Author Topic: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner  (Read 5328 times)

Gilly

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Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« on: February 17, 2017, 12:32:49 PM »
I am a newlywed. My spouse and I agree on financial priorities and have good communication on large purchases.
However, my partner will not track spending to the level I want. We moved in together and to a new area in October, so I do not have a baseline of what we are spending together (and my single spending does not do anything more than give me a ball park). My partner has refused to put spending in a spreadsheet for me to track and get this data.
 Ideally I would want everything tracked in detail. However I would be happy with grocery, restaurant, alcohol, gas, and medical spend data, then a true up of all the rest spent that month without categorizing. Is this reasonable to ask?

Any suggestions on how to get my spouse on board with this?
Oct-December I had bought virtually all the groceries, but that division of labor is not possible any more.
My spouse uses cash for most transactions so I cannot link cards/bank accounts and will also lose receipts or just not get them from the clerk. This is a separate topic, and while addressing that is something that would help, it is not possible at this time.
I trust my partner and know the reluctance to track is not to obscure spending or hide anything. It is simply a lack of desire to spend the time or effort when there isn't a problem and money is plentiful.

Future Lazy

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2017, 12:40:42 PM »
Put their bank accounts/credit cards in an automatic tracker like Mint, Personal Capital or Hello Wallet. Personally, I utterly loathe the idea of tracking spending in a spreadsheet, but I love the "gamified" feeling of tracking and organizing it through an app. Being able to visually track it this way without having to manually enter receipts might help motivate Dear Spouse off of the cash wagon and into the 21st century. Alternately, you could just classify all ATM withdrawals as "discretionary/personal", since you have no idea if they bought groceries, healthcare or toys.

Alternately, if your partner feels like this is an invasion of privacy, you could go the "shared bills account" route. Dump all money in a main spending account, and then divide out a monthly discretionary allowance. DH and I each get $50/month to spend on whatever the heck we want, no partner judgement allowed. If I want a dildo and he wants an action figure, we can't judge. :)

RWD

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2017, 12:43:07 PM »
Does your spouse get paid in cash (e.g. tips)? If not, just track cash withdrawals from the bank account(s) as some sort of "spousal mystery" expense.

Though I agree with trying to move towards using a credit card for purchases. The cash back rewards alone make them worth it.

Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2017, 12:47:02 PM »
Try to convince him to stop using cash.  And then if you achieve that, put his CC's into MINT... Why is he using cash all the time?  Do you know his reasons?
Got burned with identity/credit theft, so avoids using them. Has cards, but I cannot force their use, so tracking like that has been a losing proposition for the past 4 months.

I totally understand wanting an app and not a spreadsheet, but you can't app cash. Right now my tracking is what we save, what I spend, rent/utilities, and $400-$600 of atm withdrawals. From that money my partner is buying their gas, all our groceries, (since I am currently incapable of walking), household needs, some medical, their personal, and restaurants. The 400-600 is well within a total reasonable spending, but it allows me little data for individual trend/optimization.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2017, 01:07:11 PM by L. WereBear »

yachi

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2017, 12:59:09 PM »
If I want a dildo and he wants an action figure, we can't judge. :)
Unless they are being used in the same way.  In which case - judge away.

OP: you could stage a mugging or pickpocket encounter where your spouse becomes the victim of unreimbursed cash theft.  Then he/she will run back to credit cards with their awesome reimbursableness.

Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2017, 01:13:00 PM »
...
OP: you could stage a mugging or pickpocket encounter where your spouse becomes the victim of unreimbursed cash theft.  Then he/she will run back to credit cards with their awesome reimbursableness.
*blink* I'm sure this is a joke, but that would be so much more efficient than slow education of the risk protection credit cards offer, and demonstrating what I get with my cc rewards on a semi-random basis so there is no appearance of harping on the subject.

charis

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 01:17:27 PM »
Try to convince him to stop using cash.  And then if you achieve that, put his CC's into MINT... Why is he using cash all the time?  Do you know his reasons?
Got burned with identity/credit theft, so avoids using them. Has cards, but I cannot force their use, so tracking like that has been a losing proposition for the past 4 months.

