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Old 02-01-2016, 11:25 AM   #41
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I will have to check that out. At the detail level I am trying not to be fussy about the categories assigned by any import. Hoping I can just consolidate similar categories when I roll up the data. I can always go back to change manually if I want.
What I do is I'll have January Trip, March Trip, etc. and then add those categories up for something like Total Annual Travel Expenses.

I can have a second sheet where these category totals are mirrored from the first sheet and then totaled together for specific categories.
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Old 02-01-2016, 12:30 PM   #42
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Thanks for the categories. I am leaning toward something like your old categories. A friend who is an accountant advised me to understand what were our absolute essential expenses vs. combination of essential and non-essential. So for example it might be helpful to know exactly what I need for the house, that does not include any improvements. What is our basic food budget vs one that includes a lot of entertainment related expenses (Parties or Restaurants etc). Those expenses could be dialed back if necessary.
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Old 02-01-2016, 12:41 PM   #43
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Yikes! I have a master google Ledger, and in that I merge in exports from 1. Banks 2. Credit Cards 3 .Cash transactions.


I have the following categories:
Food, Mortgage, TruckPayment, CarPayment, Excel Gas/Elec,Util3mos, Trash Cable, CarInsurance, Gas for Vehicles, Haircuts, Netflix, AmazonPrime, CostCoMbrship, Cellphone, Easynews, VehicleMaintenance, Costco, Clothes/DryClean, Kid, Diapers, DayCare, Dental, MedicalCosts,, MedicalChildBirth, Gifts, Travel, CASH


I then add a column that tells me the Source of Record ie Chase CC, CreditUnionSavings...then I scan through the entire ledger at the end of the year, make sure all line items have a category and do some analysis.


This same Google sheet holds my investment data as well, all manually built by hand and tells me my real-time networth which is pretty amazing actually.
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AA (Stock/Bond/Cash ): 99/0/1% MIX (Small/Mid/Large): 50/25/25% BLEND(US/Foreign): 100/0%, (Value/Growth/Blend): X/X/X% REIT (Real Estate Equity): 50% of Assets

FIRE in 2031 @ 50yrs old (+/- 2yrs) w/ a hypothetical $2.5mil portfolio, 3 appreciated homes worth $1.0mil and rental income to fund my gap years until RMD. Assets will go to an inherited IRA where I plan on watching the investments grow until I die or the trust gets executed.
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Old 02-01-2016, 12:48 PM   #44
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W2R
Thanks for the categories. I am leaning toward something like your old categories. A friend who is an accountant advised me to understand what were our absolute essential expenses vs. combination of essential and non-essential. So for example it might be helpful to know exactly what I need for the house, that does not include any improvements. What is our basic food budget vs one that includes a lot of entertainment related expenses (Parties or Restaurants etc). Those expenses could be dialed back if necessary.
I include restaurant expenses under Entertainment, which I consider a discretionary category. Last year I made more effort to cook at home, and while Groceries increased, it was more than offset by the decrease in Entertainment.

I also have a Household category, which includes purchases (e.g. Small appliances) and services (e.g. Carpet cleaning). I haven't made any home improvements since ER, but when I do, I will probably add a separate category for them in the Property group.

When I first developed my spreadsheet, I thought that Entertainment would cover everything that's entertaining! But when I took up golf, I knew it would be worthwhile to start a separate category. In fact, I was over budget on it. This year I will continue to play golf, but will be more savvy!
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:46 PM   #45
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RonBoyd: How is it you capture and organize your receipts? Doing it for everything seems daunting.
Actually, it is quite simple. In Moneydance, the entry screen is pretty simple -- see images (of our Capital One Credit Card Account):

Moneydance Screenshot.JPG

This explains the King Soopers Split transaction.
Moneydnce 2.JPG

The storage of the receipts is much less desirable. I really need to joing the modern world and scan them instead of putting them in manila folders each month. We have a four drawer filing cabinet and every five years or so we go through and clean out the no longer need receipts -- items we no longer have, grocery, utilities, etc. That is a pain.

Did that answer your question?

