early_morning, I track between 20 and 30, just those discretionary expenses that are part of that budget. Examples: groceries, cat food & supplies, OTC health (eg, vitamins, allergy & cold tabs), coffee out, cigarettes (I smoke), vending, movies, concession, etc... things that are MY life. The hard budgeted items go on their respective spreadsheets: clothing, transportation, housing, debts, utilities, medical, gifts & donations. Think envelope method but just on a google doc.
But re the discretionary, I lump all the movies together, theater and rentals. Likewise, all coffees out go together. I *know* 7- 11 is cheaper than Starbucks, I don't need to see it on a spreadsheet. I know concessions are higher priced at the theater. When I saw how much I spent in one month, I became much more conscientious of taking my own.
It takes a moment to log it into my notebook. Maybe an hour to tally at the end of the month and enter it onto the spreadsheet.
Re the cost of product X at Target v. Kmart, it may be better to track those in a price book. I also use Google docs for that. Track the products you use most regularly so you can tell whether it's really a good sale. I've got it set up the same way as Amy Dacyzyn suggested in Tightwad Gazette but, obviously, with Google Docs it's all accessible on my phone.
I lost a lot of hours over the years, starting this spreadsheet or that. Too crazy and time consuming to maintain. A little time each day and then at the end of the month provided more useable info for MY life to make smarter changes. That's why we budget, right? To live our lives within our resources, not to sit in front of a computer contemplating whether to create another category of catfood Y and catfood Z because one may save us .00009 per morsel and in reality the cat will only eat catfood X so time and money wasted anyway.
Hope that helped.
Waited patiently...so patiently...for the "50% off on ALL clothing" sale at the Goodwill stores in our city. Got up early and went this morning. I nabbed four clearly-never-worn, sturdy t-shirts and a nice dress shirt for DH, a beautiful cotton-linen blend top for me, and a skirt to go with. Really busted the bank by paying....$13!
I got a lunchbox for my new job starting tomorrow and will be (purple not brown)bagging it. If I don't come in someplace new looking like a bag lady with cheap supermarket bags I figure I will be more motivated to pack my own lunch.
Meezer-Mom, thanks for your input. I don't necessarily have so many categories to price compare (most of our food comes from Aldi and Trader Joe, and our misc stuff from Dollar General...) but because I have a hard time not knowing details. In the past I had everything in broken down in Quicken not just discretionary. The way you explain your system makes sense - I maybe can live with that. I appreciate your taking the time to share!
Selah, score!!! Jeppy, I'm wishing you a great day one tomorrow!
Thank you EM. So far so good. I am tired, but everyone has been nice.
I love this kind of story. I haven't been thrifting lately, and I miss it. So thank you!
Originally Posted by Selah
I have been scouring my closet for outfits that meet the dress code at my new job instead of buying new clothes, though not from any frugal virtue. I am just too tired from the commute and getting used to waking up at 4 AM to want to go shopping.
I use a monthly excel grid to record each expenditure and then I transcribe totals onto my monthly/annual excel grid. I track:
Originally Posted by early morning
home (insurance/prop tax/mortgage-when we had one).
Health-insurance and traditional care
Health-Alternative, selfcare (ie: massage), supplements
Cars-all in one category, my monthly grid shows detail on gas/insurance/repair-which vehicle if I want to go back for that detail)
Social Sec/Medicare withholdings
Toiletries/household (nonfood purchases)
Misc that doesn't fit anything above-again I can go to my monthly grid for detail
I have these grids going back many years.
The final column on my excel spreadsheet is comments. Here I record larger expenses that are not monthly so I have a quick look at those rather than going back to my grid.
i'm happy to share that with anyone if you want to post an email address.
It sounds similar to mine except I dont log the dailies onto the spreadsheet. Just enter them in pencil in a notebook, each page is dated. Less time in front of the computer.
My monthly grids are penciled. I put monthly totals on excel :-)
Originally Posted by Meezer_Mom