Do you all write down everything you spend?

in Debt-Free Wannabe
39 replies 1.7K views


  • stripeyfoxstripeyfox Forumite
    474 Posts
    I download all my statements and record them in MS Money. By assigning a category to every transaction I can see exactly how much I've spent at the butcher or on petrol. This has enabled me to revise my budget to more accurate levels so that I am starting to hit my savings target. When budgeting before, I always used to "go low", for example allocating £200 for food and groceries when in reality I was spending nearer £300. Even though that may be higher than some peoples food budget, at least I know how much I am REALLY spending.
  • all_hoursall_hours Forumite
    684 Posts
    I started doing this yesterday. I tried to cut weekly spending in the last two weeks of April and didn't do very well. So much so that my total debts have increased by £30, even though I've paid a few hundred off. :confused:

    I've had a monthly spreadsheet for years but didn't stick to the budget, keeping track of the pennies will help me with this.
  • kuohukuohu Forumite
    913 Posts
    Part of the Furniture
    I am an MS Money fanatic as well.

    Everything I spend using a card I will keep the receipt in my wallet and then enter into into Money when I am next at the computer. I try to put as much day to day spending on my Egg Money card for the cashback, so entering things into Money is good for seeing what my balance is at any particular time. (The Egg money manager on their online banking is normally a few days behind in terms of transactions, so this doesn't tell me exactly where I stand at the moment).

    As well as tracking my spending, it also categorises where my money is actually going. So, for example, I can set monthly spending budgets for several categories and then see graphically (at a glance) how I am doing against the overall budget during a month. (For example if I budget £100 for food then I can see how far the orange bar is between 0 and 100 when I get to the Money start screen). If I hit a budget I can then make it tighter the next month!

    It's a great tool and has been worth it's weight in gold since I got it.
    DFW Nerd 035
  • black-saturnblack-saturn
    13.9K Posts
    If I'm in a month where paying bills is going to be tight or there are more payments going out than usual I write down all those payments and divide it by 4 so I know roughly how much it works out to per week. Then I know roughly how much I can spend on other things and put in the savings account.
    2008 Comping Challenge
    Won so far - £3010 Needed - £230
    Debt free since Oct 2004
  • milliejonmilliejon Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    If I'm in a month where paying bills is going to be tight or there are more payments going out than usual I write down all those payments and divide it by 4 so I know roughly how much it works out to per week. Then I know roughly how much I can spend on other things and put in the savings account.

    I do this too. I work my money going in less everything I know will go out by DD/SO then divide by 4 or 5 weeks and I know how much to spend. I adjust this weekly if I have some money into the account.
    DMP mutual support number 174
    Total debt now (April 10) £0! - total paid off £30,221 or 100%
    I'm now debt free after 6 years!!:j
    Non smoker since June 2006 :j
  • marybishopmarybishop Forumite
    761 Posts
    Stripeyfox - new to MMoney so perhaps you could help me here. I originally downloaded directly from the bank account into MM but as new DD's etc have come along I have put them in manually as well as day to day stuff. Question - can I download from the bank at any time or will this throw everything out on MM? Does that make sense - I know what I mean but will anyone else? Help!!

    Thanks a lot.

  • stripeyfoxstripeyfox Forumite
    474 Posts
    mary. I always download from HSBC website. A couple of times I've done something wrong and its scrambled my figures but I think I've got my head around it now.
    You should be fine to download from your bank's website directly into MSMoney. Some things to bear in mind however:
    1)If a transaction is a regular one (phone bill, mortgage etc), just right click it in MS Money and select "Make Recurring". Money will remeber this and add it to your bills page.
    2) Sometimes, Money will match a transaction to what it thinks is your regular bill but isn't. Example: my tv licence payment is £10.08. If I draw a tenner out of the bank, MS Money sometimes links it to my TV Licence payment. If it does, just click "unmatch" and go with what the bank record says.
    3) After each session, check that the "Bank Balance" matches with "Account Balance", and balance your accounts after each session.

    If you need any more help, just PM me and I'll try and assist!
  • marybishopmarybishop Forumite
    761 Posts
    stripeyfox - many thanks for that. I did try reconciling the account once but it didn't balance so I gave up! I know that sounds feeble but I just couldn't face trying to work out where it had all gone wrong!! I have put in loads of recurring entries manually and that's what I was worrying about going awol if I downloaded directly from my bank. Think I'll give it a go as it doesn't match with my bank anyway at the moment so don't have much to lose (or do I?!) At least it looks worse in MM rather than in the bank, which doesn't look that great either but that's another story and the reason I'm on here!!

    Thanks again.

  • ferryferry Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    Out of interest how many people write down how much they do on the lottery each week.??
  • Hello Loopyloulou,

    I record everything in a set of spreadsheets - no matter how small or seemingly trivial it all gets recorded. :p I keep my receipts or make a note of what has been spent then update the spreadsheets every few days or so. :D

    It's a great way to illustrate just exactly what has been spent and on what and of course its main purpose is to check and track against the montly/yearly budget.

    My Actual Spend spreadsheets are structured by Week Number with the date beginning on the Sunday - that gets around the problem of awkward month lengths. Then I have a summary chart that gathers up all the data and puts it into various totals and so on - how wonderful... :D

    PS - The above may seem over the top so to speak but it's actually quite good fun as well as very useful.

    Regards, Michael . :D
    :) The £2 Coin Savers Club = £346.00 (£300.00 transferred to Savings a/c)

    :) "Some days you're a Pigeon...some days you're a Statue"
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