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Old 01-01-2008, 04:53 PM   #41
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To me, this is an important step to retirement. We have to know how much it takes to pay the bills, where the money goes and what we could cut if there is a need.

Agreed. I actually started tracking only last year (meaning 2007), just for this reason.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:55 PM   #42
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Microsoft Money. Dump receipts and notes on desk. Post them at least twice a week, very accurate once you set the program up correctly and can keep multiple years in the same file. Been using MS Money since beta back about 12 years ago.
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:58 PM   #43
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Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I am just wondering how you guys do the record-keeping to keep track of all these categories? Do you use a digital tool like wesabe/yodlee/quicken or are you just unbelievably disciplined at keeping up spreadsheets?

I really liked my AmEx as they produced a nice end of the year categorized spending list for me, but now that I switched to the EmigrantDirect cashback card, I don't think they have that feature.

I try to do all my spending on credit, but some large expenditures can't be done that way (like my rent and electricity). Plus in NYC, many restaurants are cash-only, as crazy as that is.

I'd love to track all expenses as well, but i just know I am not disciplined enough if it requires paperwork...
Quicken. Wife and I save every receipt she also has a palm pilot for anything else. Every few months we sit down and input it in. We just keep track of expenses. So anything that is paid out or lost money is kept track. So about every 2 to 3 months we take a half hour and do it. Then back it up on multiple cd's. It sure is giving us a great idea of future retirement expenses.
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:08 PM   #44
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I use Microsoft Money too, and post spending from my receipts a couple of times a week.

For 2007, basic spending was 35,051 plus 8400 in travel, legal fees and puppy purchasing expenses.

I'm aiming for 36,000 for 2008.
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:12 PM   #45
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Best guess is about $75K...

But that includes about $31K in income and property taxes (excludes SS taxes though).... man I am taxed like crazy...
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:17 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Olav23 View Post
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I am just wondering how you guys do the record-keeping to keep track of all these categories? Do you use a digital tool like wesabe/yodlee/quicken or are you just unbelievably disciplined at keeping up spreadsheets?
We just download our two checking accounts and adjust for transfers from our investment accounts. So it is exact cash accounting. We used a spreadsheet for 3 years to understand where it was all going but have now stopped because it was not changing anything.

(All the receipts still go into a shoebox but that is just in case!)
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:34 PM   #47
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All this record keeping sounds too much like w*ork. As long as my WAG is at about a 2.5% WR I can't be bothered.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:19 PM   #48
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I found that Money, and I would suppose Quicken is the same, allows me to download my bank statements. As all my spending passes through two banks, it is fairly easy to assign things to categories.

Now, are the people reporting sans taxes just waiting to pay 2007 taxes or don't count 2006 taxes paid in 2007? I guess I use a cash system and record items when I pay them. That means that my 2007 taxes will go in the 2008 spending and the payment on the credit cards and any other charges that arrive in January. i.e. The December 2007 power bill is paid in January 2008. For me it all balances out in the end.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:21 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Olav23 View Post
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I am just wondering how you guys do the record-keeping to keep track of all these categories? Do you use a digital tool like wesabe/yodlee/quicken or are you just unbelievably disciplined at keeping up spreadsheets?

I really liked my AmEx as they produced a nice end of the year categorized spending list for me, but now that I switched to the EmigrantDirect cashback card, I don't think they have that feature.

I try to do all my spending on credit, but some large expenditures can't be done that way (like my rent and electricity). Plus in NYC, many restaurants are cash-only, as crazy as that is.

I'd love to track all expenses as well, but i just know I am not disciplined enough if it requires paperwork...
I have a spreadsheet budget that lists my basic expenses for each month. What's left over from my 4% SWR and pension is put in cash and charge card buckets for each month. What is not spent in one month is moved forward. As I spend money I update the spreadsheet.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:04 PM   #50
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I use excel. I set the categories to what seemed to make sense for our family's spending, subdividing categories into specifics, for example, under transportation I have a line for gas, repairs, insurance, and registration. We take all receipts and pile them next to the computer. I sit down 1-2 times per week and enter what is there. For bills, I pull out the ole check book and enter those expenses as well. Takes only a few minutes each week. The hardest part was setting up the initial worksheets. There have been some modifications, but it seems to work well. I have a much better sense of where the $$ is going and can assess whether the reasons behind exceptionally high or low spending months makes sense.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:26 PM   #51
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$63,286.01 including everything, according to Quicken. I hope to see that drop by a couple of $K in 2008, but I am usually a little too optimistic in that regard.

Top several categories include:

$30.7K - Kids (child support, child care, education expenses, etc.)
$11.9K - Taxes (SS, fed, state, medicare, property)
$9.6K - Interest (mortage, student loan)
$2.6K - Food (groceries + eating out)
$1.9K - Utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewer, trash, cell)

All other categories are less than $1.2K each.

