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Day to Day budgeting - your tips please!
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# 1
Nix143
Old 04-04-2005, 4:03 PM
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Default Day to Day budgeting - your tips please!

Dear All

I've read various threads mentioning 3 purse system or using MSMoney but what I would like to know is this - what little system works for you? Do you have a notebook and write everything down? Do you keep receipts? What happens if you dont get a receipt?

If there is a thread like this one already could someone point me in the direction of it - if not I'd be really interested to learn how you all deal with your day to day transactions - I'm interested to learn as much as I can! I've currently got a little notebook in my handbag and have been diligently writing down all transactions in that - but don't know what to transfer it into and don't know if a notebook is the way to go for me

Cheers!
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# 2
Magentasue
Old 04-04-2005, 4:13 PM
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I use MS Money - I can't think of a time when I don't get a receipt. I keep them all in my bag til I get home and then put them in a little box. At the end of the week I enter them all into Money. I have an account on it called Cash and do that roughly too but I don't use cash much - £10 often lasts a month unless it's for a rare evening out.

Then I download the bank statements (one for bills, the other for day to day) and check them against what I've entered.

What I like is that you can make it as basic or sophisticated as you like. For instance, I break my supermarket shop into Food/Pet food/house sundries/medical/bathroom stuff and so on. It means going through every receipt but it means that I can see how much I spend on this stuff every month or over a year.

This means that I can see where I can try and make savings - I've just drawn up this year's budget based on last year's figures making cutbacks.
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# 3
Lillibet
Old 04-04-2005, 4:21 PM
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I kind of do the reverese to Magnatuse. At the beginning of each month I allocate funds in my diary under 3 different budgets : Grocery, Household & Personal spending. Each time I make a purchase or a cash withdrawal, assuming it isn't a speical one-off purcahse from savings etc, I allocate it to one of these 3 budgets & subtract that amount from the available total. At the end of the motnh I add together the leftovers in each budget & trasfer to my savings account & start the new month from scratch.

Hope I have explained this clearly enough to make sense?
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# 4
Nix143
Old 04-04-2005, 4:29 PM
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hi Lllibet - does that mean you don't keep a count of what's happening in your purse? How do you monitor on a day to day basis?

Beginning to see there are two steps to my question - what happens to the money/cards in your pocket day to day and then how do you deal with that on a budgeting basis

Either way - any tips, roll up, roll up - all needed and gratefully received!
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# 5
bailey
Old 04-04-2005, 4:52 PM
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As my salary gets paid into my account I allocated it out to all the different headings i.e bills, grocery,petrol,car bills,general (including doc,dentist,haircut,pets), gifts,holidays,maintenance and FINALLY my heading spends!

Each budget gets an allocated amount pre-determined by figures I worked out years ago, of course every April these go up, so do my allocations. Then this is what i work with for the month.

Over the years I have been able to add to certain budgets like car bills and xmas, so now I am in the position of having enough money in those headings so when my car insurance, tax, mot is due etc or birthdays and xmas come round, I have the money there waiting and don't have to find it.

Its like saving a year in advance!

My spends I don't always get through so they get saved or used to top up a budget, woe and behold I did go over on a month, most unsual for me, but I have had an expensive few months with prescriptions, which I can't claim back for!!

Does that help.

Of course, I have my own excel spreadsheet, so I can see the exact amount of what's in my account and where its all distributed too. So in some ways my balance looks healthy, its all allocated out and my actual spending figure is way lower.
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# 6
Lillibet
Old 04-04-2005, 5:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nix143
hi Lllibet - does that mean you don't keep a count of what's happening in your purse? How do you monitor on a day to day basis?

