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11-17-18 07:11:24 PM
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Jul - General Chat - Budgeting and expense tracking
  
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Xkeeper
Posts: 22355/24691
I find credit cards to be super-nice, but that's because I can afford to use mine, never keep a balance, and get anywhere from 1% to 5% cash back depending on what I buy.

It's pretty nice
Tarale
Posts: 971/1876
I'm one of those who refuse to get a credit card. I'd avoid debt altogether if I could, but I have a mortgage. But even if I didn't I'd have to pay about the same amount in rent every pay so that evens out. You can get a lot more done with your money each pay if you're not paying off any debts.
Sponty
Posts: 10951/11090
Originally posted by Tarale
It's not just that education is missing… there seems to have been a lot of effort put in to encouraging these myths and bad attitudes about money. For instance, a lot of media pretty much tells you that everyone is in credit card debt, and to keep up with the Joneses you should be as well. Just borrow for everything! There's even this idea that you need debts to build a credit reputation.

I know some debts are difficult to avoid, especially student loans and mortgages (if you want education or housing), but debt is encouraged for everything. Saving up your money is never mentioned…

With student loan debt, it's pretty much expected here in Canada now (and well, America too, assumedly), but between people I know, there's either those who have LOTS of other debt, or people who won't even consider getting a credit card, with not a lot in between.
Tarale
Posts: 966/1876
It's not just that education is missing… there seems to have been a lot of effort put in to encouraging these myths and bad attitudes about money. For instance, a lot of media pretty much tells you that everyone is in credit card debt, and to keep up with the Joneses you should be as well. Just borrow for everything! There's even this idea that you need debts to build a credit reputation.

I know some debts are difficult to avoid, especially student loans and mortgages (if you want education or housing), but debt is encouraged for everything. Saving up your money is never mentioned…
Xkeeper
Posts: 22349/24691
I'd suggest it has something to do with schooling in general, too; maybe not outright financial-sector lobbying, but you see a lot of electives and other things going away, too, with an ever-increasing focus on ~standardized testing~
Orlandu
Posts: 5888/5913
Originally posted by Xkeeper
Especially in the US, where any sort of financial education appears to be completely missing


It almost seems intentional, as if credit card companies lobby grade schools to avoid the subject so that they can target them with predatory interest rates in college. I guess it's just one of those things people expect parents to teach their kids about but too many parents don't.
Tarale
Posts: 951/1876
Originally posted by Xkeeper
It's a really great method if you want to start educating younger people how to deal with their money. Teenagers and kids, with allowances.

Especially in the US, where any sort of financial education appears to be completely missing

Absolutely! Also good for people who don't trust internet banking/contactless payments/technology. Which… probably isn't anyone here.

And good if you need to be sneaky too, as cash can be hidden from the government, abusive partners, etc, and the envelopes generate no paper trail. Although again I doubt anyone here is in a position to need to protect themselves this way.
Xkeeper
Posts: 22335/24691
It's a really great method if you want to start educating younger people how to deal with their money. Teenagers and kids, with allowances.

Especially in the US, where any sort of financial education appears to be completely missing
Tarale
Posts: 947/1876
Originally posted by Xkeeper
The envelope method works a lot better if you're cash-only, but in more modern times it's a lot more difficult because you can't really put cards in envelopes

You totally can! It just doesn't work the same! And so convenient these days thanks to contactless payments!

Yes, it's extremely cash based, which is it's biggest drawback. I also wouldn't be comfortable having envelopes around that have as much money in them as some of my YNAB categories… especially rainy day funds.

On the other hand it's very cheap and simple. No special software or spreadsheets, no subscription fees, no expense tracking (when the envelope is empty you're just shit out of luck). But, unless you prefer to work with cash, I'd probably only recommend it to help put the brakes on overspending before moving on to something more sophisticated.
Xkeeper
Posts: 22332/24691
The envelope method works a lot better if you're cash-only, but in more modern times it's a lot more difficult because you can't really put cards in envelopes
Tarale
Posts: 944/1876
OMG YES YNAB

I'm also a YNAB user, but there are other ways to do a zero-based budget (a budget where every dollar you earn is allocated to a task ahead of time, including savings), if you don't want to pay subscription fees. Before I used YNAB, I used a spreadsheet that made sure my income minus expenditure added up to zero. Big problem was tracking and updating things. YNAB is definitely a lot easier to keep up-to-date than a spreadsheet.

