• How I Track My Spending

    spending

    I’ve been tracking my spending for over a year now (with some gaps and blips) and while I’m not perfect (occassionally I will look at my bank balance and wonder where it all went) I think I’ve gotten a good routine down.

    Here’s what I do.

    1) Set up my weekly tracking report blog post. Right after the prior week’s goes live, the next one gets started.

    spending new 2

    2) Several times per week, I go through my online banking statements and add any transactions onto this report that I made using debit or credit.

    3) For cash purchases and any shopping trips where I buy different categories of items (i.e. bought personal care items at the grocery store), I keep the receipts, I keep these in a separate place in my wallet and toss them (other than important ones) when I’ve put them on the report.

    reciept

    4) For small cash purchases (or times I just forget to get a reciept, oops!) I put this amount in a notepad I have on my phone. This is the trickiest one, sometimes its hard to remember everything you’ve bought. This is the part that takes the most effort and practice, so try your best to get reciepts for everything when you first start!

    5) I try and reconcile what I’ve spent with what I have in my wallet and online (not always easy) if I’m off my a few bucks I usually let it go. If I’m off by a lot I do a bit more investigation (usually its cash transferred between me and T).

    I try to make as many of my purchases using debit (and when necessary credit) as I can so that tracking is easy. T sometimes gets frustrated with me because I often ask him for a dollar for milk or to pay for something and I’ll pay him back ;)

    Another problem we encounter is when we go shopping at Wally Mart for instance and we end up buying groceries, PC items, and maybe a DVD or something. Since we don’t have a joint account for anything but bills T will usually pay for the items and I transfer the funds to him when I get paid (I’m charged $1.50 per email transfer) or we transfer cash between each other. Sometimes we forget and it can reak havoc on the budget! (i.e. T paid for season 3 of Game of Thrones on Blue-Ray in March but we forgot about my half until last pay, oops!) But when I do my monthly budgets and quarterly/yearly spending reports, I’m usually not off by much (last quarter report was off my $38) so I usually add it to food as that’s most likely where it ended up and call it a day ;)

    I know that using Mint or an app or something like that is the easier way to go and maybe one day when I feel like I can let go a little I’ll do that instead, but for right now this keeps me looking at my money (almost) every day and posting my spending to this blog helps keep me accountable.

    Do you track your spending? If so, how do you track yours?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Weekly Spending: Apr 7 – 13

    spending new 2

    4/7 – $1.35 (cash – breakfast)

    4/8 – No Spend!

    4/9 – No Spend!

    4/10 -$12.83 (debit – dinner)

    4/11 – $9.60 (cash – lunch)

    4/12 – $3.60 (cash – coffee for me and T)

    4/13 – $29.66 (debit – lunch for me and T) + $11.30 (debit – B&BW) + $52.19 (credit – Wal-mart) = $93.15

    Total: $120.53

    This was another week where we planned well (with one exception) but didn’t exactly follow through. We had a plan for dinners that would generate left-over portions for lunches but if there’s one day that you end up not making dinner, well, that puts a wrench in the plans. The exception to the plan was that I forgot that I had a dentist appointment on Thursday and since I had to go straight there from work (by the time we get to our home train stop its almost 6pm) so I decided to pick something up before hand. While not great for the budget it was still a good idea as I had a few cavities worked on (apparently my last dentist didn’t know what they were doing!) and I wouldn’t have been able to eat afterwards. This caused me to not have something prepared for lunch the next day. I also sacrificed Sunday’s prepared lunch for today and we ate out then too. We also ate out on Saturday night with friends but since T paid, its not counted above. I swear that once we get back from this trip we are going to be taking this much more seriously!

    Sunday saw us go for a 3 hour walk! We also hit up Wal-mart at the end of the trip to pick up some odds and ends (some for the trip, some PC items).

    I’m going to try my best to keep track of what was spent on the trip but since it didn’t come out of the variable spending budget (travel savings account) I won’t be counting purchases towards my budget unless I go above the $200 USD I’m bringing. We’re off tomorrow and I have one post scheduled for this week. I promise to write a post with pics when we get back (maybe a week or so later).

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Quarterly Spending Report – Q1 2014

    Man, a quarter of a year is gone already! Here’s where my money went:

    2014 Q1 spending

    And for those of you who like charts, here’s 2!

