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    • baggins11
    • By baggins11 2nd Jan 20, 10:14 AM
    • 137Posts
    • 372Thanks
    How to Log Spending
    • #1
    • 2nd Jan 20, 10:14 AM
    How to Log Spending 2nd Jan 20 at 10:14 AM
    Hi All

    We are in a posiiton that we have been spending more than we earn for the last year and I need to take control of our finances and live a more frugal life. Our savings are now zero so cannot carry on along that track. We are living as we always have but last year our salary reduced by a third.

    I have done the budgeting tool and looking at the real basics we can just about cover ourselves but doesn't include any entertainment out or unnecessary clothes or nice to have stuff that we don't need.

    So I think the best way forward is to have some sort or spending spreadsheet so I can track every penny and then I am less likely to shop for the sake of it.

    I have always made the most of our money and get the best deals etc but some of it is unnecessary. I am embarrassed to admit that some days I browse the internet because I just want to find something nice and shiny to buy

    So does anyone have a spreadsheet template they use or method they find the best for tracking everyday spending? I have not worked in an office for years so I can happily use excel but would be rusty at making my own template.
Page 2
    • mumtoomany
    • By mumtoomany 2nd Jan 20, 4:10 PM
    • 269 Posts
    • 1,994 Thanks
    On the first page of the 2020 Frugal living challenge (in the debt free wannabe challenges, sub board, part of Debt free wannabe) there is a link to a spreadsheet on the first post.
    Cash neutral grocery spends 'till Christmas:
    Yougov cash, £50 plus £240 contribution from DD1. 40p found in a trolley. Found 13p, Gameduell £50.31, Grab points £8.27 Swagbucks £20, Facebook sales £235

    Spent £510.33/£604.11
    • maryb
    • By maryb 2nd Jan 20, 4:59 PM
    • 4,068 Posts
    • 50,443 Thanks
    I still use Microsoft Money. It doesn't connect directly to the bank from inside the program any more BUT a lot of banks (except for Nationwide grr) will allow you to download your statement in QIF or OFX format onto your own computer. You can then import this into Microosft Money tada!! Credit cards don't always come with QIF/OFX format statements but Nat West and LLoyds group do. I download new transactions every day (the file is tiny) and enter pending transactions manually.

    I don't use the budgeting tool because it is irritating when dealing with once a year expenses. It basically divides your budget in 12 and when you put the annual expense through, shows you as having massively overshot your budget for the month. Even if that is after 11 months of unused budget.

    What I do find useful is to do a cash flow forecast by entering transactions with a future date. So I have already entered all January's bills and one-offs and put in notional amounts for supermarket and petrol spends. I can then see what my balance will be at the end of January

    I would imagine something like this could be used for variable income unless it really is so variable you have no idea what you will get. Just enter estimated income with a future date and change it to actual figures when it lands in your account. Then you will see how your future balance will change and if you will have enough in your account to meet estimated outgoings

    Hope this helps. I swear by MS Money. It's what keeps me using a Windows PC rather than switching to Mac
    It doesn't matter if you are a glass half full or half empty sort of person. Keep it topped up! Cheers!
    • GreyQueen
    • By GreyQueen 2nd Jan 20, 5:41 PM
    • 12,722 Posts
    • 244,117 Thanks
    I have an A4 diary each year with a page at the back for each month, one side is expenditures and the other income.

    Expenditures are; rent, service charges, council tax, ISP, landline phone, and housekeeping. Periodically, water bill and gas & electricity.

    Receipts for housekeeping (which includes non-food household consumables/ cleaning products) are put in a clip and totalled at month's end before being added to the diary page.

    Other spends have a category, common ones in mine are alternative healthcare, clothing, homemaking, gifts, transport. At month's end, I tick down the 20-30 things I bought and then add them to a category. Categories are totalled and added to the rent etc and that total is deducted from the income. The goal is always to have a surplus and I might have one montho of deficit every 5 years.

