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Like A Rabbit Hunting For Broccoli

That's how I am with tracking, it means very keen to find it but not always effective. The delightful Tracey asked me yesterday if I use a spreadsheet, let's add spreadsheetery to the list of things for which I do not have the skills. I use a series of books to keep track of things, I enjoy the misery of having to do the work myself, much like Mrs Doyle making cups of tea. 

Video contains throwing of cups and rude language. Down with that sort of thing! Careful now!

The big red book contains the story of my spending life, the small book is the grocery spend (the nail file is an excellent bookmark), the piece of paper is a kind of shopping list. 

Things are divided up into assorted sections, I made them up as they suited me at the time. I keep a tally chart to remind me of quantities

Then I keep a note of how much I spent on each item 

At the end of each month I add it all up!

My categories are -

eating out
cleaning/household basics (includes pet food)
toiletries/make up
books, magazines etc
clothes (me)
clothes (Dan)
car (not including fuel)
misc (inc parking)

And that's it. 


  1. I budget in a similar way using notebooks, but I use less categories which cover multiple items of expenditure. I start with the budget amount and subtract items bought in that category as I buy them, leaving me with a running available budget total. I do often end up in negative figures towards the end of the month, as my roundup posts document but if something is needed it often has to be bought regardless. Needless to say, it's a skill I'm still honing. I'm building up that budgeting muscle to quote Budget Girl.

    1. Our tracking is different to our budgeting, we have, for example, the grocery budget, a budget for "things" etc and we just can't go over them because that's the amount of money we have. The tracking is just a record of what we bought and how much it cost, so it's spending within the budget, it doesn't help to create the budget itself, if that makes sense.

  2. I kept a spending diary for ages, right up till January this year when I just let it slide away. I think that my tight fistedness is so ingrained now that I no longer need it. Although perhaps I should start a new one just for yarn, I seem to have developed a hoarding app that will not switch off.Mind you I am knitting through it almost as fast as I buy it.

    1. The tracking for us isn't really to help us cut back, it's just out of interest to see where we spend our money. We're less tightwaddy than we used to be, because then it was out of necessity, it's very interesting to observe the spending that we might not be able to recall - the sundries of living, that's where lots of the money goes, necessary but unremarkable spending - things like smoke alarms, postage, chopping boards and things like that. These are the things we don't really think about while we're keeping an eye on utilities, fuel, clothing etc.

  3. Ha ha, I love Father Ted, I've had the DVD box set for years!

    It's looks like you've got a good system in place for keeping track of your spending.

    1. I love it, certainly a favourite in our house, especially the episode with all the rabbits!

  4. You are certainly more organised than I am with writing down all your spending. I do have a budget and when it's gone, it's gone. Perhaps I ought to write everything down and see exactly where the money goes xxx

    1. Our budget is like that, when it's gone it's gone, we just wanted to see exactly where it was going, it's amazing what you forget about, and what costs more than you think.

  5. I should do this. I am so lazy!x

    1. It can be really useful, there are lots of things I haven't bought because I didn't want to have to write them down too!

  6. I used to keep those large hardbacked style cash books years ago - I have some still from the seventies when we were first married which make interseting reading now. In 2000 I swapped to a computer software Microsoft Money program which is easy to use and produces different reports to track income and spending. It can be quite alarming though when you realise just how much you have spent on birthday cards in a year! I still miss my hand written versions though.

    1. I would love to use a spreadsheet or something on the computer but I just know I wouldn't fill it in, and if I did I wouldn't read it again. There's something about the process of putting things down on paper that connects me with it.

      I am noticing more and more that it's the small spends, like birthday cards, that really creep up. The big expenses are easy to remember, but the little ones, less than a pound here, or a couple of pounds there, add up to a fair amount over the course of six months.


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