Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MaTireLire Palm OS Budget Manager Yearly Database Pruning

I have been a happy and loyal user since 2010 of MaTireLire (French for MyPiggyBank), the free and open source personal accounting software for Palm OS. It makes budgeting and balancing my checkbook easy and fun, and I love its cute little piggy bank icon. It's hard to convey just how wonderful this program is. I will gladly at any moment get a used Handspring Visor Deluxe or a Palm for $20 to $60 just so I can carry MaTireLire in my pocket everywhere I go.

To manage my budgets, I just make a negative "account" for each budget and a positive account each for the real money (checking and cash) accounts. As long as all the "accounts" (the negative budgets and the positive real money) add up to zero and none of the budgets go into the positive (unbudgeted!) territory or the real money into the negative (broke!) territory, I'm budgeted and solvent. (Tip: if a budget goes into positive territory, but your real money is far from negative, don't panic. It just means you need to rob another budget to get that budget back below zero.) And after (at the moment or at home with my receipts) I spend money, I just assign (link) all expenditures and receipts to a budget. Other than a few other procedural nuances I've developed to deal with special situations like pre-budget money (taxes, savings), that's all I do.

The database (Tom's household, for example) summary page gives me an instant glance at my budgets any time I wonder, keeping me always out of trouble.

Over the course of a year, the transactions accumulate, and MaTireLire starts to slow down. At the end of the year, here's what I do to prune the data.

1. Clone the database. Set up the new names (Tom 2011, Tom 2012, etc.) and whether each database is launchable from its own Palm OS home screen icon.

2. Perform a soft reset on your device to rebuild the home screen icons.

3. Purge the cleared transactions from all accounts (like checking) where you are using "clearing".

4. Delete all transactions from all other accounts, and set their initial balances to match the ending balances of the original database.

That's it. Happy New Year.

Tip: You can track unrelated accounts (like savings) in your main database without affecting the bottom line. 1. Tap (to select) the balances of a group of accounts. 2. At the upper right corner of the database summary screen, choose to add up only "Selected" or "Not Selected" instead of "All" .

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