Financial Expense Tracker

Want an easy way to track your expenses? This tip allows you to add data to a spreadsheet in Google Docs from a form. The spreadsheet is already setup so that it will sort out the expenses on a monthly basis on the following categories. It has some other features such as the tracking credit card expenditure as well. Open up the spreadsheet and try out using the sample form to see how it works. If you like it, make a copy to your Google Drive to try it out. Appreciate a comment if you find it useful! Thanks.

Since 2007, I have tracked my assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses a.k.a a financial balance sheet. Clearly the balance sheet system works for it to be adopted by companies and thus shouldn’t we treat our own lives and finances with the same amount of rigour? After compiling the data, its time to review the data and look at the things that you are spending on. Perhaps you are spending quite a bit on electronics products? I’m guilty of that. Or how about the amount that you spend in restaurants? This system helps you be aware of where your money is spent and moderate your expenses if necessary.

The addition of tracking assets and liabilities beyond the monthly income/expense allows me to analyse my networth growth, monthly profit/loss, and investment distribution ratio. This helps me track across a longer period the effectiveness of certain investments and allows me to determine if I’m anywhere nearer my financial goals.

I have revolutionized my tracking system. It has grown from a simple spreadsheet to a Google spreadsheet so that it exists in the cloud. But thanks to Google Docs, I have improved the data system so that there are much lesser tweaking or data entry involved and have automated much of the process. So back to the spreadsheet, Google docs or drive allow you to use a web-form submission so you can access it anywhere on your mobile phone or on any device with a web browser to update your expenses without the need to access the spreadsheet. The web form is shown above and all you need to do is to enter the entry type and amount so that the data would then appear in the spreadsheet below. It makes it very easy on the go and functions like an app on your phone. I recommend to use a URL shorterner and to save it as a bookmark.

From here on, the data is collected into the spreadsheet and you do not need to access this particular sheet. You can use this to add any records that you may have missed. The backend pulls the data into the next page which is the balance sheet and it would categorise your expenditure with category and monthly spending / earning records.  Likewise, the PIE chart to show the percentage breakdown of spending is shown as well.

Here’s an example of the form:

Google Drive Spreadsheet:

Hope you find it useful! Let me know in the comments section if you have tips on how to improve it further, thanks!

Why we should trade Forex like a robot

Now, this post is not in the usual vein of gadgets and technology stuff and would more likely belong in an investment blog as it is going to be about Forex trading. So why post it here? I would come to that in a short while. I have traded equities but have always been more of an investor and trader, doing more long term purchases and looking for stable counters. In comparison, forex can be considered the epitome of trading in terms of price volatility with fluctuations in price plus the large amount of leverage makes it not for the faint hearted. I was introduced to Forex about a couple of months ago and the volatility appealed to me in terms of the potential earnings (I was just being greedy). It has been somewhat a rocky start and I have gleamed some lessons from the experience and perhaps it might be beneficial to you as well.

Being a Forex Robot

So, I was telling my friend the other day, that forex traders needs to be emotionless and having balls of steel. That is somewhat akin to being a robot – an emotionless creature that actions based on pre-programmed algorithms and recognition of trends and patterns. And in my humble opinion, that is what it takes to do well in forex trading if you have the discipline to follow the rules. I have a suspicion that quite a number of technologically inclined geeks might also be dabbling in forex and well, let’s hope we can all learn from each other experiences. 

What are the Rules?

  1. Never assume we are smarter than the market, and trade based on the charts and movement signals. Gut feel is never a good thing. Thousands of people are trading at the same time and they are following technical analysis, so why shouldn’t you?
  2. Identify all news releases for the currency pairs and the time of their release.
  3. Sharp market trends are expected around the market opening times and times identified in Rule #2. While opportunities are to be made, the market tends to retrace back to previous position after these times with milder fluctuations. 
  4. ALWAYS have a Stop Loss.
  5. Identify the exit and entry point. Determine if the risk to reward ratio is worth entering the market at the time of entry.
  6. Accept your losses and do not chase the position. Re-look at the charts and determine again, especially Rule #5 in consideration.
  7. Clarity of mind is important. I have not mastered the art of placing orders and leaving it to execute yet successfully. Majority of my losses have occurred when I entered the market with a distracted state of mind.
  8. My personal lesson and hence it has become a rule is to ensure no ALCOHOL and also, to try not to enter positions before my bedtime. It affects my sleep. :)

Trading Style

My personal trading mentality is largely based on short term trading, focusing on 15 min bollinger bands with fibonacci tracement lines to target entry upon reversal at the bands. Opportunities tend to be slower using this strategy. I do also monitor 2 min candlestick movement and primarily the trading strategy is to catch the break outs during the news release timing. I am looking to refine my trading strategies and adopt more longer term positions but currently due to the extensive movement of the currency pairs, it is nerve wrecking once the market swings against your position which will likely happen a few times for a long term strategy. The key would be to maintain a low risk reward ratio while executing a long term strategy but my current analysis and timing of the market is still not there yet.