    If I feel like it, I add the categories into a simple self-designed Excel spreadsheet then play around with autosum and percentages. If it's a rainy day, I might even make a pie chart with the data, but then I'm sad like that.

    Been doing this since 1997 and find it very helpful to know where the money goes.

    As a tip, I'd keep a very close rein on food and drink consumed outside the home, this is a shocking drain that you simply don't see happening unless you start keeping your numbers.
    Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness.
    John Ruskin
    Veni, vidi, eradici
    (I came, I saw, I kondo'd)

    • Squiggly Diddly
    • By Squiggly Diddly 2nd Jan 20, 6:10 PM
    • 1,041 Posts
    • 15,155 Thanks
    Squiggly Diddly
    I use (on my laptop) a similar program to MSMoney - it’s called MoneyManager. I spent some time initially inputting every outgoing & incoming transaction (salary & d/d’s) (but once a month is done you can ‘duplicate’ the transaction and just change the date. I set myself an allowance for groceries/personal spending for the month. I have recently got myself a Revolut card which I now transfer that amount onto, as I can see on the app on my phone exactly what I’ve spent on that and it means I am not then swiping my debit card & losing track.
    I often have this budget info set up for 9-12 months in advance as it helps me see my financial situation across a period of time which I find really useful.
    Live your life until love is found, or love's gonna get you down" (credit to Mika!)

    • baggins11
    • By baggins11 2nd Jan 20, 8:48 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 372 Thanks
    I am honestly blown away by how good at this you all are! Lots of you have different approaches but you have developed them to work for you. I feel embarrassed that it has taken me this long to get in control of my finances. I dread to think how much money we have wasted as a family over the years!!

    Thank you for opening my eyes to all the options and I am sure I will find an approach to tracking my money that works for me (and who knows I might even be able to pay a little extra into the mortgage this year!)
    • newlywed
    • By newlywed 2nd Jan 20, 9:01 PM
    • 7,519 Posts
    • 24,841 Thanks
    Another vote for Ynab here. I have never ever used any sort of spreadsheet, notebook or app for more than 2 weeks and it rarely ever balanced against my account.

    I have used ynab for 6 weeks now and the only money i lost track of is £1.24 cash. Every week I am amazed that it balances with my bank balance. I have it on my android phone, on my iPad and can log into a pc or laptop too. So now I have very little excuse not to track it all.

    In four weeks I turned round from a monthly ever increasing overdraft to paying off nearly £200 of the overdraft. So happily paid out £65 for a subscription.

    I have always been rubbish with budgeting and tracking, but so far this is a complete turn around.

    I did have to watch some Nick True videos on u tube to get the full, hang of it though.

    Honestly though, whatever method you decide on, I think it’s consistency that is the real key. To keep on tracking all of it, all the time.
    working on clearing the clutter
    • SteveeeP
    • By SteveeeP 12th Jan 20, 7:43 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    I use MoneyDashboard web and app, connects with you banks and you can tag spending to give you an overview. You can then do budgets to reflect with these tags. There’s also a planner to show account long term.
    • WWDug
    • By WWDug 12th Jan 20, 9:14 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    For years I been using Quicken it covers everything bank accounts, credit card, mortgage, tax etc you can set up numerous accounts.
    But you would need one of the older versions 2004 was the last UK version. I have seen them on eBay rally cheap. I'm running 2012 version updated to 2016 and just change the $ for £.
    • kazmeister
    • By kazmeister 12th Jan 20, 9:30 PM
    • 3,217 Posts
    • 53,169 Thanks
    I use MoneyPoint that I downloaded for free on Windows 10. You can set up multiple accounts, you can set budgets and it will track against your spending, you can standing orders to enter automatically and you can reconcile accounts.
    I set up Cash accounts too and although it sounds really old fashioned, in order to cut spending I go to the bank and take the cash out each month. I literally have a pot for Food/Household, one for Fuel, etc. For things that crop up every few months like my hair appointments (expensive luxury) I put money away each month and get my hair done when there is enough in the pot. On MoneyPoint I transfer money from the bank account to each 'pot' account I have set up and then divide it out into how weekly amounts. It really does help you rein it in until it is under control. I do carry cards for emergencies but on the whole, it has really worked for me.

