These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Creating Forward-Looking Personal Account Budgets Based on Historical Purchase History is a great personal finance website that aggregates all of your financial accounts and all of their transactions in one convenient place. These accounts include high yield money market accounts, checking and savings accounts, credit card accounts, student and home loan balances, IRA and investment accounts, estimated property balances, and more. The website is easy and convenient to use, and requires management of only one login and password to get a snapshot of your personal assets and liabilities as opposed to checking each account individually. also has a budgeting tool so you can set budgets for each of your estimated expenses. When establishing budgets, a user is on his own to guess where to set those budgets. For fixed costs such as monthly rent, car payments, auto insurance, etc, budgeting is usually the same every month. However, for more variable costs such as groceries, takeout, utilities, shopping, etc, creating a proper budget is more difficult. To make my forward-looking budgets easier to establish, I have created a program that pulls off my account balance and transaction data, then totals average purchase amounts in each of the 14 expense accounts that I use most frequently (but that have the most variability from period to period). These expenses are then averaged based on the current quarter of the year, the last quarter of the year, and monthly averages for year-to-date expenses. A proposed monthly budget amount is then generated for each of these variable expense accounts based on historical purchases. This gives me a very good guideline of realistic budgets that I can set for my finances.

To manipulate each of these expense accounts manually easily takes 30 minutes to an hour on every occasion, and would require results to be incrementally recorded…a big hassle. This program operates with the ease of a click of the button, inputting my password, and 30 seconds of computing.

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