Category Archives: Budget Ponderings

Building a deck on a budget

I am currently building a deck on a budget, and discovered an excellent web based application to help at http://www.blocklayer.com/deckcalculator.aspx. I tried a couple of these calculators but this one stood out by far. The range of details you can enter is extensive, including things such as the distance between joists, whether the stumps are round or square and how thick the decking board is. The most impressive thing about this deck calculator is that as you change details and hit calculate, it creates technical drawings of your deck. With this feature you can you can immediately see how a particular choice, such as housing a bearer into a stump, will change the design. The drawings are very clear with a view from directly above the deck and with a cross-sectional view.
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What is a budget?

A budget is a tool to help you live within your means. With a budget you can allocate your money towards what will be spent and what will be saved for the future. A simple budget lists and compares all your income and your expenses to work out how much is left over. A typical example can be seen in the picture below.
Simple Budget Template Summary
The budget shown above was developed with Microsoft Excel and is available for download here. For many people a simple budget such as the one above will do. However, if you want to follow your money more closely, advanced budget software provides features such as:

  • Tracking actual income and expenses against budgeted amounts
  • Charts for visually tracking performance,
  • Ability to update your budget from your smart phone when you make purchases.

Of course, whether you are budgeting with pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or a smart phone with the latest software, keeping a budget is still about sensibly managing money coming in and going out.