    My total spending breakdown:

    2014 Q1 pie chart

    Gail’s suggested “Life Pie” is 35% Housing, 25% Life, 15% transportation (mine is 6% and lumped into home), 15% debt, and 10% savings.

    And spending broken down by category:

    2014 Q1 spending chart

    As you can see, we’ve been spending way too much on eating out! Eating out has accounted for 7% of my total spending and 35% of my variable spending amounts. This HAS TO CHANGE. April is going ok so far and with a week away, I hope this starts a trend going forward.

    I’m happy with my spending total overall but definitely want to have debt at 0% and savings at least 40%.

    How has your spending gone so far this year? What’s part you’d like to most change/work on?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Vacation Budget

    photo_dominican

    As mentioned here, T and I are going on a vacation from April 15 – 20th in the Dominican Republic.

    Its all inclusive, meals and drinks are paid for. We would pay for any excursions and activities outside what’s included by the resort. Since I’ve never been on this type of vacation, I’m not really sure how to budget for this.

    I bought $200 USD from my aunt (she had it from a previous trip) for no exchange fee (my family is pretty awesome sometimes) and this will be my spending money while on the trip – although I hope to spend less!

    Anyone who has been on this kind of trip before, please let me know if you think $200 will be enough for 5 days? Thanks!

    Here is what I want to buy before the trip!

    1) Swimsuit (1 or maybe 2) - I have one suit right now that I wear anytime I need a bathing suit. I mostly use it for aquafit so its very functional (read: not cute or pretty). I would love another very functional suit to alternate between the two and possibly a cute and fun suit to wear at the beach or any other non-exercise swimming related activity. Update – bought 2 swimsuits at Wal-mart $33 for one and $34 for the other. One is very functional (read: great for aquafit) but still cute and the 2nd is super cute and helps hide the gut. I figure I can wear it also to the spa and out to friends’ places that have a pool (we have a couple of lucky friends).

    2) Shorts (1 or 2) – I currently only have 1 pair of shorts as I mainly wear capris in the summer (can wear them at work and on weekends) so I will definitely pick up another one but possibly 2 if I can find something different. Update – I bought 2 capris that roll up into shorts at Marks. These are perfect since I can wear them as capris to work and as shorts on the weekend! $37 each.

    3) A cover-up – I don’t own anything like this right now. Basically something to put over my bathing suit that doesn’t look fugly. Update – bought one at Walmart for $27.

    4) A sun dress – I’m going to try and raid my friend’s closet first as she almost exclusively wears dresses so I should be able to find at least one nice one that fits in her closet. If not, I may purchase one as I know there are dress codes at the sit down restaurants and I want to look nice.

    5) Flip-flops – I have one pair right now and I want a pair that’s a bit more versatile (current pair is teal, doesn’t go with a tonne of other colours) and maybe a bit less slippery (they are the cheap kind from Old Navy). Update – purchased at Walmart for $4

    I’m hoping to spend less than $200 on all of this and whether I buy one swim suit or 2 (same with the shorts). I have to do some shopping around and will report back! Update – I have spent $194.36 on clothes and I’m done in that department, yeah!

    I will also pack some capris, the shorts I already own, a skort, flats for dinners, swim shoes, walking shoes (wear on plane), t-shirts/tanks, light cardigans for night time, and a pair of yoga pants in case its cold one day.

    That seems like a lot for 5 days but I want to be prepared, it should all still fit in a carry on since its mostly light clothing.

    As I’ve never been on a trip like this, I would appreciate some input … Am I missing anything? Am I overthinking this and taking too much?

    I’m sooooooo excited!!!

    Until next time,
    Morgaine

     



  • Weekly Spending: Mar 31 – Apr 6

    spending new 2

    3/31 – $1.35 (cash – breakfast) + $9.65 (debit – lunch) = $11.00

    4/1 – $11.58 (debit – dollar store – $4.52 snacks, $5.65 PC, $1.41 home) + $1.00 (cash – milk) = $12.58

    4/2 – No Spend!