Beginning to see there are two steps to my question - what happens to the money/cards in your pocket day to day and then how do you deal with that on a budgeting basis

Either way - any tips, roll up, roll up - all needed and gratefully received!
Hi Nix

Sorry if this is confusing, I find my method a bit hard to explain but very simple to use!
I divide up my money into different accounts & virtual "pots" for quartley bills etc (bless online banking!) at the start of each month. I leave my day to day spending money(for groceries, household & personal spending) in my current account in one lump (£260 in total) but divide it up under different headings on one page of my diary, I guess you could say I have paper purses instead of 3 actual purses : Grocery £180, Household £20, Personal £60. Each time I make a cash withdrawal or use my card I allocate that money to one of these budgets & subtract it from the avaiable amount, keeping the record in my diary, ie :

April Grocery Total available £180
1st April Tescos -£27
4th April Sainsburys -£4.75
So total available for groceries for the rest of the month is £148.25

April personal spending Total availble £60
3rd April Boots -£7.38
3rd April Cash point -£10
So total availabel for personal spending for the rest of the month is £42.62

April Household Total Available
1st April Homebase £9.99
So total available for the rest of April is £10.01

If I need to pay a quartelye or annaul bill, such as the TV license or the gas bill, I have been accruing it, a little at a time, each month & shoudl ahve the correct amount available in on of my online "pots".

I actually spend very little cash & use my credit card for almost everything, I simply deduct the amount from the appropriate account & pay it straight over to the cred card the same day I spend it so I don't pay any interest, but I still deduct the amount on paper from my budgets in my diary. If there is any actual cash in my purse it is usually for a specific reason & I know what it is for.

I suspect I have just made this even more confusing, if anyone else knows what I am talking about please feel free to expalin it more succinctly!
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In England we have Mothering Sunday & Father Christmas, Mothers day & Santa Clause are American merchandising tricks Demonstrate pride in your heirtage by getting it right please people!
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# 7
dougk
Old 04-04-2005, 5:07 PM
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I recommend Microsoft money too! It's easy to use but very powerfull and you can use it to predict various ideas.

You don't need the latest version anything from 2002 onwards will do... you should be able to pick it up cheap.... Even money 2005 only costs £18.99 from amazon.
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# 8
bailey
Old 04-04-2005, 5:14 PM
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Lillibet, that is not confusing, that's bascially the principle I use.
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# 9
Queenie
Old 04-04-2005, 5:23 PM
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When I first began working with spreadsheets, I used the program which came with my computer: Works Spreadsheet. I set it up so I could list from the receipts what I had spent on clothing, newspapers, takeaways, gifts for the gift cupboard. If I didn't have a receipt, it would be jotted down in a notebook I carry in my handbag.

Now, I use MS Money. I can download my bank statements directly into it, but, I can also have my DD's and SO's automatically entered each month so I have a more accurate view of what is *really* available in the account compared with what the bank has recorded on any given date. For example, it's no good me looking online at my bank statement and seeing say, £350 10 days before payday when there are still DD's to come out of that amount! If I look at MS Money 10 days before payday, I will get a more realistic figure (and it would most likely be something like £50!). Likewise with cheques, I enter the cheque number and amount when I write it out, but, the person may not cash that cheque for another couple of weeks before it shows on my bank statement, which would give me a false reading of where I'm at if I relied solely on bank statements. All receipts get entered into Money into the main headings.

I think I'm going to end up running both spreadsheets this year though. While I'm happy to use my receipts to tell Money that I've spent say £30 on food based on my receipt, I think I want a bit more detail; so I'll tweak the spreadsheet I adapted in Works so I can get a clearer picture - especially now I'm getting into coupons!

Personally, I have found that being a debit card shopper has been a bad thing for me - it's way to eeeaaaasssssyyyyyyyy to whip out the Switch, twitch and put it back again! I develop a split personality when it comes to cold hard cash in my hand and I'm loathe to part with it and think much harder before parting with *that* so easily!

Alongside my receipts envelope on my noticeboard, I now have other envelopes. I have broken down my monthly budget into weekly amounts and (please do not laugh) have put the equivalent in toy money into those envelopes. I can only spend a maximum of what is in there. I do this because I use a Tesco cc for purchases for the point bonus' it earns me so using actual cash isn't going to work quite as well, but, I'm hoping that the act of counting out the money in the envelopes accordingly will help my mentality

The bottom line is, you have to do what YOU are comfortable with and have the time and motivation to maintain. Even though I let things slide from time to time, in the main I quite enjoy inputting the figures into the spreadsheets and have the calculations performed before my every eyes However, if noting it down in a book or a combination of both is better for *you* then that is how you should organise your budget record keeping.
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# 10
Magentasue
Old 04-04-2005, 5:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queenie
While I'm happy to use my receipts to tell Money that I've spent say £30 on food based on my receipt, I think I want a bit more detail; so I'll tweak the spreadsheet I adapted in Works so I can get a clearer picture - especially now I'm getting into coupons!.
I've added categories in MSMoney - so when I go through my Asda or Lidl receipt I record how much is spent on food/toiletries/cleaning stuff/pet food etc.