I totally understand wanting an app and not a spreadsheet, but you can't app cash. Right now my tracking is what we save, what I spend, rent/utilities, and $400-$600 of atm withdrawals. From that money my partner is buying their gas, all our groceries, (since I am currently incapable of walking), household needs, some medical, their personal, and restaurants. The 400-600 is well within a total reasonable spending, but it allows me little data for individual trend/optimization.

He might be persuaded if you can present him with how much you could make in credit card signing bonuses and reward points.  I have to think that stopping at the ATM machine is somewhat inconvenient.  Is he incurring any ATM fees?  When I met my husband, he was basically cash only, but once in a while, he had to stop at an ATM that charged a fee.  I had to point out how crazy it was to be charged for accessing your own money.

Future Lazy

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 01:31:37 PM »
If I want a dildo and he wants an action figure, we can't judge. :)
Unless they are being used in the same way.  In which case - judge away.


Is the action figure made of non porous material, and does it have a wide base?

Alternately, does the dildo transform into a car or shoot missiles?

Excuse me while I derail this thread topic.

MsSindy

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 01:37:54 PM »
You're a newlywed...learn to pick your battles.  If you've both agreed on the amount being saved, and that is happening automatically, and you have money for bills, I wouldn't jeopardize a happy marriage over it, especially when you haven't built up any 'goodwill'. 
But, there are things that you can extrapolate from your spending and optimize.  For example, is there a lot of packaged items (chips, cookies, crackers) coming into the house, expensive flavored water or other fru-fru type groceries, this would be a place to optimize.  Also, you know how many times you're eating out and about how much it costs.  You know if you both are packing your lunches each day or not.  You know if you're doing a lot of extra driving.  You know if there are a lot of new things showing up in your home, such as new bed sheets, lamps, and placemats.  You get the idea.  Even without knowing all of the nitty gritty details, you can still tell where to optimize.  Over time, you can start to increase the savings, and that is the really important part in the early days.

I bet you can guesstimate your % saved pretty well, and it will be directionally correct.  Don't sweat this, it's not worth it.

Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 01:53:01 PM »
You're a newlywed...learn to pick your battles.  If you've both agreed on the amount being saved, and that is happening automatically, and you have money for bills, I wouldn't jeopardize a happy marriage over it, especially when you haven't built up any 'goodwill'. 
But, there are things that you can extrapolate from your spending and optimize.  For example, is there a lot of packaged items (chips, cookies, crackers) coming into the house, expensive flavored water or other fru-fru type groceries, this would be a place to optimize.  Also, you know how many times you're eating out and about how much it costs.  You know if you both are packing your lunches each day or not.  You know if you're doing a lot of extra driving.  You know if there are a lot of new things showing up in your home, such as new bed sheets, lamps, and placemats.  You get the idea.  Even without knowing all of the nitty gritty details, you can still tell where to optimize.  Over time, you can start to increase the savings, and that is the really important part in the early days.

I bet you can guesstimate your % saved pretty well, and it will be directionally correct.  Don't sweat this, it's not worth it.
But, but this is a battle I want!

Seriously, thank you for the perspective. This hadn't bothered me as much the first 3 months living together, but the past two months have made me depend almost completely on him for spending, with less ability for me to monitor and guestimate the spending, and no ability for me to suggest alternatives without coming across as critical and ungrateful. We also have been spending more because of medical expenses, and having to drive everywhere, which leads me to wanting to optimize where we can, but no ability to see where we can, and being 100% reliant on him.
I'll keep in mind I can track how much money we start the month with, what we earned, and what we end with, and how that may be good enough.

