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Budget question

Think it, Plan it, Do it
Fairfur
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Budget question

#462486

Postby Fairfur » December 2nd, 2021, 1:32 am

So, do you people use Excel to manage your spending or do you utilise an any online tool to do so? How do you keep track of your spending in order to stick to a budget? Very keen on getting to know about some budgeting tools…

servodude
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Re: Budget question

#462487

Postby servodude » December 2nd, 2021, 3:06 am

Fairfur wrote:So, do you people use Excel to manage your spending or do you utilise an any online tool to do so? How do you keep track of your spending in order to stick to a budget? Very keen on getting to know about some budgeting tools…


I rarely use cash, so almost everything can be tracked via the transactions in online banking

Within there there are separate accounts used for when budgeting is appropriate e.g. I'll have a savings account used only for holding back a percentage of my sole trader income as I need to account for the tax quarterly
- whatever is left in the current account is available to be spent - and I'll have a pretty good idea of what is in there at any given time

I've also taken to using my phone to pay where I can
- this provides an immediate record of the transaction and seems more reliable to me than a paywave card where I might end up trying to work out if I'd bought two or three rounds on a pub visit when reconciling things later on

Phone's also useful for recording receipts for expenses - and for accessing online banking if I need it

- sd

Urbandreamer
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Re: Budget question

#462498

Postby Urbandreamer » December 2nd, 2021, 7:33 am

I don't currently manage my spending, but I do keep track of it. This means I can't advise on budgeting.

I keep track so that I can predict how much I will need when I stop work or when I can stop work.

I actually use a mix of tools. LibreOffice has many of the same features as Excel and I use it to track supermarket and car spending. It's also free.

I also use it to analyse my current account. My bank allows past transaction history to be downloaded as an Excel sheet which LibreOffice will open. It's easy to subtract savings/investment from outgoings to get a figure for what I spend each year. Though of course not things that you could stop spending on if you needed to. Supermarket bills need to be manually entered into another spreadsheet to gather that data.

My master spreadsheet is held on GoogleSheets, because that's where I started. A key advantage is that it exists on the internet rather than on a specific device. I've also got a timed script recording the close of day value of my investments without me doing anything. The spreadsheet also attempts to predict how much I can draw from my investments at a given point in the future.

DrFfybes
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Re: Budget question

#462529

Postby DrFfybes » December 2nd, 2021, 9:24 am

As above, we used to track our spending, but not to manage budgets as it wasn't really needed. Libre Office was also used here (free version of Excel - there, that's saved you £120 already :) ).

I also used it to see if we could afford to retire, or more accurately to prove to MrsF that we could afford for ME to retire.

Columns for different items, 1 row for each month. The important thing is to record things regularly, not try and go back through piles of receipts as things get confusing. So does that receipt for petrol from Devon go under Car or Holiday, that receipt from Calais, was that holiday, or were we stocking up on wine so it goes under "food", etc etc.

We were already saving heavily, but it was good to see how much 'discretionary spend' we were making, how much was being spend slowly doing the garden/house up, etc. One thing it showed was how little we actually needed to live on, and where we could have saved should we have wanted to.

I also have a separate sheet with our savings and assets on, this is updated every few months with more recent values.

However it israther time consuming, I'm sure there are Apps and stuff available, but as I don't have a smartphone (there's another £150 saved!) I don't know.

The thing about Budgetting, is that once you set one don't let it become a target rather than a cap. In the old days all my bills were on DD, and I used to take £50 out of the bank every sat morning to do my shopping and last the week for lunches etc. If there was anything left on Friday night then it disappeared down the pub. This worked OK, as the £50 was much less than I had available each week and the month end leftovers went into the holiday/luxuries fund, but I never actually saved anything for the long term until my Dad opened a PEP for me and I added monthly.

These days I would find this much harder, as it is simply far more conveneint to tap-tap-tap. I went for a weekend with some mates over the summer and the number of purchases at the bar were quite a surprise when I got home, probably 50% over what I'd expected. Then there was the car park somewhere, a couple of lunches, coffee and cake somewhere, etc. When you had a pocket of paper this sort of thing was easier to keep track of, and I suspect is where most people overspend.

I expect there's an App that shows a running total on your phone though.

Paul

ten0rman
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Re: Budget question

#462589

Postby ten0rman » December 2nd, 2021, 11:40 am

Similar to others, I don't really do budgeting, in my case because in general our income is sufficient to enable us to not bother. I do a form of budgeting each month writing down on a homemade record all the expected expenditure for the next month, I mean, after 50 years of married life I have a good idea about what's coming up. I also keep a database of expenditure. It shows all trackable expenditure, eg cheques, debits etc but not much incidental cash.