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Old 01-01-2008, 07:32 PM   #52
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$63,286.01 including everything, according to Quicken. I hope to see that drop by a couple of $K in 2008, but I am usually a little too optimistic in that regard.

Top several categories include:

$30.7K - Kids (child support, child care, education expenses, etc.)
$11.9K - Taxes (SS, fed, state, medicare, property)
$9.6K - Interest (mortage, student loan)
$2.6K - Food (groceries + eating out)
$1.9K - Utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewer, trash, cell)

All other categories are less than $1.2K each.

2Cor521
Wow how did you only spend 2.6k in food?
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:04 PM   #53
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Gross pension $29,600

$5293 grocery stores
$1160 ACE hardware (mostly bird food)

$1000 natural gas
$276 ..electricity
$407 ..water/sewer/trash

$927 ..cable
$368 ..cell
$736 ..landline/DSL
$1715 PC/electronics/software

$4468 house/yard upkeep

$100 ..gasoline

$915 ..insurance(car/house/LTC)
$897 ..insurance (medical)
$196 ..medical

$217 .veterinarian

$2652 income taxes (this could go down, need to adjust withholding)
$827 ..property tax

$2000 charity
$300 ..miscellaneous

~$24000

Not included in above:
Bought a car with cash(check): money came from MMA from money saved for such occurrences
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:16 PM   #54
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Just did my end of 2007 in Quicken today. Major categories exclusive of income taxes are:

Vehicle expense 11,425.45
Condo fees/taxes/utilities/improvements 9,229.09
Misc 22,340.02
Travel/ entertainment 18,349.01
Medical 1,110.75
Home fees/taxes/utilities/improvements 24,866.25
Clothing 4,278.61
Groceries 7,384.58
Total expenses 98,983.76
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:21 PM   #55
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Ron - you've got the same problem with 'Misc' as I have with 'Cash'. Lts of stuff buried in there...
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:27 PM   #56
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Ron - you've got the same problem with 'Misc' as I have with 'Cash'. Lts of stuff buried in there...
Yes, "misc" or "cash" can really add up. Mine didn't look that bad until I summed it up for the whole year.
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:53 PM   #57
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I use MS Money and have since 1993. I have WAY TOO many categories so my expense reports cover pages and pages. This year I started to reduce so my past years accounts are different from this years but I can still see the year to year differences.

Speaking of which....our expenses and income swings pretty wide most years so I work off of a "projected" budget for basics that has a lot of padding in it to keep our projected expenses higher than a normal year (whatever that is!).

2007... I am still working it out but the following all happened to make it a screwy year:

Sold cabin...moved gain to various places.

Sold RV

And bought a new one.
Paid sales tax on it.

Replaced all kitchen appliances.

Remodeled two rooms...repainted 1/4 of the house...replace 5 windows...replace front stucco....etc.

Bought a car for DW

Sold my truck

Sold some stuff on Craigs list

Put money in the grandkids 529 accounts

Paid youngest son's tuition and partial living expenses

Gave some $$ to family member in need.

etc., etc.,

Oh.....and retired in May. DW stopped working in Jan.


How much did we spend in 2007......a whole lot!

2008 will be a lot less....really! I mean it this time...
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:23 PM   #58
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About $110k (excluding income taxes) per Quicken for 2 people (retired). We had a lot (about $30-35k) of one time items getting new things for the home that won't be repeated. Still more than we expected or planned on. I would guess we should plan on $75-80k (net of income taxes) going forward since we don't want to cut back any.
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:56 PM   #59
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2007... I am still working it out but the following all happened to make it a screwy year:
2008 will be a lot less....really! I mean it this time...
You're a poster child for the reasons that make it so difficult to calculate a personal rate of inflation!

Even when we're not raising families, something happens every year to make that year's data unprecedented, possibly unique, and unable to be used to supply even the second point on a trend line.

It's a frustrating issue and nearly impossible to address. I've had a significant minority of veterans, Reserves/NG, & active-duty military* tell me that they can't/won't retire because inflation rises much faster than their military pension COLA. They're absolutely positive that, no matter who else is enjoying retirement or for how long, that in 10 years they'll be bankrupted by the 6-10% rate of "hidden" inflation. The govt data is laughed off even by the economists, let alone by the conspiracy theorists.

Attempts to appeal to logic & experience are met with reciprocated diatribes along the lines of "You poor deluded fool, hopefully you can get that Wal-Mart greeter's job before it's too late..."

*Present company excepted, of course, but it's been pretty ugly on various military discussion boards.
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Old 01-01-2008, 11:47 PM   #60
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Several posters use an Excel spreadsheet to track expenses. Sounds like a great idea, but they noted that it took some effort to set it up. I'd like to try tracking my expenses with Excel. Would some mind sharing a sanitized copy of their spreadsheet with us?
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