Author Topic: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking  (Read 7734 times)

fidgiegirl

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Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« on: July 13, 2015, 12:03:34 PM »
Those who follow my journal know that consistent tracking has been a real challenge for me throughout the time I've been on this forum.  I used to be a rockstar at it and loved all the information I had about myself and my habits - and then I got married, and tracking imploded.  But now I am going part time at work and the tracking need is real again - like, truly need to keep close track of what we have coming in/going out, not just relying on our frugal muscles to inevitably keep our spending lower than our income.  It might not be a given anymore.

So!  I invite anyone else who is interested in forming a daily tracking habit (however you do it) to join me here.  Why daily?  Selfish, really.  I do awesome when I do something every day.  If I try to do it every other day, or twice a week, or whatever, all the intervals in between the days seem the same to me, so there's a real danger that I'll let it go, oh, a month, or two weeks, or several months, and it will feel kind of the same to me as if I let it go just a day.  This is also why I can't cheat on having gluten now and then.  I would have it every day if I had it once.  Knowing this about myself, I know that daily is a key to success.

I will be using YNAB.  First step today: a fresh start.

Report numbers if you want, or simply that you actually did it.  I think I'll just start out reporting if I tracked or didn't.  Maybe I'll post the spending itself, I dunno - Whatever I'm moved to post on that day.  It'll be a kind of virtual sticker chart.

Eventually I want to get tracking to be an automatic, painless daily task, something that I do first thing if I open the computer, rather than just automatically going to FB or checking in here.

Who's in?

Cessna152

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 06:13:55 PM »
I do daily tracking through my bank account. I bank with Simple in the US and they allow you to set up budgets (they call them "goals"). As soon as I make a purchase, it shows up on my phone and I'm able to categorize it out of one of my goals. At a glance I can see what I have left or if I can afford to spend anymore. There's also the ability to add notes to every purchase, in which you can #categorize them to quickly pull graphed reports.

That makes it easy to me to daily track. I think if it was a manual task against a spreadsheet, I'd fail pretty miserably.

acorn

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 06:31:51 PM »
I do daily tracking through my bank account. I bank with Simple in the US and they allow you to set up budgets (they call them "goals"). As soon as I make a purchase, it shows up on my phone and I'm able to categorize it out of one of my goals. At a glance I can see what I have left or if I can afford to spend anymore. There's also the ability to add notes to every purchase, in which you can #categorize them to quickly pull graphed reports.

That makes it easy to me to daily track. I think if it was a manual task against a spreadsheet, I'd fail pretty miserably.

I've been doing this manually on excel for 14 years... at this point it's ocd, can't bear it if i don't update my accounts. :S

HappierAtHome

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 07:05:36 PM »
I need to start doing this again - used to track very consistently but fell off the wagon. Time to get back on with the motivation of this challenge :-)

fidgiegirl

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 08:19:36 PM »
Yeah!  Co-challengers!

I did a fresh start and freed space in my Dropbox so I can start doing the YNAB sync to use the phone app again (my Dropbox had filled up with other crapola).

I put in the starting balance.  Tracking starts tomorrow.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 06:24:13 AM »
I did daily tracking for quite a long time, first pen and paper, then for the first few months of having YNAB. I've since designated Friday as my "money" day, but I totally agree with daily tracking at first to build the habit.

With YNAB, probably fastest when doing it daily to just manually enter receipts rather than downloading and importing account activity.

Keep at it! I'm a huge believer in tracking spending both to achieve finance goals and to ensure none of your life energy is just being pissed away mindlessly. I was very good at mindless spending in my teens and twenties.

I'll follow the thread even though I don't do it daily anymore.

fidgiegirl

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2015, 08:40:01 PM »
Holy hell!  One day gone and I already forgot!  On the first day of the challenge!  Eeeek.

So I will retroactively track for yesterday & also today.

Sheesh.

Others?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2015, 01:45:52 AM »
I've been tracking every dollar since January 1st of this year. It has helped cut down on wasteful spending tremendously. It also made me realize I can live my current lifestyle on $18,000/yr easily!

fidgiegirl

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 02:06:04 PM »
OMG!  This has turned out to be harder than I thought!!

