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  • Kateelizabee
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:22 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:22 PM
    This is how mine is set up.

    I have 4 columns, date, description, type (cash vs credit/debit) and amount. So if I bought a magazine, it would be

    27.2.06/ Prima /cash/ 2.30

    This helps me see just how much I spend on what.

    Mind the pennies and the pounds will mind themselves!

    Hope that helps.
    I'm an American living in Oxford using the exchange rate to my advantage. (As of 4 Oct 2006: 1USD=1.88GBP)

    Debts at highest November 2004: $29,464.51

    26 June 2006: Down to $17,701.27
    Private Student Loan: $3,073.61 (7.83%)
    US Federal Student Loan: $14,627.66 (5.3%)

    4 October 2006: Down to $11,622.66
    Private Student Loan: PAID IN FULL!
    US Federal Student Loan: $11,622.66 (5.38%)

    Debt Free Date: 27 September 2007, my 25th birthday!
  • Lucifer
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:27 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:27 PM
    Thanx Kateelizabee, do u do it as you go, or just once a day?
    "I will be debtfree"
  • georgiasmum
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:27 PM
    Spending diary
    • #4
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:27 PM
    I have been religiously using this since December 05 and I write down everything. So if I take out 50 I record that and how it was used because when I look back I can see if it was well used or frittered needlesly. It is a bit anal at first but becomes easier as you do it. It is my way of becoming debt free and accountable for every penny I spend. I have paid off, since Nov 05, 1 credit card- 1900 balance, reduced another from 4500 to 780, reduced an (interest free) catalogue from 1200 to 415 and have paid for my 2 week summer holiday doing this. I still have a 500 o/d to sort out but the rate is reasonable for the time being and it helps with the other things. I have 2 loans which I will snowball in earnest once my smaller debts are repaid but psychologically all of this has made me disciplined and proud of myself!!
  • Kateelizabee
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:38 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:38 PM
    Thanx Kateelizabee, do u do it as you go, or just once a day?
    by Lucifer
    I do it as I go, but sometimes I'll make a mental note to do it later. So far I haven't forgotten anything.

    It sounds like your book is in and out, would it be easier for you to just have a spending diary like mine? Yours sounds more like a ledger you have to balance, maybe it's too complicated a system for you right now. I keep my budget separate from my spending diary.

    BTW, If I took out 10 from the cash point, I wouldn't record the 10 itself, I would records the 5 on lunch, 3 on the bus and the 2 on a magazine. Putting it in twice would just confuse things.
    I'm an American living in Oxford using the exchange rate to my advantage. (As of 4 Oct 2006: 1USD=1.88GBP)

    Debts at highest November 2004: $29,464.51

    26 June 2006: Down to $17,701.27
    Private Student Loan: $3,073.61 (7.83%)
    US Federal Student Loan: $14,627.66 (5.3%)

    4 October 2006: Down to $11,622.66
    Private Student Loan: PAID IN FULL!
    US Federal Student Loan: $11,622.66 (5.38%)

    Debt Free Date: 27 September 2007, my 25th birthday!
  • georgiasmum
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:41 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:41 PM
    Good point about the ledger book thing but I find it keeps me strict with myself! I'm a teacher and I guess I like rules!!
  • Kateelizabee
    • #7
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:46 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:46 PM
    Georgiasmum, yours sounds complicated for someone like me, but it seems to be working perfectly for you. Thank you for showing us that no two spending diaries have to be exactly the same for different types of people.

    Well done on achieving your goals
    I'm an American living in Oxford using the exchange rate to my advantage. (As of 4 Oct 2006: 1USD=1.88GBP)

    Debts at highest November 2004: $29,464.51

    26 June 2006: Down to $17,701.27
    Private Student Loan: $3,073.61 (7.83%)
    US Federal Student Loan: $14,627.66 (5.3%)

    4 October 2006: Down to $11,622.66
    Private Student Loan: PAID IN FULL!
    US Federal Student Loan: $11,622.66 (5.38%)

    Debt Free Date: 27 September 2007, my 25th birthday!
  • Lucifer
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:47 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Mar 06, 2:47 PM
    OK thats what i'll do - I will go and buy a new book 2moro, and when I have done my budget later today, I will start as I mean to carry on. I think I will draw out 10 cash and allow that for my spending money and write in the new book exactly what I spend it on.

