Author Topic: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?  (Read 22891 times)

MrsSmitty

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2014, 12:13:32 PM »
We (I) track our spending in YNAB. We don't use cash for anything so I just log into all our accounts online every few days to log transactions in YNAB. The only thing I don't have access to directly is my husband's credit card he uses for personal expenses. He pays it out of the joint checking though so I see how much he's charged. I find this method easier than keeping receipts. But we don't have many transactions and I have a pretty good memory for what we buy so that helps. If you log in and see $100 at Target 3 days ago and have no idea what that was for, receipts may be a better way to go.

FarmerPete

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 346
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2014, 02:50:45 PM »
We use YNAB.  I find the lack of automation helps cut down spending.  If it auto downloaded and categorized like Mint does, I'd hardly ever open it.  Opening it every few days keeps things in check.  I'm constantly seeing things that I would have missed with our old system.

The trick to YNAB is to be fully buffered when you start.  That's hard for most people, but I imagine most of the readers here would easily be able to be buffered.  Living off last month's income makes budgeting a month at a time crazy easy and effective.  I don't like how it handles transfers to brokerages.  I don't want my brokerage to be "On Budget", because I would hate to have to expense market moves.  If I transfer money out of my budget to put it into my brokerage, YNAB treats it like an expense.  That's fine, until you get to reports.  Our regular budget is ~$3500 a month.  In September, I decided to move my entire emergency fund into my brokerage.  Now my report shows an income of ~$4k in Sep, but that I spent ~15k.  I can exclude that category, but that doesn't look right either.  Stupid reporting.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28018
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2014, 03:38:39 PM »
Mint.

We don't budget, we just view spending later.

YNAB is what I'd recommend for someone looking to budget.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, 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.

senecando

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Madison, Wi
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2014, 03:53:59 PM »
We use YNAB.  I find the lack of automation helps cut down spending.  If it auto downloaded and categorized like Mint does, I'd hardly ever open it.  Opening it every few days keeps things in check.  I'm constantly seeing things that I would have missed with our old system.

The trick to YNAB is to be fully buffered when you start.  That's hard for most people, but I imagine most of the readers here would easily be able to be buffered.  Living off last month's income makes budgeting a month at a time crazy easy and effective.  I don't like how it handles transfers to brokerages.  I don't want my brokerage to be "On Budget", because I would hate to have to expense market moves.  If I transfer money out of my budget to put it into my brokerage, YNAB treats it like an expense.  That's fine, until you get to reports.  Our regular budget is ~$3500 a month.  In September, I decided to move my entire emergency fund into my brokerage.  Now my report shows an income of ~$4k in Sep, but that I spent ~15k.  I can exclude that category, but that doesn't look right either.  Stupid reporting.

I have a master category of budgets for savings and expense, and use all the reporting tools with that group unselected. That works pretty well. Sort of an annoying hack though.

Edit: Totally misread the last few sentences. What doesn't look right?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 03:56:48 PM by senecando »

davisgang90

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1266
  • Location: Roanoke, VA
    • Photography by Rich Davis
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #54 on: December 05, 2014, 04:55:41 AM »
Quote
Hmm, is it weird to profess love for budgeting software?

Not on this forum.

Dodge

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 790
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #55 on: December 05, 2014, 10:24:41 PM »
I consider myself a fairly intellegent fellow, so I started using YNAB during the trial period without bothering to watch any of the tutorial videos, figuring I'd be able to figure it out on my own. I HATED it as a result, and stopped using the software. However, based on all the rave reviews, I gave it another shot and decided to watch the tutorials. It made a WORLD of difference. They don't offer anything earth-shattering in the videos, but just a straightforward explanation of how to use the software correctly. Imagine that, watching the instructions helps. Anyway, I suggest you give the videos a watch and you might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was.

This post got me back into YNAB, and I'm LOVING IT!!!  Like you, I tried the trial a while back, didn't see what the big fuss was about, and immediately deleted it in favor of Mint.  "You mean I have to add all the transactions manually?!  No thanks."  After reading your story, I thought, "Hmm, I wonder if that's why it didn't *click* with me?".  I immediately watched the videos, attended a free Webinar, and now I'm hooked!  It makes so much sense now.  My wife and I have already switched from Mint, and are quite excited about it!  We've completely rethought how we think about money, and budgeting...which is quite the revelation to me, considering how much time I spend reading Mrmoneymustache, and posting both here and on Bogleheads.  I thought I knew everything :-P

For anyone else wondering about YNAB, here's a link to the video tutorials we're talking about:

http://www.youneedabudget.com/support/video/getting-started-with-three-simple-steps

Thank you Professor Ecks!!

Kmp2

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 233
  • Location: Cowtown
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #56 on: December 05, 2014, 10:52:11 PM »
We charge all daily expenses to a credit joint credit card, all fixed expenses come out of the same joint account. We transfer a fixed amount from each of up accounts to the joint a account each month. That is our budget. I just check once a month to make sure our credit card can be paid in full from the joint account. If it can't I review why... Sometimes it is a major purchase/vacation/repair that should probably be from savings... Otherwise we discuss and spend less the following month.

If I need my type a details I use mint, but that is only every couple of months or so.

