How Do You Track Your Day-to-Day Expenses?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by HappyDude20, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68020


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    I've been trying for the longest time to figure out a solution in regards to tracking my daily finances/expenses in the hopes of spending less overall.

    For years now I've been using and though it's an elegant solution in accordance with checking my finances; I've always felt a more personal approach to tracking finances can hinder unneccessary spending.

    Inputting my individual daily expenses seems to prevent me from wanting to spend those extra $10 on pizza on the drive home, knowing I went grocery shopping two nights before. I've been using Numbers for the past few months; first exclusively on my MacBook Pro and more recently migrated to my iPhone's Numbers app.

    When I was utilizing only the MacBook Pro, I would jot down all of my daily expenses at the end of the day, at times jotting down $100 and other days $0. There was an overall expense pane with the monthly total amount and it worked well. Upon purchasing an iPhone 4, I moved this process onto the Numbers app on my iPhone exclusively. I'd like syncing between Numbers on my iPhone & MBP, though it seems cumbersome to sync when compared to the syncing ease of other apps such as OmniFocus or any other app that allows syncing, of which i'm sure you're most likely familiar with.

    I know someone can recommend an app, such as MoneyWell or iBank and their respective iOS apps though it seems Numbers can be a lot more proficient at my intended successful outcome, though understand these apps can easily sync back and forth between devices.

    I'm all ears.
  2. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    If you are (understandably and reasonably) concerned about daily expenses - a VERY low-tech solution is to put yourself on a purely cash economy. If you are concerned about overspending on daily expenses - you can't spend more than what is in your pocket. ;)
  3. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    me I would route everything threw my credit card and use that to break it down.

    That being said it is not a solution that works for most people because of the out of site out of mind when the shock comes later but I am a numbers guy so I use that to track everything and it worked well for me because over a course of a month or so it was pretty quick to show were I was burning money and how to cut expenese. I started for example taking my lunch to work 3-4 days a week and boy did it drop how much I was spending. Turn out to save me around 100-150 a month.

    It really comes down to budgetting. One day is not much use but over a month it comes in handing in pin pointing expenses.
  4. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I try not to use cash and keep track of my cards.
  5. HappyDude20 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Jul 13, 2008
    Los Angeles, Ca
    Call me digital but I'm very much into carrying cards around; more-so than cash. The only times I've ever needed cash is for gas, considering for some reason credit cards aren't accepted at most gas station islands.

    Prime, this overall goal of tracking day-to-day exists with the intent of seeing how much I spent during the month. In the end, for me at least it always comes down to how much I spent in the month.

    I've noticed on the months I truly track my daily spending i'll spend almost 40% less than on a month where I'm lethargic in my tracking.

    As for your mentioning of brining food from home rather than eating out, i'll have to ditto myself on that one too. I used to spend enormous amounts of money on fast food, but now make trips to grocery stores more than fast food joints.

  6. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    I just use a debit card that's hooked up to my bank account. I use the us bank mobile wallet app to track purchases and my balance so I know exactly how much is in my account and how much I'm spending.
  7. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    I divide my monthly budget by the number of days in the month, then track every single day religiously on a spreadsheet against a "daily budget". So if I spend over my budget for one day, I always know I have to make it up later. It works really well, and I live pretty comfortably on a student loan budget. But the downside is, I'm always, always thinking about money so I tend to be very cheap.
  8. iJohnHenry, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    I used to use Quicken, and entered everything I spent into it.

    I have since come to realise that that is symptomatic of a mental problem. :rolleyes:

    Now I just have a neoOffice spreadsheet for all assets (bank, investments) and liabilities (credit cards), and I don't worry about my cash purchases.

    The first sheet is a summary of everything, so I can see how I am doing.
  9. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    I keep track of everything via two applications on my iPhone/iPad.. Cash Flow HD for individual expenses/income and iReconcile to keep track of all my accounts, rather have it electronic than going through checkbook balancers. Been doing this for almost a year and a half, works perfectly.
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
  11. Abstract, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    My system is like the "Only Spend The Cash In Your Pocket" system, except I just keep the amount I'm freely allowed to spend in my primary spending account. I can't spend more than what's in that account. ;)

    I don't really believe it's effective to keep track of every single expense, and work on your budget that way. After awhile, it'll drive you mad and lead to constant worrying about $0.30 differences in price. It's not a good way to live. :)

    If your food budget is $100 per week (I don't know what your lifestyle/family situation is), your bank account doesn't care if you spend all your food money on pizza, or whether you spend it on healthy food. It doesn't matter how it's spent.

    Your bank account doesn't care what you spend in a single day, as long as you are on budget. Like you said, some days it'll be $0, and on other days it may be $25.

    Your bank account doesn't even care what you spend in a week! One week, you may spend $93, while you may spend $103 the next week.

    In this example situation, if you just move $100 into your primary spending account each week, you know if you have over- or under-spent.

    If you want to spend even less, then reduce your budget from $100, down to $85.
  12. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    I just use

    hours spent agonizing over the nickels and dimes is, well, hours spent.
  13. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2010
    London, ON
    I use an envelope system.

    I have several envelopes.

    1. Investing. (pay yourself first)
    2. Food
    3. Clothing
    4. Fuel/repairs
    5. Haircuts (I have a family and hair for the wife is expensive)
    6. Date night

    So on every paycheque I pull a certain percentage out of the account in cash and place it in the envelopes. The remainder of the money stays in the account for fixed expences like insurance, mortgage, etc. Because of this I have been debt free except the house for two years now. I used to be stupid and pay thousands of dollars to credit card companies. I don't use credit anymore and only cash/paypal. I find when I wave cash at a purchase I usually get a bargain. I couldn't do that with a credit card. I learned this though a guy on the internet named Dave Ramsey.
  14. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    I started using a spreadsheet to keep track of cash about 8 years ago and it transformed my finances. Basically, I enter my bank balance every few days and have a list of monthly spends (mortgage, internet, savings accounts, etc.) and have a cell which =Balance-Stuff, which basically tells me how much money I have at the end of the month. As the month proceeds I will change the formula to reflect the fact that the mortgage has been paid etc. It only takes a couple of minutes a day and has got me on a very firm financial footing. Since using this method, I have never gone overdrawn and now actually know what I can afford. Currently I know I will have £15.36 at the end of August ;-)
  15. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Same here. I then log into my account daily to ensure that the charges are accurate and to keep track of my balance.
  16. samiwas, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

    samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    I don't really have a method. I have mint, which I tried to use, but it got to be too much to keep track of...I probably would need to be more consistent, and maybe I will start that up again. All I do is keep track of my available balance all the time...I don't really have a budget or anything.

    If I were to start one up, and I've been working my way towards that, I would use either a running Numbers/Excel spreadsheet, or a Filemaker/Bento database. The filemaker option would allow for easier tracking by type and vendor.

    EDIT: What I need to do is kick my wife's ass into action. She pays absolutely zero attention to her financials. Somehow, she stays well within her means, but she couldn't tell you if she received a paycheck, how much her bills are, how much she spent this month, or anything. She has no interest whatsoever in tracking expenses. I'm trying to keep up with it.

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