Monday, January 10, 2011

Easy debit card balance tracker.

I had started looking for a checkbook program (not seriously) for my phone to use for my debit card. My Palm Centro is an older, now discontinued, entry-level smart phone, so a lot of folks have moved on, developer-wise.
In a "why didn't I think of this before?" moment, I fired up my Centro's spreadsheet (provided by DataViz’s Docs to Go) and whipped up a quick and dirty way to keep track of my expenditures!

  a b c
1 =sum(b:d)    

Its basically a one-cell formula, usable for any spreadsheet. Cell a1 gets the equation to show the current balance, with columns b, c and d getting the number entries (deposits are positive, purchases are negatives). A1’s result is bolded to help it stand apart from everything else.

  a b c
1 37.77 50.53  
2   -4.67  
3   -8.09  

So, while there is room to improve it? My current balance is there, all quick and convenient like! Its no substitute for good tracking of your money, but for me its better than trying to keep a checkbook registrar with me.

Also, when I was thinking about it, it’s a good example of something that’s useful in a real-life way so I won’t have to buy an app for it. While you can say they’re cheap, I won’t have to try a bunch, deal with poor ones, etc. What’s also nice is this one little formula is portable, so it’ll make the jump when I upgrade from my Centro to a Windows Phone 7 smartphone in March. Something that an app can’t do.

Next lunch-break project? And spreadsheet that calculates tip at a restaurant, plus figuring out shares for splitting a check.

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