Paper Budget for Your Pocket

Paper Budget for Your Pocket


in Budget,Efficiency,lowtech,Trick

UPDATE: Unfortunately the pocketmod site has gone down although there is a new version there no longer is a pdftopocketmod offline program so until I can find an alternate solution this will have be to a nice idea that you wish you could implement

Not too long ago I came across the pocketmod which set my geek heart a flutter.  I appreciate elegant solutions to larger problems and with this simple pocket paper system it is just that.  For me this solves a problem I know I share, “How much did we budget for Pet Food this Month?”  That’s right, my wife and I need all the help we can get staying in sync as it relates to the budget, fortunately we are totally in-sync with everything else .  Here’s where the FiscalGeek let’s you in on a little secret.  You see, I embrace most aspects of technology, my wife does not.  In fact you might say that she outright resists the new and unproven. I can barely get her to look at my elaborate spreadsheets that I share with her on LiveMesh even with the fully 3-dimensional graphs linked off my pivot tables. So that often requires me to come up with decidedly low-tech solutions to our problems.  In this case I too have embraced the low-tech.  Alright enough about my family issues. 

Paper Budget for the Origamically Challenged

The pocketmod is an innovative way to print out 8 pages of anything in PDF format which with a little patience you can fold into a pocketable booklet to carry in your wallet, manpurse or pocketbook.  My first attempt resulted in a beautiful crane, but once I got the hang of it no problems.  As it turns out this system is great for including your monthly budget, a calendar, an advertisement for and some other handy items.  So let’s get started. 

Here are the elements of the FiscalGeek Paper Budget Pocketmod or FPBP as I like to call it:

  • Microsoft Publisher
  • [download id=”2″]
  • PDFtoPocketMod PDF Conversion Software available at (sorry Windows only)

You could just as easily use any piece of software to print out whatever you want, it just so happens that I can publish direct to PDF from within Publisher and it lets me paste stuff in easily from a variety of sources, Excel, YNAB, what have you and I already have it.  If you want to use something else, go for it, you just need to be able to save it to a PDF.  This isn’t a dealbreaker if your software doesn’t natively support it, you can add a printer driver like doPDF which will show up as a printer you can then “print” to it and save that file and voila it’s a PDF.  The key is you want 8 pages of PDF.

Take a gander at the Publisher file you’ll see there are 8 tabs, we’re looking at the 2nd tab here which happens to be a monthly budget breakdown.  I pasted this in from Excel, this could be your custom budget or something output from the likes of You Need a Budget or other financial software.  I’ve also included some useful items on the other pages but by all means add your own stuff make this baby your own.  Publisher has a handy Calendar setup that I paste in for the month I’m working in for notes and to know what day it is go to Insert ““> Design Gallery Object”¦ you’ll find many calendar styles from which to choose.

Once you have your publisher layout setup the way you want (save it!) then do a print preview and make sure that it’s going on all 8 pages.  You’ll also want to make sure that whatever you put in there is scaled out right close to the margins otherwise that stuff is going to be tiny.  PocketMod will shrink those 8 pages down to one sheet so unless you’ve got some powerful trifocals on you need to make that text as large as possible. In publisher go to File ““> Publish as PDF or XPS.. and you can now save this in PDF format, if you don’t have that option see above recommendations for other printing options. 

Now all that remains is to fire up PDFtoPocketMod from wherever you put it when you downloaded it.  It’s pretty straightforward click on Open PDF and browse to your PDF you just saved click on Open then finally Save as PocketMod choose a location and save that sucker. 

Fire up the printer and”¦..fold it.  Get your origami pants on and get to it.  Watch this video for further help, it’s really not scary.  If you’ve got a significant other you’re budgeting with print one out for them and no longer can you hear those words: “You never told me what our budget was!” PS if you create a paper panda or some form of pagoda be sure to send us a picture for all to see. Honestly if you saw how large my hands are you’d be surprised I could actually fold a piece of paper in half, you can do this.

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