and run a transaction.  On the other hand, with digital budgeting there are a ton of options for charting your spending so you can analyze where all of the money is going.

Whichever budgeting direction you choose, make sure it fits in with your lifestyle and your budgeting needs.


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