    I take lunch to work, and I am home straight after picking up kids from school. Therefore I shouldn't need much money (unfortunately never stopped me in the past!!).
    Thank u soooooo much for helping me in my quest to be debt free.
    "I will be debtfree"
    • Amanda65
    • By Amanda65 5th Mar 06, 3:33 PM
    • 2,006 Posts
    • 3,713 Thanks
    Amanda65
    • #9
    • 5th Mar 06, 3:33 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Mar 06, 3:33 PM
    I've started an excel spreadsheet from Feb and am adding new columns as I go. One breakdown that I am findning quite useful is supermarket shop vs Londis (my local convenience store) I go in there to pick up things I have forgotten at the supermarket and inevitably end up with a magazine / bottle of wine etc. This adds to my general spend and is showing where I am missing out when calculating our food spend each month. It is also teaching me that if I work out a menu and make a list, not only have I always got what I need, I don't waste as much either
  • Lucifer
    Thats a good idea too Amanda65. I have Microsoft Money (only ever used it for current account), might try and use some more of the facilities on there. Got it free when we upgraded the pc last year. Hopefully that will tell me the same as your excel spreadsheet.
    "I will be debtfree"
    • serena
    • By serena 6th Mar 06, 10:37 AM
    • 2,382 Posts
    • 41,209 Thanks
    serena
    Hi Lucifer,

    rather than buying a book why not get a diary? They are selling very cheaply now!

    I use a free diary which came with Family Circle before Christmas (very MSE!), which has useful size spaces for each day and a blank notes page each month just right for doing the monthly addup.

    I fill it in as I go, but I haven't done any analysis on it yet - ie transferring it to a spreadsheet with the totals for petrol, plants, chocolate, food shopping (yup, in order of priority!)etc

    There is a daily 'How much have you spent today' thread on this board, which is great for keeping you on track - I mean, how many times a week are you prepared to confess in public that you spent 5 on chocolate and magazines?
    It is never too late to become what you were always intended to be
  • Budget
    I've started an excel spreadsheet from Feb and am adding new columns as I go. One breakdown that I am findning quite useful is supermarket shop vs Londis (my local convenience store) I go in there to pick up things I have forgotten at the supermarket and inevitably end up with a magazine / bottle of wine etc. This adds to my general spend and is showing where I am missing out when calculating our food spend each month. It is also teaching me that if I work out a menu and make a list, not only have I always got what I need, I don't waste as much either
    by Amanda65
    Dear Amanda65

    You say that when you go to buy an item you may have forgotten from your main shopping trip you sometimes buy a magazine, bottle of wine, etc. What I have found helpful is keeping a blank shopping list on the kitchen wall and adding items as I notice that supplies are running low (or have run out). I take this list to the supermarket (having added items needed to cook the week's pre-planned menus). Then I first of all visit the Bargains (price reductions) shelves - often an item or two on my list is there at a much reduced price. I would also buy an exceptional bargain if it is freezable and can use it at a future date. Then I complete my shopping and MAYBE add a couple of items more. As I approach the check-out I stop and look at every single item in my basket or trolley and ask myself "Do I REALLY need this at present?" If not, I remove it and replace it on the shelves! Finally, I have just got myself a Sainsbury's VISA card which charges 0% for 10 months - the monthly statements show me exactly how much I am spending on food and basics (cleaning materials, loo rolls, etc.) and I can make a game out of seeing if I can reduce this total month on month. I hope these tips are useful to you.
    • Amanda65
    • By Amanda65 7th Mar 06, 10:38 PM
    • 2,006 Posts
    • 3,713 Thanks
    Amanda65
    Hi Budget - I have actually started a list in the kitchen for everyone to use as often it's not me who finishes a bottle/packet etc. and I only know we've run out when someone asks where it is!

    The 'do I really need it' at the chackout always comes into play when I go to Ikea and find my trolley full of lovely but unecessary items for my home LOL!

    And I am finding that just listing what I spend is having an effect. Just as an example I had to go to London today for a business meeting and instead of spending 2 on a magazine to read on the train I took my book (bought at a school jumble sale for 20p!)
  • Felix the Cash
    Dear MSE'rs

    Here's how sad I am: A few years ago I acquired a cheap palm pilot. This had an expense program and in the last year or so, I've been making good use of it.