I know scrubbyfish has addressed this in the past, but maybe others have ideas as well . . . how do you handle cash, particularly in YNAB?  I had a fair amount of cash transactions yesterday and nowhere to really "put" those, nor cash income.  Most of the cash is just a wash (sell something on garage sale group, buy something from garage sale group) but I'd like to see it objectively.

I don't know if DH would track in the YNAB app.  He doesn't seem very interested.  I wonder if he'd do the little spindle where he could plop his receipts.  I feel like waiting for the expenditures to come through online and then tracking them defeats the purpose of being proactive with spending.

Ugh.  Why so hard?!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2015, 02:14:05 PM »
For cash, I have a separate on-budget account called "My wallet". My wife never uses cash but if she did I'd have another account for her wallet. I periodically have to reconcile it and guess where the extra cash (or shortfall) came from. I try to avoid cash transactions but tracking it as a separate account is the best (possibly only) way to track in YNAB.

Some couples both track, but I think it works best if one person is in charge of all receipt entry. Otherwise there's often a communication gap where both people thought the other one took care of it.

A set place to put receipts until entry is a good idea. I do that.

KMMK

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2015, 02:36:48 PM »
OMG!  This has turned out to be harder than I thought!!

I know scrubbyfish has addressed this in the past, but maybe others have ideas as well . . . how do you handle cash, particularly in YNAB?  I had a fair amount of cash transactions yesterday and nowhere to really "put" those, nor cash income.  Most of the cash is just a wash (sell something on garage sale group, buy something from garage sale group) but I'd like to see it objectively.

I don't know if DH would track in the YNAB app.  He doesn't seem very interested.  I wonder if he'd do the little spindle where he could plop his receipts.  I feel like waiting for the expenditures to come through online and then tracking them defeats the purpose of being proactive with spending.

Ugh.  Why so hard?!

For cash, when I'm out doing things I try to write it in my phone ASAP just so I remember what I bought. Later I'll enter it into YNAB (I started using it so I can recommend it to clients, but personally I prefer my Excel) under the cash account. If I was still trying to track DH's spending I'd continue to just enter cash when withdrawn from the bank as a miscellaneous expense. There was never any way I was going to track his cash spending to the penny, and trying to balance it would be too annoying. I did try to record when he received cash, as income or a negative expense. But he'd usually tell me when he sold something as he'd be happy about it so it was easy to get that number from him.

cripes7

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2015, 06:49:08 PM »
I'm going to jump in, I did a fresh start with YNAB a few weeks ago and my husband is finally getting the hang of it again. I hate entering anything in as an expense, so it keeps me from spending money. 

bsmith

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2015, 07:03:05 PM »
I'm in. I just started YNAB. Today we spent $3.98 on a rosemary plant at Home Depot and $78.22 on groceries. We budgeted $350/month for groceries, so we're on track there if we keep it around 80/week. It was helped by $8 in coupon savings for things we'd have bought anyway.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2015, 08:50:26 PM »
Ugh I've been struggling to keep up. Partly because I'm currently inhabiting a grey space - the BF and I are in the process of buying a house together, so we've started combining finances, but aren't fully combined yet. I know what the system will be once we're in the house and fully combined, but not what it should be right now.

I think I'll create an interim system of just tracking on a sheet of paper, with one column for shared expenses and one for my own expenses. And not worry too much that the data will change significantly in less than a month: this system is just for now.

lemanfan

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2015, 10:48:48 PM »
I track daily using an Excel clone, and to inspire I also have a graph showing this months spending so far compared to the average of the trailing six months.  If I keep under it, next months average will be even lower, meaning I have an automatic "escalation" of my frugality goals.  :)

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2015, 11:26:04 PM »
Good timing. I'm joining the challenge! I just setup my mint account yet again last week and have been pretty good about making sure my credit card transactions reflect the correct categories. My biggest challenges so far are 1. Cash transactions. Most, if not all of my cash spending happens at the farmer's market so it's easy to categorize; hubby gets some odd cash selling stuff on craigslist and use those for (mostly?) groceries, too. I don't want to nag him about it since he's not into super detailed money tracking so I'm letting that go for now, thinking that at some point we will run out of stuff to sell after all the decluttering effort. 2. Tax. I'd like to track my paycheck in more detail but haven't got around setting it up yet.