PJ

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 02:25:08 PM »
...
OP: you could stage a mugging or pickpocket encounter where your spouse becomes the victim of unreimbursed cash theft.  Then he/she will run back to credit cards with their awesome reimbursableness.
*blink* I'm sure this is a joke, but that would be so much more efficient than slow education of the risk protection credit cards offer, and demonstrating what I get with my cc rewards on a semi-random basis so there is no appearance of harping on the subject.

Hmm.  But if you can't walk, then you won't be able to do it yourself.  You'll need an accomplice.  And the resulting blackmail fees they'll charge so that your husband never finds out that you were the criminal mastermind behind the whole thing will more than outweigh and savings you might make from optimizing your grocery spending.  YMMV, but I'd say it's not worth the risk.

You're a newlywed...learn to pick your battles.  If you've both agreed on the amount being saved, and that is happening automatically, and you have money for bills, I wouldn't jeopardize a happy marriage over it, especially when you haven't built up any 'goodwill'. 
But, there are things that you can extrapolate from your spending and optimize.  For example, is there a lot of packaged items (chips, cookies, crackers) coming into the house, expensive flavored water or other fru-fru type groceries, this would be a place to optimize.  Also, you know how many times you're eating out and about how much it costs.  You know if you both are packing your lunches each day or not.  You know if you're doing a lot of extra driving.  You know if there are a lot of new things showing up in your home, such as new bed sheets, lamps, and placemats.  You get the idea.  Even without knowing all of the nitty gritty details, you can still tell where to optimize.  Over time, you can start to increase the savings, and that is the really important part in the early days.

I bet you can guesstimate your % saved pretty well, and it will be directionally correct.  Don't sweat this, it's not worth it.
But, but this is a battle I want!

Seriously, thank you for the perspective. This hadn't bothered me as much the first 3 months living together, but the past two months have made me depend almost completely on him for spending, with less ability for me to monitor and guestimate the spending, and no ability for me to suggest alternatives without coming across as critical and ungrateful. We also have been spending more because of medical expenses, and having to drive everywhere, which leads me to wanting to optimize where we can, but no ability to see where we can, and being 100% reliant on him.
I'll keep in mind I can track how much money we start the month with, what we earned, and what we end with, and how that may be good enough.

You know, if you get him to agree *just* to bringing home receipts from the grocery store, that may be enough for you.  A cheery gentle reminder or quick text while he's at the store may help:  "Oh honey, can you please try to remember to get a receipt?  Thanks!"  You can also probably guesstimate (or discreetly check online menus) when he picks up take-out for you two, or mentions that he went out for lunch with co-workers at "Pricey Café," and had a great steak sandwich or whatever.  And it probably doesn't make too much difference whether he fills up his gas tank 2 times a month vs 3, or how much he spends on his razors or shampoo at the drug store.  You'll have the big stuff at least approximately filled in.

Laura33

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 02:58:00 PM »
Speaking as someone 20 years further down the road, man, I wish I had a silver bullet for you.  I came into the marriage tracking everything -- I had a ledger book, and every night I wrote down whatever I spent that day into the appropriate category.  It was a game to me, to see if I could come in under budget.  (Yes, I did eventually upgrade to Quicken).

DH, though, was exactly like MsSindy described: we sat down and figured out our budget, we allocated an agreed-on amount to savings, and he figured that was good enough, so why sweat everything else?  He would download the CCs and such into Quicken, but we'd have hundreds of dollars just disappear as cash.  I ultimately got frustrated and gave up, since his refusal to participate meant that I couldn't really play my game any more.

But the reality is that MsSindy is right:  what will determine your overall success is getting the big things right.  Keeping the rent/car payments way down and the savings way up will help much more than trying to back-calculate how much he spent at Subway; building a habit that you cook from scratch and eat out once in a blue moon is far more important than whether your DH writes down the $0.79 he spent on a candy bar.  Etc.  Not that that doesn't matter -- once you have optimized all the rest of it, I'm sure there is a lot of slack built into his cash that deserves attention.  But it's not your top priority -- go after the low-hanging fruit first.  In retrospect, I should have cared less about whether DH was spending $0.50/day on Diet Pepsis at work and spent more time/effort showing him that "fun" doesn't require large sums of cash.  (He's still buying the damn Diet Pepsis, btw).