I've also deleted categories for things like a gardening service!

If I get cashback, I do that as a transfer to Cash account. I'm thinking of setting up a virtual account for coupons etc. If I use them now, I just deduct it from the Food category but I might record this as a transfer to Pin Money account.
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# 11
Lucie
Old 04-04-2005, 6:00 PM
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I have a very straight forward spreadsheet with 5 columns:
DDs & standing orders
Petrol
Supermarket
Cash out
Other stuff - takeaways, clothes, birthday presents & anything else not covered elsewhere

I total them up over the month, check against bank statement when it comes & then I have a summary sheet where I record the month's totals for each category. I also record total in & total out of my bank account so I know how much "underspend" (hopefully!) there is each month.

It's nowhere near as dedicated as some others, but helps me to see that my monthly spends are consistent. Also, logging down every purchase really does make you thing about what you're spending your money on.
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# 12
Queenie
Old 04-04-2005, 6:02 PM
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You don't have a Gardening Service??? I do - I hire dh if he's a really good boy and does a good job ... I treat him to some icecream

I know what you mean though, some of the categories in Money do need some tweaking!

Hmmm, maybe I haven't got the hang of accounts properly in Money? *Sighs* oh well, back to reading Money For Dummies in the bath.
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# 13
apple_mint
Old 04-04-2005, 7:10 PM
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In our house, I run the 'virtual savings' PMS speadsheets and other half runs the budget spreadsheets.

I give him all my receipts plus details of non-receipt items (e.g. spends at the car boot sale).

He records spend in columns - food and cleaning, fuel, gardening and other (slow cooker purchases etc). We are logging our gardening start up costs just for interest.

As we make savings from BOGOF's etc I record these in the virtual savings spreadsheet. I record these monthly and with last month's PMS I bought a slow cooker.

We have also started thinking laterally. We have been promising our daughters some proper beds for a while - they are using teen high beds with sofa's beneath. They are super duper quality but not really suitable for an older teenager. So last weekend we gave up trying to sell them and simply chopped them down (repacing the plastic feet on the lowered beds). Result - new beds that didn't cost us a penny. We have a assumed a virutal saving of £200.

As part of the budget spreadsheet (described above) we have a running average monthly spend as well as a weekly spend total. We are consistently working this figure downwards thanks to the great ideas on MSE.
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# 14
Bogof_Babe
Old 04-04-2005, 7:13 PM
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I pay everything possible on monthly direct debits, so know exactly how much the basic month's outgoings are. The two "no Council Tax" months are a bonus and I leave the saved money to cover birthday/Christmas cheques for niece and nephew.

As regards housekeeping, I only buy what I need, and only just before I need it. With a loaf in the freezer and a carton of longlife milk in the cupboard I don't have to panic about routine trips. Also have dried foods (pasta etc.) and tinned veg in stock, so even if we get snowed in we won't starve for a couple of days!

Have just realised recently that it is better to buy a couple of necessities at the local Co-op than go to Sainsburys and inevitably stock up with stuff that will just lie around in the fridge/freezer/cupboard for weeks. Even if the Co-op is more expensive, it is economical in the long run. Incidentally I rarely buy their fresh produce as it really is a rip-off, so if we have no fresh veg left I buy a bag of their frozen mixed veg which does for three meals, for the price of one cauliflower.

I don't need to write anything down as I am pretty clued up - always know what is in my purse and what is in the bank.
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# 15
foreverskint
Old 04-04-2005, 10:45 PM
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Thanks to all those who mentionedMS Money. It rang some bells and I realised it was another unused programme i already have on my pc.