Last Thursday I got so fed up at work and decided that I will stay at my corporate job full time for another 3 years at most (right before our boy starts kindergarten.) Tracking our spending closely is my first step towards that goal!

Dollar Slice

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2015, 12:20:56 PM »
I'm going to jump on this. I've been doing Mint for a couple of years but the last few weeks everything went to hell thanks to a group vacation and a group staycation where a couple of people visited me and I showed them around NYC for a few days. Tons of cash transactions, splitting checks, buying rounds, etc. I knew I would go over-budget and have to cut back on savings this month, but I didn't count on losing my habit of entering all my cash transactions into Mint. I just realized I don't think I've entered anything since Friday. So, I'm going to try to guestimate everything from memory since then, and maybe this thread will help me remember going forward!

kaposzta

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2015, 03:27:52 AM »
I'm in! I've been tracking my spending since 1st July, and the results are shocking: I spend less than I thought :)

bsmith

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2015, 05:26:42 AM »
Fueled up day before yesterday and didn't get a receipt. Still waiting for it to hit my account so I can see how much the change was. Dammit.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2015, 05:33:20 AM »
Fueled up day before yesterday and didn't get a receipt. Still waiting for it to hit my account so I can see how much the change was. Dammit.

In future, use one of these options:

1. Walk in and request receipt.

2. Jot a quick email or text to yourself with the amount.

I usually walk in and ask for a receipt, as it's faster for me than getting the phone out, turning on data, opening email, etc but YMMV.

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2015, 12:49:05 PM »
I'm in! I've been tracking my spending since 1st July, and the results are shocking: I spend less than I thought :)

Yay! Feeling the same way here. I'm pleasantly surprised that after paying the mortgage we still spend less than half of our take-home so far.

Cookie78

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2015, 12:58:57 PM »
I've been tracking every dollar since January 1st of this year. It has helped cut down on wasteful spending tremendously. It also made me realize I can live my current lifestyle on $18,000/yr easily!

Me too! I did December last year also. It's been enlightening to see where I'm spending and motivating to do better to say the least. I've also been tracking all incoming money including what I've been selling on kijiji.

 

HappierAtHome

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2015, 07:43:16 PM »
Just went back through all my data for June and July and updated my tracking. Yay! Much easier to stay on top of now that I've caught up.

bsmith

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2015, 08:21:15 PM »
Quote
Quote from: bsmith on July 22, 2015, 05:26:42 AM

    Fueled up day before yesterday and didn't get a receipt. Still waiting for it to hit my account so I can see how much the change was. Dammit.


In future, use one of these options:

1. Walk in and request receipt.

2. Jot a quick email or text to yourself with the amount.

I usually walk in and ask for a receipt, as it's faster for me than getting the phone out, turning on data, opening email, etc but YMMV.

Yeah I should do this now that I'm using the credit card for everything.

thegradwife

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2015, 07:58:12 AM »
We started YNAB at the beginning of the month and reassessed our budget. We pulled down our budget after bills from $1200 to $900 and started checking daily. So far we're doing really well. We have a little over a $100 for the rest of the month.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #25 on: July 29, 2015, 09:49:36 PM »
Haven't been perfect at tracking every single day, but this thread has helped motivate me to keep my tracking mostly up-to-date. Which is a vast improvement :-)

fidgiegirl

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2015, 09:57:22 PM »
OMG you guys!  I've been terrible!!  Maybe I need to throw in the towel on YNAB and go with something simpler?  Going on vacation didn't help.  Out of the routine and did not bring computer.  Argh!

jlance999

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2015, 11:54:24 PM »
I am in! Starting tomorrow, I think this will really help impose the guilt when I impulse buy or eat out. Oh excel, we meet again <3

Bardo

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #28 on: August 01, 2015, 01:47:48 PM »
I do daily tracking through my bank account. I bank with Simple in the US and they allow you to set up budgets (they call them "goals"). As soon as I make a purchase, it shows up on my phone and I'm able to categorize it out of one of my goals. At a glance I can see what I have left or if I can afford to spend anymore. There's also the ability to add notes to every purchase, in which you can #categorize them to quickly pull graphed reports.

