Tracking money again!
Nerd alert: I’m super excited that I have a tracking system set up again! It is also largely automated. I go through all of the transactions as verification, but they are downloaded from my accounts into my excel spreadsheet. This gives me the freedom to do exactly what I want with my data. It’s easier to just use Excel myself than coax money software to categorize and display my information the way I want to think about it.
I broke our spending down into 4 categories: Fixed (rent, phone bill, etc.), Food, Discretionary, and Variable expenses. Variable expenses include things like insurance, commuting expenses, and fuel – things that I don’t worry about each month because changing them is difficult. Travel is bucketed here, because a high travel spend one month doesn’t give me any information about how the month generally went spending. The discretionary category is the one I like to watch: Hobbies, entertainment, clothes, wine, home. Food is also something I watch, but since it is a big part of the budget, I broke it out separately. Food is further broken down into groceries, dates with T, social dinners, coffee/cafe, and work lunches.
I added projected spending for future months to estimate yearly spending, then added a “health metric” (PF score) composed of net worth divided by yearly spending. We’ll be somewhere between 5 – 10 at the end of the year.
Check it out! This is the summary view, backed up by a list of transactions, and all of the other spreadsheets might need. I wanted to go away from my old system of having a tab for each month. That was more complicated to manage and to process than look at it all on the same page. I can view my current spending by month in a different tab if needed.
Notes: The food numbers in January are super high due to grocery re-stocking post-move. In February, we went to one nice celebratory meal that was over $200, which we won’t be doing again any time soon (though it was awesome!) The first 3 months of the year have large “home” purchases (shelving unit, followed by a bed, followed by a couch) since some of our furniture didn’t make it through the door of our new place. I ignored my bonus (10-40% so this could be a big deal) and I’m not quite sure what T’s net income will turn out to be once we get his retirement stuff set up properly. That said, the projected spend numbers are low and aspirational rather than realistic. I will update them again at the end of March.