And then get him reading MMM.  That way, when you're ready to tackle that $400-600 cash, maybe he'll be just as excited to "optimize" as you are.  :-)

Tl;dr:  Optimize the big stuff first; worry about habits more than documentation.  There's plenty of time to dive in on the $400-600 after you get the other things nailed down.

Future Lazy

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 03:04:18 PM »
You could also try an alternate strategy. How much of your joint income are you trying to save? Save that percentage from your paycheck, and rely entirely Bank of Spouse for your own spending money with the comfort of knowing you've packed away your desired percentage for tomorrow.

Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 03:32:48 PM »
You could also try an alternate strategy. How much of your joint income are you trying to save? Save that percentage from your paycheck, and rely entirely Bank of Spouse for your own spending money with the comfort of knowing you've packed away your desired percentage for tomorrow.
That is an interesting strategy to try, at least for our minimum saving amount. I'd obviously need to get his buy in on some of it, since I can't open an IRA in his name... This might be a good weekend project for the two of us. I can see him being nervous about having less cash coming in, but it should be something I can work with.
Speaking as someone 20 years further down the road, man, I wish I had a silver bullet for you.  I came into the marriage tracking everything -- I had a ledger book, and every night I wrote down whatever I spent that day into the appropriate category.  It was a game to me, to see if I could come in under budget.  (Yes, I did eventually upgrade to Quicken).
....
Crap. This whole paragraph (and your partners good enough) is so similar to my situation. Part of the reason why this is bothering me is because I have optimized a lot of the big stuff, other than taxes and insurance which are being dealt with now.
Thanks for the perspective though

galliver

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 03:35:47 PM »
I definitely wouldn't push someone burned by identity theft to switch from cash to plastic...but getting a receipt for your spouse who lives you and wants to put in the work of tracking expenses should not be an impossible task.

What if you set up a box for him to put his receipts in after coming home (to make it easy/organized), and emphasize how important this is to you and how much you'd appreciate his participation in your game/quirk/etc? Just seems so...petty to me to refuse to do such a small thing...unless this comes across as controlling/spying, in which case there are other problems...

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4alpacas

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 03:43:18 PM »
Speaking as someone 20 years further down the road, man, I wish I had a silver bullet for you.  I came into the marriage tracking everything -- I had a ledger book, and every night I wrote down whatever I spent that day into the appropriate category.  It was a game to me, to see if I could come in under budget.  (Yes, I did eventually upgrade to Quicken).

DH, though, was exactly like MsSindy described: we sat down and figured out our budget, we allocated an agreed-on amount to savings, and he figured that was good enough, so why sweat everything else?  He would download the CCs and such into Quicken, but we'd have hundreds of dollars just disappear as cash.  I ultimately got frustrated and gave up, since his refusal to participate meant that I couldn't really play my game any more.

But the reality is that MsSindy is right:  what will determine your overall success is getting the big things right.  Keeping the rent/car payments way down and the savings way up will help much more than trying to back-calculate how much he spent at Subway; building a habit that you cook from scratch and eat out once in a blue moon is far more important than whether your DH writes down the $0.79 he spent on a candy bar.  Etc.  Not that that doesn't matter -- once you have optimized all the rest of it, I'm sure there is a lot of slack built into his cash that deserves attention.  But it's not your top priority -- go after the low-hanging fruit first.  In retrospect, I should have cared less about whether DH was spending $0.50/day on Diet Pepsis at work and spent more time/effort showing him that "fun" doesn't require large sums of cash.  (He's still buying the damn Diet Pepsis, btw).

