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Old January 26 2009, 07:26 PM   #1
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Location: New York, NY
How do you do your finances?

I used to just spend, and then check my balance online every so often. Living a budget, by myself in a big city, I've become painfully more meticulous-- down to the penny. I have a word document with tables where I color code expenses, work out rent/utilities, reserve expenses, and proceed to log every expense and what I purchased subtracting from the various "funds" (food, basic util, save). It's become a ritual to where I have an exact figure right now of what my account will look like on FEB 27th with a buffer for unusual circumstances. Part of the benefit of this ritual is that it makes me feel guilty about unnecessary purchases because I have to physically write down the fact that I bought it.

It took some work to become like this, but now that I am-- I rarely feel "stress" about whether I have enough in my account to go out with friends on occation or go have sushi or something.

Anybody else do this?
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Old January 26 2009, 07:30 PM   #2
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I have a bag - I put the receipts in it. Then my book-keeper turns them into "business" expenses.

More seriously, I spend so little out of my "pocket" cash, I don't get worked up about it. I meet my financial advisers now and then to talk about my investments and I keep my eye on the markets but overall I think it's all under control without being manic about it.
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Old January 26 2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I think once you have an idea of what your budget is, it becomes easy to keep track. I know what my estimated monthly budget is. From that, I give myself a certain amount of cash to spend between paychecks. I have to use this cash to buy food and other miscellaneous things. There's also a certain amount I allow myself to put on the credit card every month, knowing I can pay the balance off in-full. All my other money stays in the checking account to pay my monthly bills, which are usually the same every month.
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Old January 26 2009, 07:43 PM   #4
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I maintain finances for my family. My personal finances are added in (the "one boat" theory) and it gets redistributed where necessary. Currently, we are pushing the line for income vs. expenses, as costs have risen without actually increasing the number of expenses. Of course, all of the finances I do are really for naught, since my father makes such poor decisions with the money, so I have to work extra hard at making the money reach it's destination so that we have food, power and a place to live.

Yes, with him, we can go from "doing pretty good" to "Oh god, there's no money for the gas bill" inside of a single paycheck, so I have to keep on top of things.


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Old January 26 2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: How do you do your finances?

My wife and I set a sizable chunk aside every month for our savings, which doesn't include the 401k, and then don't worry about the rest. We never end up spending all of what's left.
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Old January 26 2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I let my husband take care of it.
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Old January 26 2009, 08:20 PM   #7
Spot's Meow
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I get two paychecks a month. The first goes to bills and groceries, the second goes entirely to rent. So I have basically no money left over for anything else. If I do have extra money, it goes into the savings for when I have to make bigger purchases every few months, mainly books and my parking permit for school.

When I had more money I would make a more detailed budget, but at this point it's useless since I don't have enough money to buy anything but the basics.
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Old January 26 2009, 08:25 PM   #8
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Location: Ontario, Canada
Re: How do you do your finances?

I keep track of our family finances in a spreadsheet, I can see increases and decreases in spending in several key areas as well as chart them out over time. If a certain area increases significantly it's easy to notice.

Then I look to see if there are any savings that could be had and adjust our purchasing accordingly.
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Old January 26 2009, 08:37 PM   #9
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I add the total monthly income together, subtract for all the bill amounts then divide the remainder by the number of days until the next payday and that amount equals the extra spending money available per day.
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Old January 26 2009, 08:55 PM   #10
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Re: How do you do your finances?

Everything goes into Quicken.
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Old January 26 2009, 09:13 PM   #11
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Re: How do you do your finances?

My husband gets paid at the first of the month and get paid every two weeks. Our pay covers all of our expenses, plus leaves extra for buying a few things: a few cheap meals out, a movie, a few personal purchases, etc. We're not rich, but we live well within our means and it's never been a problem.

Our savings is deducted automatically, so I don't have to even think about it. I pay all the bills at least a week before they're due, and most it is done online.

I check the bank's website to see that checks have been cashed and that our balance is what it should be.

No real problems here.
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Old January 26 2009, 09:38 PM   #12
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Re: How do you do your finances?

Gaah, I so totally read that as "how do you do your fiancee"!

...looooooooong day. I think I need a cookie and a nap.
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Old January 26 2009, 09:39 PM   #13
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I make guesses about how much I can afford to the nearest hundred dollars. So long as the general trend is upwards in my bank account, I don't worry about it too much beyond that.

My bank account is unusually low at the moment since I just sent off an estimated tax payment *and* the tuition for this semester, but as soon as my company gets around to reimbursing for last semester I'll be back to somewhere around $6k again.
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Old January 26 2009, 10:04 PM   #14
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Re: How do you do your finances?

For a convenient budgeting tool, go to Dave Ramsey's website. I use a spreadsheet that has my budget covered for the entire year as well as using Quicken to maintain my checking and savings account activity.
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Old January 26 2009, 10:14 PM   #15
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Re: How do you do your finances?

I have a budget written on my PC, which at worse becomes more of a guideline than an actual budget but it keeps me in line enough so I don't have debt. I have just finished writing out my budget for the 1st half of 2009 till June, which is a little tight because am moving house on March 1st.
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