Its a little weird at first but I've just had a funny hour sorting it out and looing at my virtual protential savings. I'm gointg to be RICH

Well not so much rich but the potential to have a bank balance in the black for the first time in years. This is all thanks to the superp ideas from all on this forum, and my family's willingness to go along with some ideas. Even my DH is coming up with money saving ideas now and even eating meals that he wasn'y so keen to try before.

His latest idea, as i'm a bit of a fusspot with the washing is to mix a value powder with my usual good powder and a bag of washing soda. This means that two small boxes of powder noe last me 3 weeks and I have 4 kids. The powder mix with the soda actually gets the washing much cleaner with ledss powder. Now if I can only bring myself to use the vinegar as a softener.......................
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# 16
BrightonLad
Old 04-04-2005, 11:13 PM
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i use MS Money too. i would really recommend it for budgeting, it helps me loads as i have so many direct debits, standing orders each month. i don't download my statements, as i like to enter the transactions in the register as soon as they occur (for purchases etc) or 2 months before for DDs etc (or enter an approx amount if they change like mobile phone). This way i know exactly how much money i will have in my accounts on any given day within 2 months, unless i make any more cash withdrawls or shopping

have used it for 3 and a half years and find in invaluable.

i do all purchases on a credit card, and only use cash for going out/ pub/ lunches at work, so cash withdrawls always amount to roughly the same. (need to spend less on going out and drinking though! lol

(incidentally, is this the best way to forecast cashflow on MS Money, or does anyone know a better way to project my finances. i don't use the cash flow forecast on the program as i don't find it easy to get it as accurate as entering transactions in register before they occur)
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# 17
crana999
Old 05-04-2005, 1:28 AM
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I put stuff just on a list on Excel as I buy it.. then every week i add the things up from different catagories to check i'm in my budget (obviously I have an idea as the week goes on)

I don't have any regular bills etc coming out my account so I don't have to worry about that. I check my acct with internet banking at least every few days to check I've had wages paid/when debits have gone through etc and move money to or from my savings as needed. I use cash almost exclusively - I only use a card if I don't have neough cash on me, for internet buying etc..
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# 18
Queenie
Old 05-04-2005, 7:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightonLad
............ i don't download my statements, as i like to enter the transactions in the register as soon as they occur (for purchases etc) or 2 months before for DDs etc (or enter an approx amount if they change like mobile phone). This way i know exactly how much money i will have in my accounts on any given day within 2 months, unless i make any more cash withdrawls or shopping
You *must* reconcile your accounts! It's a very important part of doing accounts/budgeting under any recording system. Banks/statements *do* make mistakes - admittedly not often, but you really should reconcile your Money account with your bank statements. Downloading them into Money is easy to do if you have online banking. Yes, it is another task to perform, but like anything else, once you have got into the habit, it takes very little time to keep up with it.
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# 19
Bargain Rzl
Old 05-04-2005, 11:02 AM
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I don't use a financial package at all. I have an Excel workbook which does everything, which I update almost daily.

1. Main sheet. This lists: Current balance of each account/CC; Current uncleared items on each account/CC; Money owed to/from friends; money/cheques waiting to be paid in; current balance of each "budget pot" including savings (expressed as a negative figure); total (which should be £0.00 at all times, since the "pin money" pot got added to the list!) To the right of this list is a duplicate list of the fixed monthly addition to each budget, which adds up to exactly the amount of my monthly salary - so that when I get paid, all I have to do is copy it across and do "Paste Special: Values: Add" to update the main list.

2. Account sheets. One for each bank account and credit card. Gets reconciled against the bank statement

3. Budget-pot sheets. So I know what's been paid and where it's come from.

It lets me be very flexible with my money - e.g. I know I've got £2.5k in actual savings, but my savings accounts can be fuller or emptier than this depending on the cashflow situation at any given time of year. The idea is that as long as it adds up at year end, which it always does, I don't really care what is being kept where in the meantime as long as I'm not paying interest to anybody, and the maximum number of people are paying interest to me

The sheets aren't all linked together as well as they could be (still a lot of manual stuff going on) but I just need to get around to doing this.
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# 20
Nix143
Old 05-04-2005, 12:20 PM
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Hi guys this is all really inspiring stuff, thanks very much

Next thing is on a day to day basis what little tricks do you use to stop yourself spending money? Or to monitor the money you spend?
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