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  1. #1
    Senior Canuck
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    Hi all,

    I'm usually a very organized person, but I've been finding more and more that I'm drowning myself in receipts and not doing a great job of keeping track of what I've spent. Does anybody have any tips for an easy, time-efficient way of tracking your monthly spendings? I'm looking for a system that will allow me to track how much I've spent in various categories (food, gas, entertainment, etc.) and will help me add up how much I've saved as well (through coupons, sales, etc.)

    Right now I use an excel spreadsheet but I find I spent so much time punching things to get the final totals.

    Any help is much appreciated - TIA!!!!!
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  2. #2
    CaLoonie
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    The quick and easiest way that I have found to work for me and anyone that I speak to, is to write everything down with old fashion pen and paper (or pencil). Below is an example of a possible monthly expenses. If you notice, cable tv is not a necessity to live, it is simply something that is nice to have. What I want you to do is fill in as much as you can from the previous month, if you have receipts or if you use debit, you can easily track what you spend. If you don't have any info, just use your best guess.

    The first two parts what you earn and what you need to survive will clearly show you what is left over every month. You will be shocked at what is left over, most of us live pay cheque to pay cheque and this will clearly show you where the rest is going. The first time I did this with my wife, we had an extra $1200 a month that was disappearing each month. We found what we were spending on, and cut those out. Now we have a monthly savings plan, and know exactly where the money is going. Good luck


    Here is how I break it down
    Total earnings after taxes monthly = (you and your spouse)

    What I need to survive monthly budget (minus this from earnings)
    Gas for car =
    Car Insurance =
    Home insurance =
    life insurance =
    Groceries =
    Cell phones =
    Home phone =
    Hair cuts =
    Clothing Adult =
    Clothing Children =
    Bank Fees =
    Personal Loans =
    Car loans =
    Mortgage payment or rent =
    Water =
    Hydro =
    Gas =
    Credit Cards =

    What I don't need to survive monthly expenses

    Cable TV =
    High speed Internet =
    Eating out =
    Coffee (starbucks, Tim Hortons) =
    Movie Rentals =
    Gifts =
    List any other monthly expenses =

    Once you have figured out what is going out and what is coming in, you can budget for the things you want in life, if you want cable tv, then budget that by eliminating something else that is wasting your money.

  3. #3
    KanewtZ kanewtz's Avatar
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    Mint.com, Quicken, etc. All excellent planning tools.

    I use mint.com just to see where my money is going, not really as a budget. I learnt that budget never stick (at least for me anyways).
    Matt

  4. #4
    CaLoonie ColdCoupons's Avatar
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    I personally don't spend that much in any one day, so it is relatively easy for me to enter the info in at the end of the day. I actually used the info from Gail Vaz Oxlade's website to help with the tracking and setting up of a budget. You can find it here http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html


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  5. #5
    Senior Canuck
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    Thanks for the tips and links everyone!! I think I will try to divide everything into categories, and every week sit down with my receipts and figure out how much I spent in each category. Gsxrboy, I like the categories you gave me. I find I'm not good at sticking with a budget either, so I'm looking to decrease my overall level of spending... will look at all the resources more closely as I play around with this. Thanks again everyone, reps for all the help!!!
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  6. #6
    CaNewbie
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    I too use Gail's budget and found the first few months were hard to get into the routine of tracking things in excel but now it's a habit and I do it every few days or once a week, just depends what I buy or how much. It's good to stay on top of it though so it doesn't get out of hand, then it's more of a job Good luck!

  7. #7
    OH,clip it out!
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    Quicken Cash Manager everytime you use your debt card it downloads into files gas grocery what ever you set up I love it!

  8. #8
    Contradiction in progress sweet sparrow's Avatar
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    Keeping track of what you spend in cash, with a small pencil and notebook in your purse/car is really helpful for those purchases your credit/debit card isn't used for.

