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Old 04-30-2009, 08:50 PM   #21
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We started tracking expenses early on in using Quicken because it was so easy to assign categories to transactions (and Quicken already had a bunch of sensible ones set up I think) - so why not do it? That was in 1993. By retirement in 1999 we had a huge amount of data to show our spending patterns.

We've really been tracking it since retiring - just to know. I do a thorough review each January. We have "sort of" a budget - a general outline of what is typical for us and that is well within our means. The tracking is really to show how we might have deviated from our budget (i.e. established patterns) and how our spending is evolving over time.

But the great thing is that we don't make any assumptions about how we spend. We can get whatever data we need in very short order.

Audrey
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:58 PM   #22
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According to Quicken, we are right on track with our budget YTD.
In the first quarter we were $700 under budget. I wonder what we'll do with all that money.....
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:04 PM   #23
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Just updated through April. Spending a lot less than last year. Big savings in groceries. I need to figure out what to blow some cash on.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:15 PM   #24
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For many years now, my wife has been reconciling the checking account, taking care of the monthly bills, and paying off the credit cards at the end of the month. Ever since we were married, well actually perhaps 3-4 years into it, we always had a big balance in the checking account. We are such LBYM'ers.

Every so often, when the checking balance got into a nice high sum, I would transfer some out to our brokerage accounts to go shopping for stocks. Of course that was when we were still both working. In fact, even when only one of us was working, we could still cover the expenses and then some.

Last year, for the first time, when I ran out of work, the transfer of money was going the other way. It was such an unusual feeling that I guess I need to get accustomed to. So, I looked into my wife spreadsheets to see where the money went. She got the expenses tabulated going back several years. Surely, there were travel and toy expenses that were totally discretionary. The rest is tough to cut, as it would mean a reduction in our lifestyle, which is reasonably frugal already.

Our base expense shows us that we would be OK at the current reduced portfolio size, if my part-time income should go to zero. However, I have not conditioned myself to drawing from my savings to live on. It just feels wrong! I am so conditioned to having an income to at least cover my expenses. If I cannot get over this, I will not be able to retire.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:30 PM   #25
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Just updated through April. Spending a lot less than last year. Big savings in groceries. I need to figure out what to blow some cash on.
Maybe some nice arugula?
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:32 PM   #26
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Maybe some nice arugula?
You seen the price of arugula lately?
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:39 PM   #27
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But NML, you were talking about blowing cash.

As for me, what arugula? I need to go out to my backyard now to check on my dandelions and purslane.
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:46 PM   #28
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But NML, you were talking about blowing cash.

As for me, what arugula? I need to go out to my backyard now to check on my dandelions and purslane.
Ill buy some nice Tequila heck with leafy greens!
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:15 PM   #29
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I've been using Quicken since 1992 and have entered all of our expenses and income (including cash) since then. This has made it extremely easy to figure out our ER budget (ER'd since Dec 2002) as well as detecting right away if we are going of course in any particular area. It really doesn't take all that much time to input all the expenditure data after one gets into the routine of doing it.

Quicken even has a feature to automatically download all credit card and bank transactions although full disclosure, I haven't used it because I wan to look at each transaction as I enter it and reconcile it manually as well. Too much automation feels like "out of sight out of mind" to me.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:30 PM   #30
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Does anyone remember John Galt? He did his records "on the back of an envelope".

And to the best of our knowledge, his retirement went aground.

Ha
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:36 PM   #31
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In the first quarter we were $700 under budget. I wonder what we'll do with all that money.....
Actually we were about $1,500 under budget as of last Sunday so we splurged on 2 airline tickets to Europe this summer. That put us right back on track...

As for fresh arugula, I have a nice batch ready for picking on my back porch... Delicious!
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:11 PM   #32
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As for fresh arugula, I have a nice batch ready for picking on my back porch... Delicious!
What? I could have grown that instead of purslane.
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Old 05-01-2009, 12:10 AM   #33
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I've never put together a budget in my life. But do track expenses. A major change identified early on in ER expense-tracking, was to almost eliminate actual cash use. Cash expenses had poor accountability, a big hole. Now, actual cash expenses are down to a a pin-hole.
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