Spoom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Cleveland, OH
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #57 on: December 05, 2014, 11:33:27 PM »
Mint.  It's not perfect, but it's a game changer.  (And it's free!)  Worth the price of admission for the Trends pie chart alone.

If you're worried about giving it all your banking passwords, I'd suggest using LastPass and changing all passwords to something random and secure in order to minimize your risk.

Mint does have some (semi-automatic) budgeting tools; like everything else, they're not perfect, but they're there.  Haven't tried YNAB.

Edit: Oh, a nice tip I use for our cash back credit card: I keep a spare, linked savings account available (called "Reserve").  Every few days, I transfer enough over from the checking account such that the balance of the Reserve equals the balance of the credit card.  Sometimes I'll pay down the card early so that my credit usage ratio isn't higher than 10%.  Other than that, I'll wait until we get the statement, and then just dump the statement amount from Reserve into the credit card.  That way, I don't have to mentally subtract the credit card balance from my main checking account, so we always know we can pay the full statement amount.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 11:42:35 PM by Spoom »

Dodge

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 790
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2014, 11:43:22 PM »
Mint.  It's not perfect, but it's a game changer.  (And it's free!)  Worth the price of admission for the Trends pie chart alone.

If you're worried about giving it all your banking passwords, I'd suggest using LastPass and changing all passwords to something random and secure in order to minimize your risk.

Mint does have some (semi-automatic) budgeting tools; like everything else, they're not perfect, but they're there.  Haven't tried YNAB.

+1 for LastPass.  You should use that even if you don't use Mint :)

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2382
  • Location: NZ
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #59 on: December 07, 2014, 12:44:04 AM »
I haven't read all the replies but this is what works for us.

1. Joint checking account where all income is deposited, from there we pay our future selves (redirect a targeted amount into savings/investments), and then all joint expenses come out (food, utilities, property taxes etc).

2. Individual checking accounts that receive a weekly allowance from the joint account. This has ranged from $40 - $75 a week each. All personal expenses come out of here (entertainment, clothing, hair/personal grooming, hobbies, lunch or coffe with friends etc).

The rule here is there is zero judgement on each other's spending from our personal accounts. On the joint account as much as possible is discussed and agreed upon prior to spending

This works for us, as you have personal freedom over a modest amount of money, and then two factor authentication of the bulk of the money. With the added benefit of no budgeting, or expense tracking required.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 12:49:22 AM by gooki »

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3264
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2014, 09:09:08 PM »
We pay for everything with credit cards.  My wife then keeps a paper ledger which she updates (ideally weekly).  The ledger has columns along the top for each category, and transactions down the left hand side.  Yes, we could do it electronically or automatically, but there's something really nice about being able to open a paper ledger and see everything at a glance.

Happy Little Chipmunk

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #61 on: December 07, 2014, 10:44:41 PM »
We've been using Mint for almost exactly two years. And then I started following MMM exactly a year later. That one-two combo has been an incredibly positive thing for us.

When I was a kid, I tracked my money very closely...but I allowed the busy-ness of adult life and kids of my own to distract me. I'm glad to be back on track.

For the first half of our relationship (before kids) we had separate personal checking accounts and a joint one for joint expenses. Then after a move, we simplified to one joint account but we left our personal investment accounts separate. Now we're updating our estate plans and are finally merging all our finances.

I guess after knowing this person for 33 years (together for 25) I'm finally ready to really commit! ;-)

Spoom

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Cleveland, OH
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2014, 03:44:26 PM »
Ha, I love all these stories of separate bank accounts for personal transactions and joint bank accounts for joint transactions and whatnot.

I came to the US on a K-1 visa.  We had no choice but to combine everything, the government requires it!

(Admittedly though, I keep a Canadian bank account to pay Canadian bills that can't be easily paid from the US, like my student loan.)

homehandymum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 551
  • Location: New Zealand
Re: Married couples what do you use to track your spending?
« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2014, 05:43:52 PM »
We've gone through different phases of financial tracking.

When we needed to turn on a desk-top computer to input stuff into a spreadsheet, we found it to be too hard to maintain beyond a month or two, and writing things on paper on the fridge to add to the spreadsheet later didn't work so well.  But we maintained it for long enough to get a handle on what we spend and how, and to set our 'normal' to something that works.

For years now we've just been keeping an eye on the balances to make sure they're trending in the right direction.  If something looks odd, we'll look more closely at the month's statements.  Oh, and we buy very little with cash - aside from a few standing weekly payments (like DH's sports subs and our straight-from-the-farmer milk purchase) it's all via our joint credit card or our joint bank account, so that makes it easier to track. 

We have an agreement to discuss any purchase over about $200, and we both have very similar values and spending patterns so neither of us takes advantage by making stupid $190 purchases on the regular, for instance.

Just recently I've downloaded a spending tracker app for my phone (MoneyWise), and I really like it.  It's not supported on multiple devices, so I just get DH to tell me when he spends cash, and ask him for details of anything that comes up on the bank accounts that I don't know about. 

I'm still working out how to get the most out of it, but the biggest plus is the ability to update everything on the fly (don't need internet access to add transactions), and I love the way it just magically makes graphs for me :)