As long as I am on the subject, these are my Categories... along with the 2015 totals in case anyone cares:

Account
Total
Expenses

Automobile
Emission Inspection 25.00
Gasoline 161.02
Maintenance 692.23
Misc. 22.59
Plates 214.31
Repair 1,062.92
Supplies 661.67
Automobile - TOTAL 2,839.74

Bank Charges
HELOC Annual Fee 75.00
Bank Charges - TOTAL 75.00

Business
Non-Reimbursed Expense 54.99
Business - TOTAL 54.99

Charitable Donations
Deductible 9.00
Charitable Donations - TOTAL 9.00

Clothing
Ron 174.27
Clothing - TOTAL 174.27

Computer
Hardware 4,446.89
ISP & DSL 746.08
Software - Non-deductible 762.68
Software - Tax Prep 21.99
Supplies 2,028.98
Wireless Broadband 418.42
Computer - TOTAL 8,425.04

Dining Out 825.62

Entertainment
Gambling 2.00
Entertainment - TOTAL 2.00

Gifts
Personal 57.47
Gifts - TOTAL 57.47

Groceries 5,426.77

Healthcare
Co-Pay 908.92
Deductible 40.00
Eyecare 41.99
Non-Prescription 61.07
Other 31.84
Physician 50.00
Vision 85.50
Healthcare - TOTAL 1,219.32

Home
Garden 45.56
Kitchen 224.23
Maintenance 789.80
Misc 146.11
Postage 65.21
Supplies 326.16
Home - TOTAL 1,597.07

Insurance
Automobile 1,137.68
Brenda - Health 1,258.80
Homeowner's-Renter's 868.00
Ron - Health 1,258.80
Insurance - TOTAL 4,523.28

Interest Expense
Mortgage Interest 6,931.44
Interest Expense - TOTAL 6,931.44

Investing
Deductible Expenses 60.00
Investing - TOTAL 60.00

Investment
Trading Commission 271.05
Investment - TOTAL 271.05

Leisure
Audio/Video 201.43
Birds 34.85
Books & Magazines 51.43
Cultural Events 147.75
Entertaining 9.00
Fish 21.99
Genealogy 44.95
Photography 8,503.86
Television 1,542.72
Leisure - TOTAL 10,557.98

Liquor
Brenda 1,052.45
Ron 1,432.25
Liquor - TOTAL 2,484.70

Membership
Buying Club 199.00
Organizations 75.00
Membership - TOTAL 274.00

Miscellaneous 5.00

Personal
Gifts 72.75
Personal Care 18.75
Personal - TOTAL 91.50

Personal Care
Cosmetics 16.99
Hair Care 27.74
Other 41.58
Personal Care - TOTAL 86.31

Taxes
Colorado Sales Tax 509.91
Federal Income Tax 14,108.00
Local Income Tax 0.49
Local Sales Tax 6.34
Ownership Tax 395.11
Real Estate Taxes 295.68
State Income Tax 632.00
Taxes - TOTAL 15,947.53

Travel
Cultural Events 583.89
Directory/Mapping 42.09
Gasoline 4,199.27
Hotel 1,082.60
Meals 881.17
Membership 54.90
Other 773.80
Parking 30.00
Toll Roads 44.10
Travel - TOTAL 7,691.82

Utilities
Gas & Electric 2,465.42
Telephone 4,617.67
Water-Sewer-Garbage 363.18
Utilities - TOTAL 7,446.27
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:48 PM   #46
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Pretty sure I'm the odd one here. I use a budget book and write everything in by hand every week or so:

http://www.amazon.com/Dome-7-5-Inch-...ds=budget+book

Only started doing it about ten years ago, so I don't have decades of spending records, but it works for us.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:50 PM   #47
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Before I retired, I kept a detailed Excel spreadsheet. I say detailed because for me, I felt it covered just about everything I spent money on. Why Excel, because I used it all the time at work and it was easy to use, customize and flexible enough to do whatever I wanted.

After a few years, I got it down to about 10 or 12 main categories that I tracked. Everything else when into the "miscellaneous" category. That worked for me for years. Then I realized that my expenses/spending each year were amazing consistent. I just needed to adjust for inflation and I "knew" where I was going to be spending money. (Hobby cost excluded) By the time I retired, I quit all of that and now I simply track my net worth from year to year.

