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Old 02-25-2012, 08:05 PM   #21
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I don't have a budget, never did before FIRE either. If I need to buy something I just do. 99% of purchases are by credit card, I write a few checks maybe 4 a month. I seldom use cash other than where I can't use a credit card or check like buying corn at the farm stands for example. In early January I sit down with my check register and group everything into categories because I document the credit card purchases in the check register so everything is there. It works for me. My WR is typically zero and I'm saving a good chunk of my pension each month. I'll need a roof in 4 years or so and it's going to be a big expense!

Maybe a budget isn't required since I am and always was very disciplined when it came to spending money. I have no qualms buying something if I need it regardless of cost but I really don't need anything at this point so purchases aren't a big deal. Also being single helps, when I was married it was tough with a spouse that had less than zero control with money, it's why I'm divorced.

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Old 02-25-2012, 09:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by W2R

Thanks for the idea! I just reduced my categories on "Spend" to only four. You're right, Ronstar - - that does make it easier. Since I categorize anyway when manually copying to my Excel file, the only reason I have for categories is to be able to find a given expense more quickly at the end of the day (if I have several cash expenses that day).

Like nun, I need a lot of categories to see where my money is going to but I take care of that in Excel. If I pay my lawn guy and enter that into Spend, I will now categorize it as "other" and under comments enter "lawn". Then when I transfer it to Excel, it will be under category House, sub-category Maintenance, sub-sub-Category Lawn Mowing.

I really like the fact that the free version of Spend does not download from your bank, Vanguard, or cards because I didn't want to give out any of that information. I just wanted an easy, enjoyable format in which to record daily cash spending and the free version of Spend provides exactly that (and not much else) to me.
I really only need it for daily cash spending also. Checking and credit card stuff is easier to handle by downloading from the banks, so I won't do these in spend. So when I go "live" with my new budgeting system on March 1st, I'll only have one category in spend - cash. Then I'll do data transfers from spend, credit card, and checking to excel. I think I'll get more out of an excel system than my old Quicken setup.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" - Abraham Lincoln
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:12 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
As long as DW & I have been married, every single expense has gone into our check register, mostly credit card charges (we rarely use actual cash for anything). We did it so we'd always know our real balance, and not be surpised with a credit card monthly statement. At the end of the month, we wrote a check, but all the expenses had already been deducted from the register.
WOW!! That's EXACTLY what we did as insurance that we wouldn't overspend and end up having to pull money from savings to pay off the CC bill.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:33 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Danmar View Post
interesting thread. We have been using the same methodology for about 20 years(imputting credit card charges into a spreadsheet by hand, categorizing all cash transactions as "cash", and putting any cheques or internet charges in by hand). Feel like a dinosaur, but it works.
That's basically what we do too. DW wrote the spreadsheet - she's much better at that stuff and more organized than I am - so we have that to keep track of all outstanding cc charges so there are no surprises when the bills arrive. The spreadsheet deducts the outstanding charges from the discretionary spending amount.

Credit cards are used primarily for any online shopping and largish items that we don't pay cash for. Groceries I write a check for, incidentals we use cash. Every once in a while we'll track every penny of spending for a month or so just to see if we've developed any bad habits but don't track cash spending closely. But there is a set amount for cash spending and when that's gone cash spending stops.

Archaic perhaps, but it works for us.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
It's been a while, but I've bought and tried to use Quicken twice in my adult life. It was never worth the effort, though my last try was before importing transactions became more readily available (there's still some percentage we'd have to enter manually, automatic payments, a few checks, ATM, etc.). May be time to try again...thanks. Our accountant (DW) would appreciate it!
If I did not have multiple years worth of data in Quicken, including business data, I would have not used it today. A lot of hassle and bugs.
I recommend to all my family and friends looking for budgeting software.
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Old 02-28-2012, 04:46 PM   #26
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I'm much like veremchuka in this respect, though perhaps even more so. I don't track my spending with software or a written ledger at all, as I have a rough idea what I'm spending in each category and don't feel that I need further analysis. The fact that I live in rented accommodation, own only a bicycle for transportation and hardly spend money on anything other than rent, food and the very occasional meal out and item of clothing, makes my spending easy to keep a handle on.

Every now and again I look through my credit card statement and total up what I'm spending just to make sure that nothing is getting too far out of whack, but as I pay myself monthly from my savings account into my checking account, I'd know pretty quickly from my checking balance if I was spending too much on something.

However, once I start full-timing in that RV I keep dreaming of, I'll be tracking my expenses a little more closely - at least for the first year or two of doing it.

ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
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