And then get him reading MMM.  That way, when you're ready to tackle that $400-600 cash, maybe he'll be just as excited to "optimize" as you are.  :-)

Tl;dr:  Optimize the big stuff first; worry about habits more than documentation.  There's plenty of time to dive in on the $400-600 after you get the other things nailed down.
You've received a lot of really good advice. 

I'll add my two cents from experience.  Let him spend how he wants if you're reaching your shared savings goals.  When I decided I wanted to spend less on food, I started cooking a lot more, so take-out wasn't as appealing.  I also took over most of the grocery shopping.  We went from spending ~$2k to <$500 (~$250/groceries + ~$200/eating out).  My husband didn't have to do any additional work.  Most of the cutting back has come from me.  My DH has now (4 years later) started to cut back on stuff too because he feels like he doesn't need it. 

My DH and I both work a lot...and are handsomely compensated, so YMMV.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 05:08:57 PM »
It is simply a lack of desire to spend the time or effort when there isn't a problem and money is plentiful.

I'm a 100% down with MMM and FIRE. I don't track $1 of my spending. No interest. No need. I'm crushing my savings goals and my investments are ahead of my planned schedule for FIRE. If my GF tried to get me to track things I would resist. You'd have to convince me there was significant reason we needed to do so.

Spork

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 05:23:29 PM »

You know, if you get him to agree *just* to bringing home receipts from the grocery store, that may be enough for you.  A cheery gentle reminder or quick text while he's at the store may help:  "Oh honey, can you please try to remember to get a receipt?  Thanks!"  You can also probably guesstimate (or discreetly check online menus) when he picks up take-out for you two, or mentions that he went out for lunch with co-workers at "Pricey Café," and had a great steak sandwich or whatever.  And it probably doesn't make too much difference whether he fills up his gas tank 2 times a month vs 3, or how much he spends on his razors or shampoo at the drug store.  You'll have the big stuff at least approximately filled in.

I think this is awesome advice (coming from a couple where this sort of applies). 

We're both somewhat nerdy about money:
I am the one that wants to track everything.  I have a graph for every conceivable aspect of our finances.
Wife is a bill paying nerd that wants every account to reconcile to the penny.  If she doesn't have a receipt for it, the it must be credit card fraud.

I jokingly tell people "I have to turn that receipt into the accounts payable department and fill out an expense report."

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2017, 05:24:58 PM »
Can you encourage your husband to switch to cards whenever possible? Tell him its for the miles. It's a bit weird to rely so heavily on cash.

My suggestion is to try YNAB. It's been a god send for us. My husband was the same - generally on the same page fianncially but adverse to budgeting/tracking because he thought it would be a chore. The YNAB app makes it really easy to track expenses and assign them to budget categories. It takes less than 10 seconds. It learns your patterns, making category assignments super easy. I like it because we have a shared budget, but he does most of our shopping, so I can see what he spent, and he can see when we are going over budget in a particular category and make informed choices. We actually use the old version, so I think it's even easier with the new version because it automatically imports from your bank/credit cards. I think YNAB would work for you unless you are looking for even finer detail (like - splitting up a single purchase into multiple categories). For that you are better off just asking him to keep receipts and bring them to you for entry.

Our cash tracking isn't perfect, but it's way better than it was. Neither of us uses cash much, and while my husband tries to track small cash expenditures, some slip through. But I know how much cash is withdrawn, and I know that almost all his cash purchases are snacks/lunches/coffee when he's on work trips, so I just assign all black hole cash expenditures to that category. It's a really small percentage of our overall spending, so its fine. I don't need to know about every burrito and cup of coffee.