    I record and categorise spending (e.g. Groceries) by entering it into the unit and synchronise it with the computer. At the end of the month, I export the entries to excell. I then sort the data by category and total the spending in each area. These totals are then entered into my master spreadsheet. This shows spending by category, monthly total, annual spend to date and average monthly spend. This enables me to spot trends or areas where I can cut back and understand how much I need each month or year - which helps budgeting and regular saving.

    Of course you can do this with a book, or even just by religiously keeping your receipts - I made myself a receipt spike by banging a 6" nail through a square of wood.

    I do recommend using categories. A lump sum cash budget is a start, but it helps to prioritise your spending if you can see what's going where.

    Of course, my biggest problem has always been working out what I spent in the pub last night - I'm not quite geeky enough to let the barman see me tapping a round into a computer.
    Happiness is cheap!
    • sparkle_monkey
    • By sparkle_monkey 8th Mar 06, 5:43 AM
    • 113 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    sparkle_monkey
    Hi Lucifer, I've found my spending diary to be invaluable. Before I was wasting so much money and had no idea where it was all going, regularly convinced that I'd 'lost' it somewhere! Right now I record everything on an excel spreadsheet, pretty similar to everyone else I imagine. Usually I update everyday as I'd forget otherwise (it also helps me to keep a running total so I can see if I'm going over budget). Another thing I do is highlight all the things I bought that were unnecessary splurges. If I add this up weekly it can be amazing how much money is spent at the corner shop on chocolate, magazines and soft drinks. As a result of seeing this wastage in black and white I've tried to cut down my consumption to save extra money..
    It really helps you to control your spending - good luck with it!
    • sparkle_monkey
    • By sparkle_monkey 8th Mar 06, 5:48 AM
    • 113 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    sparkle_monkey
    Amanda65 & Budget - Just reading your posts reminded me I bought a really cheap little whiteboard to go in my kitchen. I write my mealplans on there and my shopping list. Meal plans have REALLY helped with budgeting and reducing food wastage.
  • VP
    I have been keeping a spending diary now for about 2 years. I use excel as I find it easiest to update - I just do it in the mornings before I start work.

    All of our money comes into, and goes out of, our joint account, so my spending diary mainly tracks this account. I divide it up into 5 colums: debits, credits, balance, description and classification. I also keep a tally of total incomings to the account for each month against total outgoings, and a remainder. This is what's so useful about excel - I don't have to constantly update this calculation or do any maths! I then have a second worksheet for each month, where I total up each classification in a different column, so I can see where the money goes.

    I don't keep a track of everything I spend in cash (I don't use cash much to be honest as I find it easier to track spending if it all comes out of the bank), but at the beginning of the month, we withdraw a certain amount in cash and only use that for spending on going out, lunches at work (we usually take our own lunch to work) etc. It seems to work for us, and we try to be really strict about it. This month, we haven't spent all of our spendies, so I'm actually paying some of it back in to cover a slight overspend elsewhere!
    Filiss
  • shellbell
    ok this is the very first time I've used this so i hope this works - my kids showed me! I think you are all fab. Today is going to be the first day of concerted effort to get my finances in order - how can i expect my kids to be solvent if i'm not! and i have gained at least seven tips for "must do now" things to sort today - i am off to raid the shed for 6inch nails and a plank of wood - i know i have old diaries somewhere to use for a spending book -todays my day off so i will do a weekly meal plan (any advice welcome there!) and i'll get the kids to join in with an excel s/sheet tonight. Your tips have really motivated me to get sorted in an area of my life that i've been burying my head in the sand so a big THANK YOU to all.
  • Lucifer
    Welcome to MSE Shellbell - you will do well here, there are some fab tips and some very supportive and knowledgable people on here. Consider yourself part of an extended family!!
    "I will be debtfree"
    • skintchick
    • By skintchick 8th Mar 06, 10:29 AM
    • 14,668 Posts
    • 23,339 Thanks
    skintchick
    I only kept a spending diary for a month to show me where i was going wrong - now I just question myself every time I want to buy something and if it's not necessary I walk away.

    To help this, I used to have a Post-IT note stuck on my debit card in my purse, so every time I opened my purse I saw the words:

    DO YOU REALLY NEED THIS?

    and would be reminded not to buy stuff!!

    It worked for me.
    DFW Nerd Club member 023...DFD 9.2.2007
    married 21 6 08 Angel babies' birth dates 3.10.08 * 4.3.11 * 11.11.11 * 17.3.12 * 2.7.12 My live baby's birth date 22 7 09 I'm due another baby at the end of July 2014!
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