Author Topic: How do you keep track of your savings?  (Read 5286 times)

Jules13

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
    • January Girl
How do you keep track of your savings?
« on: November 04, 2014, 05:14:40 PM »
Do you have multiple savings/checking accounts with different names?  Use Mint or YNAB?  Excel spreadsheet?

I have had a high interest checking account (though it's gone down in the last year or so) and try to keep up to the max in there, along with 4 savings accounts, but I think that the large amount in my checking is actually hindering my savings ability.  I think it's causing me to not keep track of things as well.

Where do you keep your short term/mid term savings and do you worry about earning interest at all? 

Thx.


peabody58

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Age: 61
  • Location: South of Atlanta
  • FIRE 04/2015 @ 57
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 06:23:03 PM »
I have a very detailed multi-sheet Excel spreadsheet that has been evolving over the past 7 years.  It has our current assets, liability, income and budget sheet; simplified Quarterly assets update; detailed Quarterly assets update sheet; and our retirement planning sheet (projections to age 90). 

SpreadsheetMonkey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 06:58:23 PM »
I use three different tools: one for investments, one for debt, one for cash flow/checking.

For investments, I use Personal Capital.  It isn't perfect because a few accounts (JP Morgan) don't seem to trust it and require a text message verification pretty frequently.  If you dig down, it also buckets quite a few investments as "Unknown" instead of large/small cap, domestic/international, etc.  While the market has been on a tear, it has mostly been an infrequent ego boost.  That number keeps rising!

For debt, I have a pretty comprehensive spreadsheet.  Each tab has a different account (mortgage, student loan, car) that shows the amortization schedule.  I have it set up so that I can enter early payments and watch the balances drop.  It's really useful when I want to forecast when I will pay off debt under different scenarios (i.e. if I pay off the car now and use the monthly payments for student loans instead, how much sooner am I finished?).

For cash flow, I have a spreadsheet that tracks expected inflow/outflow over the year.  I have a schedule for paychecks and monthly expenditures like utilities, mortgage, etc.  At the start of the year, each category has an estimate for every month.  As the year goes by and I have a better idea what those numbers will be, I can update a table and it will tell me where my cash balance will be at the end of the month and end of the year.  So far, it has been within 5% every month.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3437
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2014, 06:59:33 PM »
I keep $5000 cash as an emergency fund in a savings account. It earns 1.3% interest, but it's not there to make me money, it's there for peace of mine and dire situations that I can't solve by throwing a credit card at.

I don't have short term or medium term savings. Everything in excess of my spending just gets dumped into my retirement investment accounts. If I want to buy something expensive, I just put it on a credit card and pay it off on my next payday.

I use Mint to track everything, since there are a lot of accounts.

kaetana

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 426
  • Location: the Netherlands
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2014, 07:19:45 PM »
I used to have multiple savings/checking accounts, one for each purpose. For example, I would have "Vacation Savings", "Emergency Savings", "House money", etc. This approach was limited as I wanted many more "buckets" than I could realistically have! Now I use YNAB, which let me minimise the amount of accounts I had while giving me the freedom to create as many "buckets" in the form of budget categories. In this way I know exactly what I have towards each purpose without the hassle of having separated physical accounts and then transferring money between them. I've found YNAB a LOT easier to deal with.

I do track interest, but I don't update it all the time. Depending on the account, I reconcile anywhere from monthly to yearly.

My short term savings are sitting against my mortgage account at the moment, so it saves me interest rather than gaining me interest. If I didn't have a mortgage account, I would probably keep maybe 3-6 months' expenses in a savings account and invest the rest.

SpreadsheetMonkey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 07:20:22 PM »
On second reading, I realized you are asking two questions:
1) How do you keep track of the numbers?
2) What should that number be?

I already answered the first, so here are my thoughts on the amount:

I don't keep as much money in cash as many people seem to target (6-8 months?).  Right now, I have about 3 months of total expenses in cash and do not plan to increase it in the next year.  The reasons I am comfortable with that are:

1) My wife and I have similar paying jobs for large, stable, profitable, corporations in completely different industries.  We are also both considered strong performers within those companies and work in fields that currently have a shortage of workers.  I'm not saying that to pat myself on the back (too much).  I mean that I think our salaries are somewhat diversified and that we face a lower than average risk of losing our jobs
2) Without even considering severance or short term disability payments, we have a month of income coming for previously completed work.  Our payroll systems pay 2 weeks after a 2 week pay period and we both have some unused PTO banked.  That's an extra month of savings that would give us some breathing room unless our two Fortune 100 companies went in to default at the same time.
3) I have family who is willing and able to help if we lost our income(s) because of something like medical emergencies
4) I'm willing to accept the risk that if we couldn't work, and we used the savings we have, and we couldn't make lifestyle adjustments in the 4 months it took to run through those, and we couldn't find new work, and our investments are in the toilet and it's a terrible time to sell...at that point, my priorities are already completely different than they are today and selling a few investments at a loss won't be my biggest concern.