Mezzie

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2017, 06:50:31 PM »
I enjoy tracking things; my husband doesn't. We both stick to the budget, but I have no idea where his part of the spending money goes (we each get an equal amount). That's truly fine with me. Our savings rate is on track, so I see no need to make him cut down more even though I enjoy trying to.

charis

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2017, 09:18:41 AM »
You can't open an IRA in his name?  I set up my husband's IRAs and 403b.  I told him I was doing it, and he said, "that's cool."  I was the one that talked to Vanguard over the phone about it.  And there is a mechanism where you can give your spouse equal access to the account basically.  Both of us have that designation for the other's accounts.
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Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2017, 12:16:44 PM »
So much to reply to...
You can't open an IRA in his name?  I set up my husband's IRAs and 403b.  I told him I was doing it, and he said, "that's cool."  I was the one that talked to Vanguard over the phone about it.  And there is a mechanism where you can give your spouse equal access to the account basically.  Both of us have that designation for the other's accounts.
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He would find that disrespectful. I can talk and see, but it would be overstepping in our relationship for this to be a unilateral move on my part. IE I'll see if I can but it may not happen overnight.
Can you encourage your husband to switch to cards whenever possible? Tell him its for the miles. It's a bit weird to rely so heavily on cash.
...
As stated before getting him to use cards is NOT the solution at this time. I see the advantages, but ultimately it is his decision. I do not need advice on changing this with him.
I enjoy tracking things; my husband doesn't. We both stick to the budget, but I have no idea where his part of the spending money goes (we each get an equal amount). That's truly fine with me. Our savings rate is on track, so I see no need to make him cut down more even though I enjoy trying to.
The problem isn't his spending money; its that he is buy our stuff in cash and not tracking. And these past two months, my stuff and not tracking. 
Some other answers to questions:
He doesn't pay ATM fees, the bank is on his way home from work so he sees no problem or inconvenience in stopping there every 2 weeks and pulling out a couple hundred.
Receipts: I think the problem is he can't keep track of them and doesn't care. He knows how much cash he has, so why bother? Gentle reminders have gotten me to getting about 1/4 of the receipts and the occasional sassy comment. I like the idea of setting up a box. Maybe it wouldn't catch all the receipts but hopefully it would save some of them.
This isn't a spending problem, this is a tracking and preparation problem. We are sticking to our overall plan but I cannot tell if anything is skewed out of my projected expenses.  *Shrug* I'll try upping our automatic savings rate as suggested, and continue attempting the slow conversion to cards, but the advice I am identifying most with is from Laura33 and PJ, which involve best guesses and relaxing, since this isn't a real problem, just me desire for hard data and optimization being thwarted. I'll also try focusing on grocery receipts since that is likely the largest category of spending.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2017, 02:27:01 PM »
We are sticking to our overall plan but I cannot tell if anything is skewed out of my projected expenses.  *Shrug*

It sounds like the problem is on your end then, which is great because that's something you can control and solve.

cchrissyy

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2017, 04:05:50 PM »
i think the solution here is to let go. savings rate is fine. spending totals are fine.

track the ATM withdrawals as "spouse's uncategorized spending"

if there is a particular category you really care to break out, like groceries,  ask spouse to bring home the receipts, and you enter them because you're the one who cares to see it.

Laura33

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2017, 08:31:35 AM »
i think the solution here is to let go. savings rate is fine. spending totals are fine.

track the ATM withdrawals as "spouse's uncategorized spending"

if there is a particular category you really care to break out, like groceries,  ask spouse to bring home the receipts, and you enter them because you're the one who cares to see it.

You know, this might work, because it's not so all-encompassing, and you're not implying that he is managing his money incorrectly.  I'd personally also present it as for a short period of time, so you're asking him to make an exception help you on this one discrete project instead of changing how he does things forever.  E.g., "hey, hon, do you think you can help me get a handle on our grocery expenses for the next month or so?  I want to make sure that we set our budget at a realistic level, so I'm trying to figure out where we are now.  I know how much you hate all the tracking and stuff, but, boy, if you could make an exception for just a couple of months, just for the grocery store, I'd really appreciate it -- look, you can just put them in this little box."

And then praise him every single time he remembers to bring one home, and shrug off all the ones he forgets. 