    ETA I get receipts for everything I can and update MP each week accounting for every penny, then take out the next weeks cash from my pots into my purse. I'm out of work at the moment and this has really helped me get everything in order
    Last edited by kazmeister; 12-01-2020 at 9:34 PM.
    Lost my wings, need to learn to fly again
    • lfctom
    • By lfctom 13th Jan 20, 8:45 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    Hi everyone - my first reply here.
    I have built an application which i've been using myself for around a year. I seen this thread and thought it would be interesting to see what other people thought of it, as it helps foreward plan/forecast my bank balance. It came off the back of struggling with finances when we moved into our first home.
    I would appreciate any feedback you have - let me know whether you'd like to take a look!
    Thanks, Tom
    • oceandreamer
    • By oceandreamer 13th Jan 20, 9:20 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 538 Thanks
    I really wanted to cut down what I spent on food shopping so I started taking the cash out at the beginning of the week and keeping that and only that in my purse. I have a spending app on my phone that I just use for food shopping. Its really easy to remember as I always have my phone with me and just pop the amount in as soon as I get out of the shop. One thing that I realised was that I was a bit jittery once there wasn't much money left - even though I had done the food shopping and shouldn't need anything else. In the past I would definitely have had to get some more cash out 'just in case'.
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 14th Jan 20, 10:32 AM
    • 17,031 Posts
    • 145,913 Thanks
    I am a bit like Greyqueen I use an A4 red book but I buy one around every 2-3 years Its lined and on the right hand page of the month I list all my outgoings and bills for the month, plus all my income take one from t'other and whats left gets moved to a savings account. I list as a food budget per month £60.00 as I live alone and I am really good about shopping for food etc .I eat out on Sunday evenings at my DDs and Tuesday evening at pub quiz (that costs me £2.00 including the quiz ,so a real bargain )Sunday dinner at DDs I usually make and take pudding for us all last sunday I made a trifle which cost very little .
    I bake all my own cakes and biscuits and I don't eat or buy bread I prefer crackers .Only buy butter for baking shortbread ,so not often. I also make all my own soups as I usually have soup and crackers for lunch .Porridge for breakfast, and I suppose I spend about a third of my food budget on fruit and veg. So far this month as I have lots of left over bits from my two DDs from Christmas (they are not quite as careful as I am when it comes to food ,and know I can make something out of almost anything ) I have only actually spent around £24 odd on food ,most of which was fruit and veg. My freezer is pretty well full and I have a good stock of tins, pulses etc and a decent stock of herbs and spices I only use UHT milk and I suppose my one luxury is decent coffee, but one of my Christmas present from my eldest DD this year was a subscription to a coffee place that send you bags of different ground coffee each month from all parts of the coffee producing world so I don't need to buy coffee for a good few months.

    I have a smaller book by my chair in which I list everything I buy during the week but I try to only actually food shop every 7-9 days or when I have a list of more than say ten items needed. Its quite easy habit to get into ,especially if like me you are retired so have more time on your hands for cooking or baking. Different if you have a busy family I suppose. But I bake for my DGS and family as I always have enjoyed doing it . I keep a keen eye on prices at the shops and before I go I usually check out what offers there is in first.