I think tracking expense is a great thing to do to get a handle on where your money is going, but at some point it can become a low value exercise, for some of us. YMMV.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:51 PM   #48
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[QUOTE=Tandemlovers;1691436]Pretty sure I'm the odd one here. I use a budget book and write everything in by hand ...QUOTE]

Not so odd, that is the way I did it for 20 years... until the computer was invented.
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Old 02-01-2016, 01:52 PM   #49
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Pretty sure I'm the odd one here. I use a budget book and write everything in by hand every week or so:
...
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:26 PM   #50
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Tandemlovers - Theres an app for that. LOL. I have used iXpenseit and like the app. For the things I can import easily from other sources, it is redundant.

RonBoyd - yes that answers the receipt question. I have tried the scanning practice and failed. I probably could have gotten it to work eventually, but felt like too much work. Dumping all receipts into a basket seems the easiest. For disorganized me, they may get lost before they get there. The app I mentioned above has the ability to save "pictures" of your receipts as you enter entries.
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:27 PM   #51
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kgtest - yes, having a column that shows the source is essential. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 02-01-2016, 02:32 PM   #52
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RonBoyd - yes that answers the receipt question. I have tried the scanning practice and failed. I probably could have gotten it to work eventually, but felt like too much work. Dumping all receipts into a basket seems the easiest. For disorganized me, they may get lost before they get there. The app I mentioned above has the ability to save "pictures" of your receipts as you enter entries.
Yes, Moneydance can add the receipt to the Entry, too... however, that still requires taking the time to scan the receipt.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:00 PM   #53
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I start with my bank account. Deposits are income and payments are the items of the budget. I just want to get an idea but not specific about what I pay out. I want it to be simple, not too complicated.


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Old 02-01-2016, 03:05 PM   #54
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I use Excel. I have major categories such as Utilities, Insurance, Taxes, etc. Then within each Category I have things like Electricity, Internet, Mobile Phone (under Utilities). For the last 2 years we kept receipts and I entered them once per week. Starting this year, we keep receipts only for things we might return - otherwise, we pay for just about everything either by bank draft or via a credit card. That means all transactions are available electronically to be downloaded to excel where I can then sort and cut-and-paste.


Each month has its own tab. I have a master tab with a month-by-month budget since some bills only happen a few times a year. The budget is based off of previous year's expenses. I have another one where I roll up expenses vs. planned so I can see where we're above or below plan.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:10 PM   #55
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Lots of ways to do it depending on what's important to you. We have about 40 categories grouped into sub totals by property (4), travel, other expenses not location specific. Use excel and have been doing this for about 25 years. Key point is I balance to my month-end cash balance every month so I know I got everything. Using dual currencies makes it fairly complicated.

Doesn't really matter how you do it as long as you do it. The OP probably should have done if for a few years prior to retiring, but better late than never.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:42 PM   #56
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Danmar I have been able to go back through most of 2015 and 2014 with expenses. However I don't have credit card detail. My old card was hacked a few months back and I haven't been able to get the transactions off it. I may have been able to when it happened, but I am just trying to do the exports now.


There is another app I have used that could also be used for receipts. Jot Not. You can take a picture with your phone and then save it or email it. Still.. more trouble than throwing in a basket.
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:29 PM   #57
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Interesting. Those that do keep track of their expenses seem to be doing it in a much more complicated, time-consuming way than I do. What a change from several years ago when a similar thread was active.
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:31 PM   #58
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After not having any credit card for 15 years or so, I got one a couple of years ago.

I have been jotting down my credit card purchases in my spending spreadsheet as I make those purchases. Then I check at the credit card website every week or so to make sure I haven't forgotten something.

Just a thought - - if you don't make too many CC purchases, maybe something similar could be helpful? At least that is how I like to do it, YMMV. I only average about 4-5 CC purchases per month.
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Old 02-01-2016, 04:52 PM   #59
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Pretty sure I'm the odd one here. I use a budget book and write everything in by hand every week or so:

Robot Check

Only started doing it about ten years ago, so I don't have decades of spending records, but it works for us.
I used to keep track in a notebook many years ago when I was single and plot it on graph paper every month like in "Your Money or Your Life".

Now DH keeps track using an Excel spreadsheet. He adds things daily as we make purchases, but we do not make many purchases so it only takes a few minutes. Categories are of course quite individual. One of our biggest expenses is food, not because we spend a ton, but because our overall spending is pretty small. We break food into categories like meals out, and groceries are further broken down into produce, snacks (meaning junk food) and a separate category for my diet coke addiction.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:16 PM   #60
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My bank has an online feature that allows one to add expected or planned expenses into the online register that shows what charges have cleared. This works great.
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