5 Jan 2010

So, how much is it than?

Wherever you read about getting out of debt you will also read about budgeting, so here I was trying to find out how much we actually spend.

It was a huge surprise to me to find out that even though 100% of our bills and recurring payments are automated I still struggled to find out the overall spending!
I've tried everything:

  1. downloaded last month bank statement, converted it into an Excel spreadsheet and categorised all transactions - I spent at least three hours doing just that. And at the end I found out that we took a huge amount of money in cash through out the month and none of us could remember what we spent all that money for! We didn't buy anything of value or durability - that's for sure

  2. started a thread in one of the internet forums titled " Can you teach me how to budget?" - my initial assumptions was that it is me - everyone else knows how to plan their finances and there is a simple way to a financial order and others will show me how to do it - surprise! Most people had no clue, and those who were planning and controlling their finances did it in so many (and sometimes contradictory ways) that all the advise was not helpful but just irritating!

  3. searched for online budgeting tools that would help me analyse what I spend and what I actually can spend - very quickly I've learned that the power of a budgeting online tool is in the number of categories they give you to choose from when creating your budget - the more categories they offer you - the more "forgotten" spendings you find.

  4. considered off-line software - my "teach me how to budget" thread ended up in several parallel discussions -one was about your trust in online budget providers as you supposed to give them so much information about your financial affairs. I personally don't have problems with other people knowing about the debt - that would probably change once we have savings and investments ...

After three weeks of intense research I knew so much more about the how, the why and the what ... but I still haven'r figured out how much we actually do spend and so we transferred the money on my credit card without knowing if we really will be able to pay it off... scary!

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