    4/3 – $83.60 (credit – Mark’s) + $18.84 (debit – dinner for me and T) + $12.26 (snack for me and T) = $114.70

    4/4 – +$79.10 (cheque – reimbursement from work for course completed) + $171.46 (credit – Walmart – $132.21 clothes, $34.01 – $20 food (cash from T), $5.24 PC) = $171.46 – $99.10 = $72.36

    4/5 – $52.19 (debit – Rexall)

    4/6 - No Spend!

    Total: $262.83

    Well, another expensive week is done! On the plus side we got a lot of the shopping we wanted to do for the trip done – I will be posting about this separately. T and I ate out way too many times last week but we’re already making good progress on this front, having made dinner at home Saturday and Sunday and we have a meal plan for the rest of the week (lunches and dinners). If we can keep the eating out and spending to a minimum before and after the trip, I will feel better about having spent so much on items for the trip.

    How was your week of spending?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Monthly Goals Review – March 2014

    new goals

    Goals for March 2014

    • Pay off remaining debt/be debt free - Complete!So far, so good.
    • Save rest of funds for vacation and book it – Complete!Can’t wait until April 15th!!!
    • No eating out breakfast or buying snacks during the work week – FAILLack of planning and laziness got to me and T this month.
    • Get tax info together and FILE! – Complete!Just waiting on the money to hit my account …
    • No major home spending (need to save the money for the vacation!) – PassI bought an art print at the One of a Kind show ($60)
    • Write second guest blog (I have the idea, just need to write it down) – FAIL - Still haven’t written it out yet.
    • Do something physical and least 2x per week – FAILI still want to blame the weather, but its really been my lack of motivation and just laziness on my part.

    Goals for April 2014

    • Have fun on our vacation!
    • Don’t spend more than $200 on pre-vacation wants (post coming soon)
    • Don’t spend more than $150 during vacation
    • Do something physical at least 3x per week (time to step it up!)

    I’m going to keep the goals light for April as we won’t be here for a week, and I’ll probably be in vacation mode for a bit before and after the trip. Also, when I get back, its going to be extra busy at work (annual statements) so I don’t want to say I’m for sure going to have time to do much else than sleep, eat, work.

    This week has been busy and those statements haven’t even come out yet. I apologize that I didn’t respond to comments as quickly as I usually do and that I haven’t been reading and/or commenting on your blogs, I hope to catch up soon.

    How did you do on your March goals? Are you excited for (hopefully for real, this time) Spring?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine

     

     



  • Monthly Budget Update: March 2014

    monthly new

    I was doing so well at the beginning of the month, and then it all fell apart. Here’s the damage …

    Mar 14 final

    As you can see, I still had a good amount left over for the month ($396.27) but I still spent more than I wanted to (wanted to keep all variable under $600). The trip was paid for out of planned spending and that’s where any extra money went. To simplify, I didn’t include any ins or outs from planned spending. Its also why my savings look pitiful here.

    In April, I’m looking to rectify the saving situation …

    Apr 14 start

    This says I will be negative $38.02 at the end of the month, but I did get a raise in March, I just don’t know what my regular paycheque is going to be yet as my last cheque also included a retro payment (and my next is going to include OT). I know it’ll be above this amount, so I’m not worried :)

    T and I also had a discussion the other day about how we split the bills and came up with a good idea. Instead of using his Mom’s “rent” payment towards the mortgage, why not apply it to the bills?

    We were doing this:

    Mortgage $2100 – $800 (rent) = $1300 then we applied our percentages (according to income 67/33) So of the remaining $1300 T would pay $875 and I would pay $425. We would pay 100% of the property tax (we decided not to include this with our mortgage payment but will probably try to change this), gas, hyrdo, water, cable, and internet. Everyone knows this can fluctuate signficantly from month to month and its hard to predict. Also, some months only have gas or water, some have gas, hydro, and property tax, some months have all of them! And since we don’t get the bill until after I predict my budget its hard to know exactly what I’m going to pay each month.

    So, now we are doing this:

    Mortgage $2100 – $1375 (T) – $725 (M) (raised the % a bit to account for my raise and T is taking the “extra bit” the mortgage isn’t $2100 exactly). But I won’t be paying anything for the monthly bills. T’s going to use his Mom’s rent to pay all of those. And when there’s extra, it goes into savings for those months the bills are high and/or house maintenance.