  9. #9
    Crazy Coupon Lady corbinx's Avatar
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    I use a weekly planning calendar book with lots of space each day to write down expenses. I used to use Far Side one until they stopped selling it and now have a Cat one (even though I dislike cats) because it has lots of room to write in. When I come home from shopping I write down, to the nearest dollar, what I spent and my husband knows to give me all his receipts or tell me about any cash he spent. At the end of the month I add up all the categories, along with our earnings, and see what we have spent in total and whether we have leftover money or have overspent. You can quickly see which categories you are spending a lot in and try to cut back on them. I find an actual budget doesn't work for me since our needs/wants change month to month but knowing I have to write down what I spend makes me think before buying. I punch the totals into Excel once they are added up so it can track my yearly totals. I find that putting everything on debit or Visa or best rather than spending cash so things don't get missed and all gets accounted for...but you have to pay off your credit card each month and make sure you don't have banking fees or you'll actually waste a lot of money on interest and fees. Here are our categories:

    House-bills (mortgage, taxes, phone, internet, power, etc)
    House-consumables (laundry soap, toilet paper, batteries, etc)
    House- improvements/maintenance (building supplies, tools, furniture)
    Food- in (all edible groceries)
    Food-out (any fast food or restaurants, coffee, etc)
    Personal/health (medications, toothpaste, haircuts, etc)
    Clothes/accessories (adult clothing, shoes, jewelery, etc)
    Gifts (any gifts including gift wrap, cards, donations)
    Kids (all kid related stuff including clothes, toys, diapers/wipes, baby food, lessons)
    Pets (food, shots, grooming)
    Entertainment (movies, alcohol, entrance fees)
    RRSP
    RESP
    Vehicles (payments, gas, insurance, repairs, maintenance)
    Other toys/hobbies (computers, bikes, etc)
    -Try to avoid a “Misc” category that you can sneak things into…if necessary make a new category that applies to your lifestyle. Good luck!
    Last edited by corbinx; Wed, Sep 21st, 2011 at 11:57 AM.

  10. #10
    CaNewbie
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    Perhaps you are not using a good spreadsheet that auotmaticly posts all categories of your buget and aggregates them together.

    http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplat...-template.html

    Here is a link to a free Pre-made speadsheet that can be altered to suit your situation.

  11. #11
    Junior Canuck
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    I use mint.com they have an android app too. You put in your online banking info and it looks at all your purchases and categorizes them for you (have to help a bit) , you can set a. Budget for each category and it will send you emails when you are close to or over your limits, a weekly report and they have lots of useful charts and other Info.
    There was a swagbucks bonus points offfer for signing up too.

  12. #12
    CaNewbie
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    If you are a new budget, you may want to know where to start. It's easy, you should start to see your typical monthly expenses, and create a master list of each expense. Budget can be overwhelming, but if take simple steps to start your list of costs, you are more likely to have a more comprehensive, more accurate budget model. Here is a popular category, you must include any family budget, the biggest cost start.

  13. #13
    Junior Canuck
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    Dave Ramsey!

    Check out www.mytmmo.com

  14. #14
    Canadian Genius
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    I love the budget sheets on Gail Vaz Oxlade's website. I also find it very difficult to stick to a budget.
    If you are interested in Houseseats here is my referal link:
    http://www.houseseats.ca/[email protected]

  15. #15
    CaToonie
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    I take my net monthly income and subtract what I consider my fixed expenses (bills that are usually the same each month): Mortgage, car insurance, hydro, cable, cell phones, netflix, water, property tax. I usually mark all my pay days on a calendar and which bills are paid on which pay days. I also put some money in savings every pay day.

    Then I put everything else on the credit card. I check my balance online to make sure I don't go over the amount I've set aside each month. At the end of the month I get a printout of how much I've spent and where. I also make sure to pay the full balance the pay day before the credit card bill is due.

    I find this is easiest to do because after fixed expenses you know how much money each month you have to work with and what you want to do with it

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