Thursday, December 15, 2011

Geldzin2: Emergency Fund

In version 1.9 (build#77), I implement the concept of an emergency fund. The emergency fund is money that has been saved specifically for emergencies. An emergency is "something unexpected that has major impact on your family". Things that can be saved for or that can wait are not emergencies. The emergency fund "turns crises into inconveniences" (quoting Dave Ramsey both times).

Geldzin2 allows users to specify what their emergencies are. Anything you can think of that you want to have money available for when it suddenly happens should be considered an emergency. The sum estimate is the emergency fund goal. The minimum amount should be held in cash (ready to spend on a moment's notice), and the rest held in a bank account that you do not use for everyday expenses (separate from your main checking account).

During distribution, emergencies are prioritized higher if the minimum amount has not been achieved. Otherwise, they are considered after debts are taken care of. (See image below).

The app considers various factors to determine whether current income should be distributed towards emergencies, including the fund goal, minimum, available cash and emergency account balance, and anything that might have been distributed before but not yet transferred to the account.

To access the emergency fund feature, log into the app and navigate to {Emergency Fund}.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Geldzin2: Public Beta Availability

The latest version of the app (version 1.8) is considered a bonified public beta, ready for release to the masses in January 2012. At this point, users can perform basic financial tasks such as create a budget and categories, track financial accounts and debts, log daily transactions (deposit, expense, income), and distribute income among competing obligations. It also incorporates the idea of charity.

Over the next few weeks, progress towards a milestone version (M1) will involve implementation of other key features, a theme, and reports (including the dashboard). The second release milestone (M2) will bring under-the-hood optimizations and a complete user guide. The third release milestone (M3) will add a mobile website and an Android/iOS app. I project that the final release (version 2.0) will drop around June 2012.

It takes me longer to complete each milestone now because I am a one-man operation with a wife, day job, and hobbies that needs my time. Soon, programming marathons will no longer be possible too, but I will keep pushing to complete this project sooner than June 2012.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Geldzin2: Transactions

In version 1.7 (build#64), I introduce the expected feature of transaction management. Every financial management app provides a means for users to log their expenses, deposits, and transfers. In Geldzin, this feature integrates with categories, debts and financial accounts (and behind the scenes, it affects distributions).

As you can see in the screenshot above, transactions are displayed with the latest on top. Amounts are color-coded (red for outgoing money, blue for incoming money), and linked categories and financial accounts are shown. Expenses can have splits (more than one category assignment). The current version allows entry of income (via Income Distribution), deposits, and expenses. Whenever you use a category that is budgeted, its distributions are affected. For example: an expenditure using a budgeted category will deduct the transaction amount from that month's distribution for the category.
Using the menu immediately above the transaction display, you can also choose to view transactions (1) in a given date range, or (2) for a particular financial account. A future version will provide more comprehensive reports so you can analyze transactions and see your financial trends.

The lifestyle principle is that you should know where your money is coming from or where it is going. With data like this, all kinds of analysis and trending can be done to help make good financial decisions and identify opportunities for efficiency. This data can, for example, be used to refine your budget.

To see this feature in action, access the webapp at and login. [Demo account is username guest and password geldzin]. Navigate to {Transactions}. Select an option in the {Create New Transaction} dropdown to create an expense, deposit, or distribute income.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Geldzin2: Income Distribution

In version 1.6 (build#56), I introduce the concept of income distribution. This is the second unique feature in my personal finance management system that no one else out there has. Simply put, "income distribution" is the practice of earmarking (or distributing) your income towards budget categories, debt, and other savings goals systematically. It ensures that your immediate budget needs are covered, debt paid off as quickly as possible, and other savings goals catered to. All you have to do is punch in your paycheck whenever it arrives, and the system will tell you how to use it.

As you can see in the screenshot above, you simply plug in an income amount and distribution tells you what should be applied towards charity & giving, current and next month budget needs, and debts or loans. When you save the distributions, it counts as a deposit as well. If there is any leftover money, you have a choice to save it for a future distribution, or spread it out among all your budget areas.

The lifestyle principle is that you should only spend from what you have earned/distributed rather that what you have planned/budgeted. In other words, just because there is a budget doesn't mean the money is there. The budget is only the beginning: income distribution is a necessary second (and ongoing) step.

To see this feature in action, access the webapp at and login. [Demo account is username guest and password geldzin]. Navigate to {Distributions | Income Distributions}.