Now that sounds a bit anal I know, but after 30 + years, it comes in handy to see just how old that washer is, or where did we go in 19-0-ty blank for holidays, and so on.

One thing that I do, is that almost religiously, every month I check our current account statement with our recorded expenditure - that way I have come across a small number of discrepancies, one being a definite fraud instance, whilst another was, I think, an accidental banking error, fortunately for not much.

Recently, and for no particular reason, I have setup a spreadsheet showing past and future expenditure of various items - electric, telephone, etc etc, but only for a running 12 months. I have no idea why I did it, I certainly don't need it.

I do have spreadsheets recording usage of various items over the last umpteen years - electricity, coal, telephone. And that's it.

I actually spend more time recording how our investments are doing!

ten0rman

Boots
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Re: Budget question

#463116

Postby Boots » December 4th, 2021, 3:50 pm

kempiejon wrote:Oh alex1 are you and katie friends?


Well spotted! I was impressed with Katie's effort, a six week gap before the pay-off.

chair
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Re: Budget question

#464135

Postby chair » December 8th, 2021, 7:58 am

How does it work? Does it automatically track spending patterns? And can any type of goal be set or is it only premade goals not custom ones?

DrFfybes
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Re: Budget question

#464173

Postby DrFfybes » December 8th, 2021, 10:39 am

chair wrote:How does it work? Does it automatically track spending patterns? And can any type of goal be set or is it only premade goals not custom ones?


It appears to work by people setting up fake profiles on bulletin boards and then promoting it to users.

Urbandreamer
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Re: Budget question

#464197

Postby Urbandreamer » December 8th, 2021, 11:41 am

DrFfybes wrote:
chair wrote:How does it work? Does it automatically track spending patterns? And can any type of goal be set or is it only premade goals not custom ones?


It appears to work by people setting up fake profiles on bulletin boards and then promoting it to users.


Possibly a bit unfair.

There was no link to Nova money, I had to google it to find out what it is. It turns out to be a a combined agrigator/tracking tool and budget planner that claims to replace Yolt (which I believe has shut down).

Here is a link of alternatives for those who have never come across the concept.
https://yourmoney.lumio-app.com/yolt-sm ... _AEALw_wcB

As I said, I don't work that way so I can't make a recomendation.

For old fogies like myself, I believe that the idea is that you are easily able to know intimate details of your finances BEFORE you buy anything. Hence it can discourage impulse buys and many of them can sweep unspent money into a savings account.

DrFfybes
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Re: Budget question

#464225

Postby DrFfybes » December 8th, 2021, 1:00 pm

Urbandreamer wrote:
DrFfybes wrote:
chair wrote:How does it work? Does it automatically track spending patterns? And can any type of goal be set or is it only premade goals not custom ones?


It appears to work by people setting up fake profiles on bulletin boards and then promoting it to users.


Possibly a bit unfair.

There was no link to Nova money, I had to google it to find out what it is.


Possibly, but (at least) 3 new users appear on TLF (one no longer exists), post nothing for a few weeks, then ask about Financial management apps, casually drop it into conversation, get the name out there. You looked it up for one. If it had been blatant then it would have been obvious annd been pulled.

The Trustpilot reviews are gushingly enthusiastic, often from single review users, and overlap with smartmoneypeople.com . Similarly all enthusiastic on Producthunt, although at least on there most seem to be real people.

I'm not saying it is a good or bad product, in fact anything that encourages people to spend less and save more is a good thing.

I'm just very cynical of how things are promoted online these days.

stevensfo
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Re: Budget question

#465022

Postby stevensfo » December 11th, 2021, 3:06 pm

I use Excel and the Libre Office equivalent and have records going back ten years.

I use cash a lot, since it keeps the online statements much easier to understand, and I like the privacy that using cash allows.

The changes over ten years have been interesting. Our kids at school, then university. We supported them as much as possible and it shows!! Also their bloody school trips!! Despite parents complaining on the class email list, they always went ahead. When someone mentions the word 'Mafia', I don't think of Marlon Brando, just our school!! Finally our mortgage coming to an end. Nice feeling!

I am guilty of not worrying too much about shopping bills, but that will have to change in a year or so when I retire. I reckon that we can decrease our shopping bill by 50% quite easily.

Excel is really useful. I have columns for types of expenses and a new page for each month. I buy quite a lot from Amazon and Ebay and am not averse to buying second hand stuff. Expenditure for Christmas went down a lot when all adults agreed to buy presents only for the kids.

Of course, there is the question of when you stop being a kid! 8-)

Steve


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