Niranjan Chatterjee’s Weblog

August 9, 2012

Worksheet for Home Budget

Filed under: Accounting theories — niranjanchatterjee @ 10:50 am
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Without a home budget it becomes almost impossible to keep a tab on domestic expenditure and even before you realize, total expenses might shoot up due to some expenditure that was not a priority while an unavoidable expense remains unattended to causing great embarrassment and, at times, considerable problems.

I had experienced a very piquant situation when I simply overlooked paying my child’s kindergarten fees while spending lavishing on a candlelit dinner that was entirely avoidable. Finally when I realized this oversight as kindergarten authorities sent a reminder, I was hard pressed to arrange for necessary funds. From that day onwards I resolved to maintain a home budget and, as I feel most comfortable using Excel, I prefer a worksheet for home budgets that works best on Excel.

If one feels a home budget will only deal with day-to-day expenditure, it might perhaps not be a proper evaluation of the entire concept. A home budget does not only keep a tab on daily domestic expenses and ensure they are neatly categorized into easily identifiable slots, but also it acts as a Family Budget Planner.

A home budget take note of all types of expenses, right from daily expenses for domestic provisions to monthly installments to be paid for mortgages. It also incorporates expenses that are typical for a specific month in which birthdays and anniversaries occur. This allows a householder or a homemaker to have a clear idea about the total outflow of cash that will take place during a particular month. Armed with those crucial details, a householder might curtail or, at least, strictly monitor, expenses on other heads especially during those months where cash outflows are bound to be on the higher side. Such continuous monitoring allows somewhat smoothening of cash outflows from a household thus providing some breathing space for an average householder.

So it is quite obvious if household expenses are properly managed through a home budget, it is very much possible to generate a steady stream of savings month after month without actually resorting to any sort of austerity measures. You can still have your favorite dinner at your favorite restaurant every fortnight and also manage to save a decent amount every month. The trick lies in identifying all genuinely unnecessary expenses (every household has such latent expenses as it were) that can actually be done away with without causing any hardship or sacrifice.

Once such stealthy, if we may say so, expenses are determined by strictly following the home budget, you will find how much surplus you have at hand at the end of a month even after taking care of all your requirements and even after catering to a couple of your fancies.

A home budget also allows you to save in an organized manner if you have plans to buy that exclusive piece of furniture or that fancy home theater that your best friend has just bought by forcing you to keep aside some amount for a few months till the required amount is accumulated. Though it is a slightly long drawn out procedure as you will have to wait for a few more months than you would ideally like, it actually allows you to avoid another loan and the burden of another accompanying monthly installment.


Small Business Grants

Filed under: Accounting theories,Corporate Management — niranjanchatterjee @ 10:48 am
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Small businesses have one thing in common among them irrespective of which sector they would like to conduct business in. They have people brimming with innovative ideas and ample gumption but rarely, if ever, requisite funds to fructify ideas that keep swirling in their brains. One is actually forced to recall the dot com boom when youngsters barely out of college and with path breaking ideas getting ample financial backing from venture capitalists. But with the eventual bursting of dot com bubble, many venture capitalists have learnt the hard lesson of not getting carried away by the enthusiasm of young blood and instead opting for a detailed and unbiased cost-benefit analysis before hitching on to bandwagon of young entrepreneurs. Small business funds have thus become less easy to manage and small entrepreneurs are racking their brains to find some source of ever elusive funds to put the ideas they have into concrete action.

Governments of all countries are aware of this fund crunch and wish to help these small entrepreneurs as such initiatives are a sure shot remedy to raise levels of employment and national income. However, all those advertisements put up by government agencies loudly proclaiming that a mere application would see government funds pouring in at entrepreneurs’ doorsteps are not so easy to get. The idea that to get small business grant is almost as easy and hassle free as taking an evening stroll in neighborhood park is just a pipedream, one cooked by glib advertisement professionals.

Often these grants are very specific in their queries and criterions and many a decision to allow a grant hinges on issues like sex, race and business location and business revenue earned till date and number of years the business has been in existence. The obvious issue that vexes and often frustrates small business owners is that had they been so efficient that they could run their business profitably over the years they would not have approached for funds and, what is most important, they would not have still remained small! So, some of the requirements of funding authorities, it seems, are designed to put off small entrepreneurs rather than encouraging them.

Hence, before embarking on the arduous process of getting a small business grant from government agencies an entrepreneur must think hard and arrive at certain concrete answers about the future of the business. The first rational step would be to look up the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to find which particular grant best suits the business. There are literally numerous small business grants doled out by the government and some of those are directly specifically towards businesses that are run from backward or underdeveloped areas or run by members of minority community and even for small businesses run by women. So, it helps an entrepreneur a lot to be able to locate the right slot where their business neatly fits in. That helps an entrepreneur to focus their energies in a proper and concentrated manner right from the very instant they begin their hunt for small business grants.

The first thing which an aspiring or a small entrepreneur must ensure is that they have filled in the grant application form accurately by providing correct data about all that is required of them to furnish. There should not be any form of ambiguity and error in filling in the form as it will then surely be disqualified for any further consideration. It might also be beneficial to personally interact with the relevant grant official (if local laws permit that) to know in further detail the requirements that need to be satisfied before any such small business grant is approved. It perhaps needs no elaboration that keeping in touch with the grant official and attending to all his queries, however irrelevant or inconsequential they may seem at first glance would make release of the small business grant that much easier and hassle free. However, as has already been mentioned, though briefly, any form of undue gratification of the granting official should be strictly avoided since chances are that any such maneuver might not only mar the prospect of getting a small business grant but also might end up in the small entrepreneur being behind bars for unlawful activity.

The small entrepreneur must also be ready with a medium term business forecast complete with projected cash flows and asset addition over the years and a clear forecast about future market trends and movements. Such forecast plan documents should ideally be prepared by experts in this field rather than the entrepreneur trying their hand at it. Any hint of amateurishness on the part of the small entrepreneur is sure to derail any chances of getting a small business grant.

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