He will probably at least try to comply, since you are not asking for so much, so at a minimum, it might at least let you get a snapshot of a month or so -- that can then be your baseline that you can use if you see a noticeable change in your spending over the next couple of years.  And maybe, just maybe, he'll learn a new habit of asking for receipts and dumping them in your box.  :-)

Proud Foot

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2017, 03:54:06 PM »
i think the solution here is to let go. savings rate is fine. spending totals are fine.

track the ATM withdrawals as "spouse's uncategorized spending"

if there is a particular category you really care to break out, like groceries,  ask spouse to bring home the receipts, and you enter them because you're the one who cares to see it.

You know, this might work, because it's not so all-encompassing, and you're not implying that he is managing his money incorrectly.  I'd personally also present it as for a short period of time, so you're asking him to make an exception help you on this one discrete project instead of changing how he does things forever.  E.g., "hey, hon, do you think you can help me get a handle on our grocery expenses for the next month or so?  I want to make sure that we set our budget at a realistic level, so I'm trying to figure out where we are now.  I know how much you hate all the tracking and stuff, but, boy, if you could make an exception for just a couple of months, just for the grocery store, I'd really appreciate it -- look, you can just put them in this little box."

And then praise him every single time he remembers to bring one home, and shrug off all the ones he forgets. 

He will probably at least try to comply, since you are not asking for so much, so at a minimum, it might at least let you get a snapshot of a month or so -- that can then be your baseline that you can use if you see a noticeable change in your spending over the next couple of years.  And maybe, just maybe, he'll learn a new habit of asking for receipts and dumping them in your box.  :-)

If the receipts don't work could you try the envelope method? It might take a few months to figure out how much you need for each one but get your number and then you can just track how much cash you put in each envelope at each paycheck.

maizefolk

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2017, 04:11:42 PM »
On a broader level, tracking every last dollar of spending is exhausting. I use mint, and have shifted somewhat away from my previous mostly cash ways, but I still know a non-trivial amount of my spending is being tracked (ATM withdrawals) but not categorized, but I don't worry as long as the top line number is at or below my target. That said:

On a practical level, envelope in the wallet for receipts. This is what I have to do when traveling for work (can turn them in for reimbursement but only if I hold on to them). It seems silly and ridiculous and I don't like it, but any other way I just don't manage to hold on to them. I think it's because the envelope is just wide enough I see it every time I pull out my wallet to pay for something, which reminds me at almost exactly the perfect time that I need to be saving the receipt when they hand it to me. Without that it's basically impossible to break a couple decades habit of treating it like a random piece of waste paper.


Gilly

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2017, 08:29:04 AM »
On a practical level, envelope in the wallet for receipts. This is what I have to do when traveling for work (can turn them in for reimbursement but only if I hold on to them). It seems silly and ridiculous and I don't like it, but any other way I just don't manage to hold on to them. I think it's because the envelope is just wide enough I see it every time I pull out my wallet to pay for something, which reminds me at almost exactly the perfect time that I need to be saving the receipt when they hand it to me. Without that it's basically impossible to break a couple decades habit of treating it like a random piece of waste paper.


This is exactly how he sees it! I love this solution. Will it work for him? No idea. But it's a nice concrete idea.
Also talked with him about an IRA. Doesn't like having auto deposit set up for him since his paycheck is too inconsistent (450 to 800 per week depending on OT). But he is setting one up and has agreed to fund it or let me fund it once a month, so I know he will be keeping a bit better eye on his spending. It may not result in things being documented, but it's nice too see he is understanding my concern and taking steps that are agreeable to both of us.

Laura33

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Re: Track Spending with a Reluctant Partner
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 09:00:13 AM »
It may not result in things being documented, but it's nice too see he is understanding my concern and taking steps that are agreeable to both of us.

That's really awesome.  You guys may never fully come to the other's side (FWIW, my first real post-marriage argument with DH was about tracking our finances, which ended with him spluttering "but that's -- that's -- STUPID!").  But it's that willingness to meet somewhere in the middle that makes all the difference.