Author Topic: How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?  (Read 3514 times)

wonkette

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How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?
« on: June 29, 2017, 12:56:43 PM »
In December I started a job I like very much, in part because it includes a lot of travel (25-50% of my time depending on the season) around the US. I like to travel and there are several financial upsides:

A generous per diem (I simply get this per diem, I don't have to submit food receipts at all)
Hotel, rental car and airline points
Lots of opportunities for manufactured spending in buying work-related supplies (though I haven't fully explored this I'm thinking about it, I did get a hotel chain credit card)

The downside is that I am shelling out thousands of dollars at a time and it is wreaking havoc on my financial tracking. This week I helped set up an event at a new office that included buying about a thousand dollars of supplies. Even if I do my expenses at the end of this week I won't get the reimbursement until July.

I currently use Mint to track my spending and it has been a mess every since I started this job. Net income deep in the red one month, very inflated the next. And by category I look like an anti-mustachian sucker, spending over $1200 a month on food and beverage alone this year, plus a huge office supply category. I know there is a category for 'work expenses' or 'reimbursement' or similar but I would have to monitor it pretty carefully like making sure Starbucks on days I'm getting per diem is categorized as a work expense but Starbucks while I'm in the home office is not. Even that example is hard to track as I just get my per diem amount (which I diligently stay under and save the difference) not the exact dollar amount that I spent at a Starbucks in the Denver airport or whatever.

How do others who travel for work keep all of this straight? Mint is just what I've been using, if YNAB or another product could handle this better I'd be willing to switch. I'm having a hard time determining what I really live on and thus what my FIRE goal should be. I'm also worried about hedonistic adaptation in this environment, getting used to driving new cars, food covered, having someone clean up after me in my hotel room and so on. Any advice?

Because I am spending so much are there other ways I should be leveraging this? I've already gotten two personal hotel stays paid for and a plane ticket but maybe this is an opportunity to open more cards and really get into travel hacking/bonus chasing?     

Catbert

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Re: How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 01:44:53 PM »
Simple solution is to keep all your personal expenses on a different credit card than your travel expenses.  Find a good travel credit card using the MMM recommends and use it for your travel.  If you want to churn bonuses you can use the new ones for travel expenses too.  For your personal expenses have a different credit card that is good for the things you buy at home (groceries?)

I enjoyed traveling for a while but it got old fast.  The perks don't outweigh the hassles of airplane security, weather delays, plane malfunctions, and loss of social life.  I found a job where I don't need to travel.  To each their own.
+1

Roboturner

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Re: How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 01:51:04 PM »
We added a line-item called "reimbursable work expenses," when reimbursed we also call it the same "reimbursable work expenses" (rather than income, because it's not really income). We then move the appropriate amount back in time to the correct month of the initial expense. For example, if we pay in may, get it reimbursed in June, we move the reimburse date back to may (judiciously using mint's 'split transaction' feature). This nets out the "expense" leaving just 'real' expenses.

wonkette

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Re: How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 02:00:57 PM »
Simple solution is to keep all your personal expenses on a different credit card than your travel expenses.  Find a good travel credit card using the MMM recommends and use it for your travel.  If you want to churn bonuses you can use the new ones for travel expenses too.  For your personal expenses have a different credit card that is good for the things you buy at home (groceries?)

I enjoyed traveling for a while but it got old fast.  The perks don't outweigh the hassles of airplane security, weather delays, plane malfunctions, and loss of social life.  I found a job where I don't need to travel.  To each their own.

Yeah, maybe an airline card or a simple cash back for my expenses? I like the hotel card quite a bit and it has the highest points multiplier at hotels so it makes sense to keep using it on the road.

I'm sure I'll get sick of it! I only need to talk to my colleagues to figure that out. About half of them are mustachians living under the means on the road and retiring at 50 but the other half are 'work hard, play hard' types. 

wonkette

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Re: How do you track job-related spending & reimbursements?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 02:02:00 PM »
We added a line-item called "reimbursable work expenses," when reimbursed we also call it the same "reimbursable work expenses" (rather than income, because it's not really income). We then move the appropriate amount back in time to the correct month of the initial expense. For example, if we pay in may, get it reimbursed in June, we move the reimburse date back to may (judiciously using mint's 'split transaction' feature). This nets out the "expense" leaving just 'real' expenses.

Thanks, this seems doable!