    This way I know exactly what I’m paying each month to help with my budgeting process and we will be creating a buffer for months the bills are higher without directly affecting our monthly incomes. It also helps us save for maintenance, something that has been coming out of our own monthly budgets (or the LOC) since we’ve bought the house. I think this is a smart move all around – why didn’t we think of it sooner?

    This was my March, how was yours? What do you think of our new budgeting idea?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • Weekly Spending: Mar 24-30

    spending new 2

    3/24 – No Spend!

    3/25 – $10.00 (cash – ticket to One of a Kind show)

    3/26 – $3.05 (cash – breakfast) + $19.49 (debit – dinner for me and T) = $22.54

    3/27 – $13.32 (debit – lunch) + $33.53 (debit – Shopper’s – $8.13 medical, $22.59 PC, $2.81 food) + $67.80 (credit – art print at OOAK show) + $10.00 (cash – chocolate at OOAK) + $11.30 (cash – gift for T at OOAK) = $128.15

    3/28 – $3.55 (cash – breakfast) + $1.00 (cash – milk) = $4.55

    3/29 – $46.31 (debit – pet supplies) + $67.80 (credit – accountant) = $114.11

    3/30 – $15.94 (debit – snack at movies)

    Total: $295.29

    Well, I knew my lack of spending could only last so long! T and I totally dropped the ball on making sure we had food at home to make for breakfast/lunches/and dinner. Add to that going to the One of a Kind Show and the accountant to do my income taxes (and picking up pet stuff) it was an expensive week!

    With my renewed goal of making better food and activity choices starting in April, this HAS to change! Meal planning has to be a top priority for the next 3-6 months at least.

    How did your week of spending go?

    Until next time,

    Morgaine



  • 2014 Goals – Q1 Review

    Goals

    Goals for 2014:

    Financial:

    1) Pay off ALL debt by March 31, 2014 (currently $3,184.13 now $2,492.50) – Complete! – Debt free as of March 13, 2014.
    2) Stay debt free – no balances left over on cc or LOCComplete! - So far, so good.
    3) See my Savings GoalsHere - Pass, ongoing - I am keeping up on my RSP savings but drained the other savings for my trip. Need to restart in April.
    4) Increase my Net Worth by at least $10,000FAIL, ongoing - I would need at least $1,875.00 in savings right now to be on track, but I will be saving big time starting in April.
    5) Track my spending and budget. And post those to this blog.Pass, ongoing - So far, so good.

     

    Lifestyle:

    1) Eat better. No fast food and snacks. Follow the 80/20 rule.FAIL, ongoing - Same old, same old. I would say I’m at 70/30 not 80/20 at the moment.
    2) Take my vitamins. EVERY DAY.Pass, ongoing – I can only think of one day so far this year (1/90) that I haven’t, that’s pretty good!
    3) Do something physical at least 3x per week.FAIL, ongoing - REALLY need to get on this! I need to establish a routine and stick with it. I keep using the weather as an excuse but this winter really has been one of the worst that I can remember and it really seems like its never going to end :(
    4) Read more books. At least one book per month.Pass, ongoing – I read 1 book in January, 2 books in February, and 3 books in March.

     

    Blogging:

    1) Post my weekly spending and monthly budgets.Pass, ongoing – So far, so good.
    2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1.Pass, ongoing - I think I missed one week?
    3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community. – Pass, ongoing – I’ve really picked up on not only reading but commenting on blogs. I used to read a lot but never comment. Most of the time I felt like I didn’t have anything to share or I was intimated by the number of commentators before me. Now, if I have something to say, I say it :)
    4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney).FAIL, ongoing – I read and retweet sometimes but I just don’t really go on it that often anymore.
    5) Write at least 3 guest posts.Pass, ongoing – I wrote one for Melanie’s Dear Debt blog. I have the idea for another, just need to actually sit and write it.

    Some goals I’m doing well on (blogging, being debt free, and reading) some I’m doing horribly on (eating well and exercising, saving). Starting April I will definitely be shifting my focus from money to getting healthy and that may actually see me spending more money in this pursuit. But I will also have to revise my savings numbers (amounts per paycheque, not necessarily end amounts) to meet the goals I set out.

    How have you done on your goals so far for 2014?