Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Our Attempt at Tracking Expenses

You hear over and over again in the pfblog sphere and in financial planning articles that you need to track your expenses to get a handle on where your money is going. C and I tried doing this in August, but it was a dismal failure.

This January we decided to try again. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I try to update every night, or at least every other day. It lists name, item, cost, payment method, and a description of the item.

For example, an item like rent is categorized as being spent by the both of us. One area we're having trouble for is accounting for expenses that are reimbursed by our employers. I've been on the road the past few weeks, so I've been accumulating taxi, hotel, car rental, and air travel costs. What we've done so far is not tracked those items since they're fully reimbursed by my employer. But I do track my meal expenses despite my meal allowance since I get to keep whatever I don't spend.

We're halfway through the month and I'm proud to say that we've been able to remember to record everything thus far (at least that's what C has told me). Hopefully we won't be tripped up this weekend since we will be out of town.

It was a pretty hard road to get C to agree to track our expenses. I first brought it up soon after we were married and he was vehemently against it. Throughout our marriage I've slowly influenced him to be more conscious about our spending and to be more willing to do things that he once couldn't believe people would do.

When we were engaged, I showed C an article about Jonathan at MyMoneyBlog and he couldn't believe why someone would want to write a blog about their finances. Actually when I showed him that article, I had already started this blog, but I went on a hiatus after our wedding since I wanted to ensure that he was in agreement with it. He was, it just took some slow steps to work up the courage to tell him about it.

I guess the moral of this story is that you can influence your partner to your way of thinking, but don't try to do everything all at once.


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