We’re 13 days into tracking our expenses. I’m using the same software that I use to keep track of our business income/expenses, and I’m having fun looking at all the nifty charts and graphs that it creates. There haven’t been any big revelations, because I was pretty darn good at keeping track of everything in my head before I started writing it all down. We only use one credit card, and I’ve always checked the balance and transactions on it every day.
What I’ve noticed is that we’re getting closer to spending the way we did two and three years ago, when our debt was at its highest. During that time, we basically cut out all unnecessary expenditures. As we’ve gotten out of debt, we’ve relaxed a bit with our spending, but we’ve remained very much on the frugal end of things. Now that we know that every purchase has to be recorded in Microsoft Money and posted here at the end of the month, we’re less likely to spend money.
I plan to keep on tracking our spending, and I’m sure that as I get used to it, we’ll drift back into slightly higher spending again. But overall, I know that it’s making us think twice before we hand over the credit card.
I had thought about posting mid-month on our spending so far, but it doesn’t give a very good picture. Things like the mortgage and insurance that only get paid once a month would make our mid-month numbers much higher than half our monthly expenses. Also, we plan to go to Costco next weekend, so our grocery spending so far is a lot less than half of the monthly total. On the plus side, our dining out expense is only $7 so far this month (snacks at the food court in the mall – a planned trip for ice cream and popcorn).
So I’ll wait until the end of the month to post everything, but I’m feeling pretty good about the amount we’re spending. I think we’ve found a good balance, we’re having fun and saving money at the same time – most of the stuff we do for fun requires little or no money anyway. We do have to renew our registration for both cars this month, and pay for emissions testing on them. We also have to pay our car insurance for the rest of the year, so we do have a few higher than normal expenses. Hopefully tracking our money will keep everything else on the low end to make up for the unavoidable higher expense categories.