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Why Expense "Buckets"? 

When projecting, it is easier to group expenses into 5 major categories, or "buckets". Variable expenses, a percent of sales, are grouped together.  Fixed expenses, with essentially the same dollar amount each month, are sorted into 4 other planning categories. 

For each of these 5 expense categories, you make just ONE ENTRY, one time, in the 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Calculator.  (Want to tweak your expense projections? Easy. Just adjust ONE ENTRY.)

Selling Expenses - Variable expense
Examples: Store payroll, including taxes and benefits; Advertising; Bags & boxes; Special events; etc.

Occupancy Expenses - Fixed expense, essentially flat $ amount each month
Examples: Rent; Utilities; Maintenance; Security; CAM charges; etc.

Administrative Expenses - Fixed expense, essentially flat $ amount each month
Examples: Management salaries (Owner; General Manager; Buyer) including taxes and benefits; Support staff/services (bookkeeping; IT; warehouse; marketing); Interest on borrowed money; Professional services (legal, accounting); Training; Travel; All other expenses not included elsewhere.

Taxes - Federal, State, Local taxes not included elsewhere. 

Depreciation/Amortization - Fixed expense, essentially flat $ amount each month.
These are non-cash expenses, and must be kept separate in order to project the Cash Flow.

Profit Planning Inputs

MONTHS - Start with any month of a 12 month period. Select your Start month from the drop-down menu.

SALES - Round all entries to the thousands. Examples: $42,385.22 becomes 42.4;  $5,787.92 becomes 5.8;  $385.33 becomes 0.4

GROSS MARGIN % - Enter estimated Gross Margin (Gross Profit) percent for each month of the 12 month period. (Maintained margin, after markdowns.) Can be up to one decimal place (tenths of percent).
Examples: Enter 44, becomes 44.0%;  enter 38.5, becomes 38.5%

EXPENSES - The Calculator needs just one entry for each expense "bucket".

Variable expenses are entered as a percent of sales. Use whole numbers to one decimal place
Examples: Enter 12.5, becomes 12.5%; enter 10, becomes 10%

Fixed expenses are a flat $ amount for each month. (Take totals for the year and divide by 12 to get an estimate of yours.) Round all $ entries to nearest thousand.
  $8,673 becomes 8.7; $12,229 becomes 12.2

(See details in "About Expense Buckets" tab.)

Open-to-Buy Plan Inputs

BEGINNING INVENTORY @COST - Enter the approximate amount of total inventory on hand @cost at the start of your 12 month planning period. Close counts!   Round $ entries to nearest thousand.

TARGETED INVENTORY TURNS - Using the dropdown menu, select your targeted inventory turnover rate.

INVENTORY ON ORDER - Be sure to enter the estimated dollar amounts for inventory on order into the month(s) you expect to receive it. Round $ entries to the nearest thousand.


The 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Calculator brings over (integrates) all other needed inputs from your Profit Planning Inputs and Projected Profit Plan. 

Change or adjust those entries on the Profits tab. 

The Key: Cash Flow

Current Inventory Payables - Estimate your total Accounts Payable for inventory purchases. Close counts!  Round $ entry to nearest thousand.
Example: Enter $127,835 as 127.8

Long Term Loan Payments - Enter monthly payments (principal only) for any existing Long Term loans.  Round $ entry to nearest thousand.  

Cash on Hand - Estimate of cash available at beginning of the 12 month planning period you are using. Close counts!  May also be a negative entry to reflect payments/checks waiting to clear. Round $ entry to nearest thousand.


The 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Calculator brings over (integrates) all other needed entries from your Profit Plan Inputs, Projected P&L, and Projected Open-to-Buy Plan.

Look at Your Projections. Now, Adjust As Needed!

  • Does your projected P&L show you will have a loss? 

  • Does the cash flow projection show cash shortfalls ahead? 

  • Try out some "What if...?" adjustments.  Immediately see the effect!


On the Profits screen, change Sales in any month(s).  Remember to adjust Gross Margins in those months as needed. Then, go to the Projected Cash Flow to see the effect.

On the Profits screen, adjust your planned expenses.  Then, return to the Projected Cash Flow to see the effect.

On the Inventory screen, enter a higher turnover rate. Then, go back to the Projected Cash Flow to see the effect.

The Projected Cash Flow allows you to show the effect of Dating on your Cash Flow.  Enter the $ amounts to be deferred in the appropriate month(s); ALSO enter the $ amounts due to be paid in the appropriate month(s).  All entries are positive amounts; round all $ entries to nearest thousand.

The Projected Cash Flow includes inputs for Loans Received and Loan Repayments. (Note: Interest on the borrowed funds must be added into Administrative Expenses on the P&L inputs.) 


Just add your judgment!  The 3-in-1 INTEGRATED "What if...?" Calculator does the number crunching for you.

"Turn on Your Financial Headlights!" 

Adjustments all in? Like what you see? Great!
Now, print it out: Your 3-in-1 INTEGRATED Retail Financial Plan. Just choose the ".pdf file" button.

You will get:

Monthly "big picture" operating budget for you.

And Projected INVENTORY BUYING PLAN (Open-to-Buy)
Based on your planned sales, margins, and targeted turnover rate, a monthly buying plan for your total operation. Each month's targeted ending inventory is a key number!

And Projected CASH FLOW
Fully integrated Cash Flow plan specifically for retailers: reflects the effect of inventory purchases, sales, margins and expenses on your cash flow.

"Turn on Your Financial Headlights!"™

5-Minute How-To Videos

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