    at the end of the month anything left over in my food purse budget gets shovelled into my holiday funds which are in a seperate account from my main account. I treat my household budgeting the same way as running a business and it seems to have worked pretty well over the past god knows how many years. I have a seperate savings account for rainy days which I have had since I was a teenager and thats a very long time ago
    I have in my main purse a roughly rolling amount of around £20.00 odd which is my Happy Cash stash and that's for small treats for myself or my family if I see something thats not in the food budget . I rarely if ever eat or drink out and take aways are not for me as I can make twice as much for half the price at home (and often do )
    I have a Dobbies loyalty card which costs me £10.00 a year and I get 2 hot drinks a month from that (2 coffees are about £3.00 each) so it pays for itself I also get a tew for two with two cream scones when its near to my birthday as well a great bargain I think I am slightly disabled so I have a CEA cinema card which means anyone who comes with me gets a free ticket so I usually split the price of a ticket with my friend. I think I manage my money pretty well and make every penny do the work of two as my late Mum would have said. its just a case of working out what works best for you I think. This site is a godsend to most folk I think and if you can't get the answer here then you have probably not yet asked it

    JackieO xx
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • baggins11
    • By baggins11 14th Jan 20, 8:59 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 372 Thanks
    JackieO I absolutely love that quote from your late mum 'make every penny do the work of two'- I will remember that when I am tempted to buy something silly!

    I am starting to realise spending less will mean working less in the future so I am really determined to get better control of my spending this year.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 14th Jan 20, 10:01 PM
    • 6,456 Posts
    • 30,603 Thanks
    I am honestly blown away by how good at this you all are! Lots of you have different approaches but you have developed them to work for you. I feel embarrassed that it has taken me this long to get in control of my finances. I dread to think how much money we have wasted as a family over the years!!

    Thank you for opening my eyes to all the options and I am sure I will find an approach to tracking my money that works for me (and who knows I might even be able to pay a little extra into the mortgage this year!)
    Originally posted by baggins11

    Rather than pay extra into your mortgage, it could be better paying some extra into your pension. You'd get a 20% tax boost on the money which is far more than the smaller amount of interest you'll save on the mortgage, with mortgage rates being so low currently.
    • baggins11
    • By baggins11 14th Jan 20, 10:11 PM
    • 137 Posts
    • 372 Thanks
    I hadn't thought about that Slinky!! It had occurred to me when watching Martin on TV that with overdraft rates now so high it is worth having a buffer in each account so I don't ever slip into overdraft. No point overpaying the mortgage at under 2% when the overdraft rate is 40%.
    • Farway
    • By Farway 15th Jan 20, 10:18 AM
    • 7,976 Posts
    • 16,389 Thanks
    I hadn't thought about that Slinky!! It had occurred to me when watching Martin on TV that with overdraft rates now so high it is worth having a buffer in each account so I don't ever slip into overdraft. No point overpaying the mortgage at under 2% when the overdraft rate is 40%.
    Originally posted by baggins11
    Wise words, clear the overdraft, build up a savings buffer & then overpay mortgage.

    I overpaid my mortgage, when rates were above 10%, and cleared it early. Once the mortgage is gone it is whole new world of finance when your home is no longer at risk & you have umpteen ex mortgage pounds "spare" every month
    • fidgetgreen
    • By fidgetgreen 15th Jan 20, 9:01 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    i use an app called "fast budget" its really good, lets you put in reoccuring income and expenses and you can changes a lot of catergories and have different accounts. having it on my phone means i always use it and you can export excel spreadsheets as well.
    • jammy dodger
    • By jammy dodger 16th Jan 20, 12:19 AM
    • 1,138 Posts
    • 5,510 Thanks
    jammy dodger
    I use Spending tracker, a free app, on my phone: you can set up as many different'accounts' as you like - eg I have 'joint account', a 'shopping' account, a 'personal spends' account. Because it's on my phone I always have it with me and enter things immediately rather than waiting til I get home (and forgetting!) As it's free, it's worth a go to see how you get on with it. I use the one that is a brown wallet.
    Originally posted by Nonnadiluca
    I've downloaded this app too after trying several others
    really easy to use and be interesting to see where ££'s go over a month/year
    really like you can add your own categories
    Jan NSD 20/20
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