I Love It When A Plan Comes Together...

One of the things for which I'm grateful is that over time, I've acquired the discipline to follow a strict budget, though still allowing for a bit of entertainment as well while ensuring that I remain fed for the vast majority of the time though if my food runs out, there's always my Cat. Following that logic though, I'd be hard-pressed to doubt that my Cat has the same plans about me. Just kidding of course. Rather, given the sharpness of my Cat's claws, I hope.

In a bid City like Toronto, it's pretty difficult if not impossible to starve to death, but keeping a tight budget is key to growth because when you can handle a little bit of money well and with discipline, chances are that your money management skills will grow with your liquidity.

I'm not rich as you can probably tell but I certainly don't resent anyone for their financial state, rich, poor or in-between and there are valuable life skills to be learned from each group. In fact, I'd bet that the spreadsheet has the potential to be a tool of world peace because even the wealthy can share spreadsheet tips with the impoverished that have great value and vice versa. One of the things that I've learned to do is budget like a mad-man and I've found the spreadsheet to be an indispensable tool for this and I'd be willing to bet that its the number one financial power tool for every income class next to education and inspired learning.

For any kind of planning involving a list of items to which you're restricting or guiding yourself to buying on a specific budget, it's absolutely imperative especially if you have the propensity for spontaneous purchases like I used to. I know that there's a handful of my past girlfriends who upon reading this will probably clasp their hands together in joy and say: finally.

As much as I love writing, this kind of thing never would have happened with the pen and paper alone. I mean my conversion and domestication into a "list" and budget-making kind of guy. The spreadsheet is the killer app. Years ago my own father used to tell me the same thing during which time he was an Excel Wizard and I was just a mere Padawan of Notepad.

My own budget for February 2020.
Spreadsheets make it simple and manageable.
The best thing is that you can use it as you shop.
Don't get me wrong. I was a pretty prolific coder at that time, even coding and augmenting a full-fledged flocking algorithm based off of Craig Reynolds' algorithm (which I'm sure would adapt well to the football field), even introducing two new parameters to the algorithm which I used in coding a screen saver for the company by which I was employed at the time.

Still, when you compare the practical value of skills especially when it comes to impressing your live-in practical and budget-minded romantic partner, boids, flocking algorithms and coding prowess take a back seat to budget and spreadsheet skills (you have no idea how difficult it is for me to admit that). Wait. There's a reprieve. Unless of course, you're in a romantic relationship with a hot babe coder who loves math and transcendental numbers, then you're obviously in programmer and philosopher heaven.

So if I had any advice to anyone, especially those new to computers or software who wanted to learn a software application that they could immediately no matter who they were, apply to real life? I'd highly recommend Civilization 6, Star Trek Online or Elite Dangerous but not before you've learned to budget using a spreadsheet. Seriously, a spreadsheet is the best tool on a computer you'll ever use because it turns budgeting into a numbers management game. I'm dead serious.

Pokemon Go doesn't even come close to making your way through a grocery store and totally killing your budget to within 25 cents of what you projected on your spreadsheet. Talk about augmented reality. Today I came to within 20 cents of my budget, which is a milestone.

So all that you really need to do is check out Google Sheets if you have a Google Account or you could sign up for Office 365 with Microsoft if you're more financially inclined. The great thing about spreadsheets since their incarnation with Lotus 1-2-3 is that you're skills learned on one, are transferable to another different spreadsheet. So you'll never learn anything that becomes obsolete because most of it is based upon well-founded principles for managing and calculating lists.


If you receive any spreadsheet as an attachment in any mail from an untrusted or unknown source, don't download it or open it. At worst, if you're unsure what to do, download it to an isolated folder and scan it with your virus scanner (or this free online virus scanner from Trend Micro) before you do anything with it.

Ironically, after one of my greatest budgeting achievements today, I checked my email only to find that I'd received an email from a collection agency (Credit Bureau Of Canada Collections) which I believe is a tradename rather than the action Credit Bureau Of Canada. Probably someone trying to cover up the tracks of the people who were stalking and harassing me. You know, by trying to make it seem like something justifiable like a collection agency rather than an organized criminal gang and underground just begging to be formally investigated and busted?

That's alright, they'll get nailed by the civil law eventually. At least until then, I've got the ultimate budgeting weapon: the spreadsheet. The best thing is that the more I grow my finances, the more I can scale this knowledge to match that budget.

Update February 4, 2020

If you do decide to make your own budget using a spreadsheet or any means, please remember that if you're using debit or credit card payments for the items on you budget that some of them can take as long as a week to process. I recently got burned that way and ended up about $23 CDN in debt to my financial institution. So be careful and remember to allow a week for any payments to clear before spending your balance.

In other news, I'll be writing again tonight thanks to my budget and the wobbly pops I was able to afford. Drinking alcohol doesn't create my writing. In fact, I am writing all the time in my head and I accumulate it over time. Then, at some point thereafter, I just put what I've accumulated all on the page. Quite often when that happens I enjoy a glass of wine and a good meal too as I love cooking. The rest is a secret, as much so as I'd be hard-pressed to give up details of what goes on in the bedroom with Mila and Barris or Ai Yuanlin Ying and her soon to come flame and as much so as I'd give up such details of any loving and romantic relationship I've had.

I'll see you later on tonight when I begin the work of my writing. I've already got a roadmap of what I'm working on. When I post it, I'll let you know with a post and link to that writing.

Thank you to my loyal readers but not to my identity thieves. You'll get yours soon. Legally.

As far as any of my statements against abuse go, I will not ever apologize for any such reaction because the principle behind my reactions is sound and legally as much so. More importantly, they're morally founded upon the ideals which brought forth the rule of law and human rights. If we back that up, consider carefully what we lose before you jump on board. You never know when you're giving up your own freedom and rights.

Brian Joseph Johns