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A Year Of Expense Tracking - Part One

In September 2016 I decided to start tracking our spending, I can't remember why, probably for no reason other than I read about it elsewhere or we'd had a discussion about out spending in general. From that day I wrote down all of our spending, other than petrol, Dan did that. 

By the end of June I was just sick of it, and really we had a good idea of our spending in most areas. Our patterns were clear and the project had done nothing to reduce our spending at all, so I stopped tracking grocery, eating out, and alcohol spending (the latter two being lower amounts than I would have guessed). I learned a lot from the exercise and the one thing I'm really glad about is keeping a notes and comments section at the back of my notebook. I wrote less as the year went on, but it's a good reminder of the things we said no to, little make do things and of course the time Dan didn't buy a saw (it was very important that I wrote that down). 

It turns out we bought quite a bit over the year, and that is the huge benefit of tracking. It makes it so easy to look back and remember when we bought things, which answers the question where did all the money go, and helps if a receipt is needed or something odd looking comes up on a bank statement. 

Had I thought about it before starting my categories might have been slightly different, but I broke things down this way - 

Eating/drinking out
Alcohol/other drinks (not tea and coffee)
Cleaning/Household basics (inc. pet stuff)
Toiletries/ Cosmetics
Books etc
Clothes Me/ Him
Car (not petrol)
Misc (including parking)
Household other (kitchen stuff, ornaments and other ephemera) 

So I'm going to share some of our expenditure over the next couple of posts, some of the things I tracked for the full year. Starting with the categories with the most wiggle room, the very non essential items. 


  1. It is a good idea to track whats going out, some people are out of money at the end of the month and no idea why.

    1. You're exactly right, even larger purchases can be forgotten and dates become vague quite quickly.

  2. We have been recording our spending for awhile and were amazed how much we spent on coffees and such out. Since taking picnics out with us we have saved a fair amount and enjoyed the picnics a lot more too.

    1. I think the small expenses are the most surprising. If you spend a few hundred pounds on some furniture, for example, that's one thing, but all those tiny expenses creep up without noticing.

      Having said that, I still don't like picnics!

  3. Sounds like an interesting series of posts. I'll be reading along.

    1. Thanks, no clue how interesting they will be but there could be something in there!

  4. Congrats on the length of time you kept a record. I'll look forward to reading the rest of the details. Catriona

  5. I tracked our spending for quite a while too and as with you a general pattern emerged. We are still keeping within our budget but I may track again just out of interest. I look forward to reading about all your different categories.

  6. This is definitely something I should do and, indeed, need to do, so I will be very interested to seewhat you write over the next few posts!x

    1. Thanks, it's a good exercise as things are rarely as you might think.


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