The upside to this philosophy is that I can put more money to work right now and not miss out on the gains that the additional 3-5 months expenses can earn in the market. 

Runge

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 219
  • Location: TX
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 08:49:16 PM »
I use YNAB for my everyday budgeting, tracking, and short term savings goals. I use a self-made spreadsheet for my investment and financial goal tracking.

I keep all of my short term savings in my single checking account and don't worry about the interest lost. Most of those goals are no more than 2 years anyway, so to me it's not worth the risk.

/shameless plug, I'm a huge advocate of YNAB, although I do realize that it may or may not be for everyone.

Jules13

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 222
    • January Girl
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2014, 10:26:28 AM »
Thanks for all the input.  I think my issue is that I am keeping too much "savings" money in my "checking" account in order to take advantage of a higher interest rate.

It's not giving me a true picture and I think actually hindering my savings because I'm seeing such a large number available in checking and I can't separate out what's what when I look at it.  I am going to move the surplus out of my checking and into the respective savings accounts and not worry so much about the interest rate and see if that helps. 

Thanks.
Julie

mike3725

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 08:22:11 PM »
I use to feel exactly how you are.  We eventually took the plunge and started moving some money into a Vanguard taxable account.  We probably still keep more in our rewards checking account than most people on this forum, but it's all about your comfort level.  When you feel like you have too much in there, you'll be motivated to move things around.

For daily budgeting/savings, my wife and I use the Goodbudget Android application.  It's a digital envelope budgeting system -- and since we always have our phones, it's easy and fast to enter things and our phones stay in sync.  We have a handful of "envelopes" in the app for things we want to track...like short term expenses, clothing, weekly food-fun-necessities, and our next dream vacation.  :)

For monthly/quarterly snapshots, we still use the good ole spreadsheet. 
« Last Edit: November 05, 2014, 08:26:40 PM by mike3725 »

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27911
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2014, 08:37:44 PM »
The banks and brokerages keep track of my savings for me.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

thecornercat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 77
  • Location: Toronto
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2014, 08:42:26 PM »
I used to be in a similar situation: a large amount of money in a checking account, but I did that to have access to certain account benefits. I hated that I couldn't properly keep track of the money coming in and out though. Now I have two checking accounts: one to keep track of the money I spend/receive, the other one just money sitting there to access account benefits.

I don't use anything to keep track of my accounts themselves. I went on Mint, but then I never checked it. I just go to the banks themselves to check in on my funds. And I keep track of the money I spend on a spreadsheet.

retired?

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 661
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2014, 11:18:42 PM »
I do it in Excel with an asset, liability, net worth calc.  I used to update it quarterly, but now that I am not working, I update it monthly.  It is somewhat manual in that I have to go to several websites to check the values for input into Excel.

For cash, I am moving a lot (from selling previous more expensive house with lots of equity) into two Vanguard funds over the next year, which will get me down to about 15 months of expenses....from a CapitalOne 360 account.  Some would argue too conservative, but I don't want to pull from stocks if a downturn occurs.

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 640
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: How do you keep track of your savings?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2014, 01:31:19 AM »
I keep $5000 cash as an emergency fund in a savings account. It earns 1.3% interest, but it's not there to make me money, it's there for peace of mine and dire situations that I can't solve by throwing a credit card at.

I don't have short term or medium term savings. Everything in excess of my spending just gets dumped into my retirement investment accounts. If I want to buy something expensive, I just put it on a credit card and pay it off on my next payday.

I use Mint to track everything, since there are a lot of accounts.
The system I'm using now is sort of similar. $5k in an emergency savings account that I don't touch, and a secondary savings account that I call "irregular spending". Using my budget, I figured out the large expenses that come up throughout the year (a major house repair, property taxes, etc), break it into a monthly cost, and put the amount in that account every month. I went back and forth about having 10k+ in savings, but I don't like leaving a balance on credit cards, and don't want to dip into emergency fund for a planned expense.

I used to have more savings accounts but moved the excess into an index fund. I've earned more on that in the past 2 months than I did in the 2 years previous in savings (and coming out of Sept I was at a loss.)