Monday, August 21, 2006

Monthly Expenses Record

I haven’t tracked my expenses for many years (at least eight as I remember). I used to use paper and pen to keep a record of every penny I spent when I was a student with a tight budget. At the end of the month, I knew exactly how much I spent on bread and milk, how much on telephone, and how much on notebooks. Back then, I didn’t have a lot of purchases to make, so the tracking was kind of easy. Later on, after I graduated and started to work, my salary went up, so did the spending. Then one day I realized that I haven’t done any book-keeping or budgeting for a long time. Probably it was because I could keep up with how and on what I spent my money.

Starting this month (August 2006), I picked up my old habit again so I created an Excel template to record the date, item, and amount of every purchase. At least at the beginning, I don’t think keeping a record of how we spent the money will change the way we spend it. What I want is to have a sense of what and how much we buy every month, what are necessities and what are impulse purchases. After several months, it may be possible that I can find somewhere to cut the spending.

Getting it started wasn’t so hard. The problem for me was I just couldn’t remember to enter in the record every time we spent the money! I guess I need some time to get used to it. The good thing is that most of spending happened in the weekend, and I charged with credit cards whenever possible, even it was just a couple of bucks. Let’s see what the grand total is for the first month.

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