Rather than playing with the tools, I went back to what I was trying to make.
There are 4 personal finance documents/apps that I use:
- The Steward
- Income calculator
Yesterday, I played with The Steward.
This morning, I worked with Runway.
A history of Runway
Runway first existed when I was constantly on the wire with cash flow. It was there so that I could see if I was earning enough to cover my ongoing expenses. As my time horizons expanded, expenses moved from daily to weekly to fortnightly. Money comes in for me fortnightly.
What is the purpose of this document?
I spent the morning going backwards in the document. As time passes, I hide rows.
Why do I have all of this? I was asking myself.
I deleted all of the adjustment rows. I justified this because I could just create one adjustment and the running balance would be up to date.
Then I deleted all of the expense rows. I justified this because these weren't useful data - I had amended each row as time had passed until it was rendered useless by an adjustment row.
So I find myself staring at my historical income thinking why do I need this?
I have all of this information in payslips, invoicing software, and bank statements.
I could only conclude that I don't need the historical data.
Back to the question: What is the purpose of this document?
After much thought, the answer is this: to make sure I have enough money in my transaction account for ongoing expenses
Ok. So it hasn't changed since its beginnings.
The real question: Is this the best way to accomplish that?
Here's the thing. I know all of my ongoing expenses. If I abstract them out to a monthly amount, I just have to make sure that I have that amount in the account at the beginning of the month plus a buffer.
I also have to make sure that my estimates for variable expenses are on point.
I've decided it's better for me to make that happen than to service this document.
The plan for me
I'll keep Runway around for April and no longer.
I'll make sure I have sufficient funds in my account at the beginning of May.
I'll check in with variable expenses using YNAB.
Runway as a product
If I do build Runway into a product, it would be simple. It's only a checklist or a spreadsheet at most. Maybe some views. I know how to set the requirements now. I've been in the situation enough times. It may have some value. I'll consider it.
The usefulness is only to those in emergency situations. I want to make sure that if I build it, it moves them out of emergency situations. Otherwise, it's just a crutch that keeps you there.
A little reflection
I have been using Runway for almost a year. Long past it being the right thing for my need. If anything, this experiment is making me interrogate my systems, which I'm super glad of.
I sit down with The Steward.