That makes it easy to me to daily track. I think if it was a manual task against a spreadsheet, I'd fail pretty miserably.

I've been doing this manually on excel for 14 years... at this point it's ocd, can't bear it if i don't update my accounts. :S


I hear ya.  My spreadsheet records everything back to January 2002.



lemanfan

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2015, 02:13:19 AM »
The problem for me with july was a US vacation. I.e. purchases in three different currencies and also al that american tipping which makes the reciepts tell less than the whole truth. :)

bsmith

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #30 on: August 02, 2015, 04:49:33 PM »
Quote
OMG you guys!  I've been terrible!!  Maybe I need to throw in the towel on YNAB and go with something simpler?  Going on vacation didn't help.  Out of the routine and did not bring computer.  Argh!

Hey stick with it. You can get the hang of it, and then it'll seem easy. I've been using YNAB for three months, and it's second nature now. Maybe you need a fresh start with it. A friend of mine did that, and it's working out well.

1967mama

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #31 on: August 03, 2015, 12:18:57 PM »
Fidgie Girl, I couldn't get the hang of YNAB either -- Dave Ramsey's free one called every dollar,com is totally working for me!

catccc

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #32 on: August 03, 2015, 12:50:28 PM »
I am a YNAB user and I am pretty good about entering transactions on the go.  But towards the end of the month when the buckets are getting light, it gets to be a problem.  Because DH doesn't enter transactions, so his only go in when I reconcile accounts.  So I've been trying to do this more often.  I have gotten DH to enter cash transactions near regularly, since there is no electronic trail for those.

I have been using YNAB since Nov13, and the feature that helps me the most is on the go entering of transactions.  Yay for smartphones.

I use the color coding to mark items that I don't remember the exact amount for, and correct when I reconcile.  Happens frequently for gas purchases.  I would prefer to do this than print a receipt.  I would do the same thing for something like foreign travel with exchange issues- approximate for now, deal with the details later.

Mrs. Pomodoro

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #33 on: August 03, 2015, 02:16:49 PM »
OMG you guys!  I've been terrible!!  Maybe I need to throw in the towel on YNAB and go with something simpler?  Going on vacation didn't help.  Out of the routine and did not bring computer.  Argh!

Hang in there, fidgiegirl! I've never used YNAB but would it help if you focus on one area/feature and get comfortable with it before moving on to the next? I've struggled with Mint for a long time and I finally realized what I really want first and foremost is just an easy way to capture all our spending. I deleted all the automatically created "reminders" and suggestions as much as I can, consolidated all our spending into mostly 1 credit card, made sure the imported transactions reflect appropriate categories about once a day, and try to remember entering cash transactions as much as I can without stressing about it. July wasn't perfect but it's much better than in the past when I got frustrated with forgetting entering stuff and gave up.

My "homework" this month is to be mindful about entering cash transactions. Thank you for starting this challenge to motivate us. It really helps!

Gretamom

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #34 on: August 03, 2015, 07:40:08 PM »
I'm in! I've been doing a budget for 13 years. I'm pretty good at it, but I estimate some things including some of our daily spending. I want to make sure my estimates are completely accurate, also I think if I do this I'll actually spend less since I'm recording it so completely & accurately. We will see.... I started August 1st.

 

1967mama

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Re: Challenge: DAILY Money Tracking
« Reply #35 on: August 03, 2015, 10:43:16 PM »
I got all caught up today. Missed the first few days due to recovering from surgery on July 31st. Let's do this!!