For a very simple solution, you could use the envelope method. You just put your allowance for certain things into envelopes labelled with your budget categories. I used to have envelopes for groceries, bills, games, etc. Just chuck an amount of money into the envelopes each pay. Very old-fashioned, but it works. Allows you to save up incrementally for larger expenses, and avoid overspending. Very cheap to implement. Not very good if you want to go cashless.
Orlandu
Posts: 5883/5913
We don't actually use Mint, I just know it has some budgeting and expense tracking capabilities and was free compared to YNAB.

My wife and I use a convoluted spreadsheet to track everything and we have our's planned out through January 2019 currently. Everything from school supplies budgeting, paying off credit cards in order from highest to lowest, medical expenses from the upcoming baby, etc. It's complicated but I've budgeted practically my entire adult life so it's second nature to me by now.
Sponty
Posts: 10948/11090
Originally posted by Xkeeper
I tried Mint but I didn't like it at all and it didn't feel like I was really budgeting as much as just watching my money disappear.

It's better than nothing, but there's some weird missing features. Their budget page subtracts your budgets from your estimated monthly income, then shows how much you have leftover, but then it fails to take into account any bill payments? Even though they're already recognized as bills on the overview page.

Regardless, it's a step up from the alternative "spend money and hope I can make bills at the end of the month" philosophy I used to have.
Xkeeper
Posts: 22309/24691
That's why the idea of YNAB isn't to watch your money, it's to sort your money into piles of what you can spend. I don't look at my account and go "ooh, $20,000, I can buy all sorts of stuff", I look at my fun budget and see $150 and know that's what I can spend.

I tried Mint but I didn't like it at all and it didn't feel like I was really budgeting as much as just watching my money disappear.
Sponty
Posts: 10946/11090
Originally posted by FieryIce
Way to go making me feel inadequate Xkeeper I don't keep a budget :/ I do look at my expenses at the end of every month and go on "damage control" mode the next month if a particular month got out of hand, though. It's probably the worst system, but it works for me because I am thrifty by nature

Oh this is my system! Except I overspend way too often.
Though I just synced up all my accounts to Mint with some budgets and paying off credit card debt goals, I'm kinda hoping that'll help me keep a better handle on it. I have no problems watching my money (I've gotten legitimate anxiety when my online banking was down for maintenance) it's just... not spending it that's the problem.
Xkeeper
Posts: 22307/24691
Different things work for different people. Budgeting like this helps me keep track of everything. If you don't have much to keep track of (live alone, that sort of thing) then you have less need for it.
FieryIce
Posts: 4073/4118
Way to go making me feel inadequate Xkeeper I don't keep a budget :/ I do look at my expenses at the end of every month and go on "damage control" mode the next month if a particular month got out of hand, though. It's probably the worst system, but it works for me because I am thrifty by nature
Xkeeper
Posts: 22304/24691
Originally posted by Sanqui
Right now, my main concern is

1. Entering everything in
2. Eventually getting useful information out, such as what whether I'm within my income, how much did a vacation cost total, and where most of my money goes in general, to see if there are places I can easily cut back.

I'm not too concerned about having categories assigned budgets just yet, in fact I need to figure out those categories first. (Not paying rent, although that might change soon.)

You have to assign categories to know where stuff is going. Even if you don't budget for it yet, breaking them down is good (and you can always just use your monthly expenses for those categories as next month's budget, to start.)


Yeah, we've used Settle Up in the past with some friends, and it works well. But it feels like I should be entering these into my budgeting as well. Sometimes I pay for people without expecting money back, also, of course. Do I split the bill between "eating out" and "paying for somebody else"?

Personally I put it under "eating out", period.


Similarly, when another person pays for me, I feel obliged towards them, and I feel like it's technically money I "would have spent [on eating out]". Maybe I should enter both an expense and an income from the friend. But, really, I'm probably overthinking things.

I think you are over-thinking it. If your friend wasn't paying, perhaps you would not have gone at all; now your budget needs to support imaginary numbers, too


Either way, I can't justify paying for YNAB just yet. (I'm aware they give 12 months for free to students, but then I'm concerned about being locked in.)

I may have a solution...
Sanqui
Posts: 1547/1761
Originally posted by Orlandu
Try Mint.com. It's free, offers pretty basic budgeting and expense tracking. You can even connect to your bank account directly. It will automatically add transactions and categorize them based on the vendor, or you can adjust the category manually if need be. Their mobile app is pretty easy to use and intuitive.



...yeah this won't do.
Orlandu
Posts: 5880/5913
Originally posted by Sanqui
Either way, I can't justify paying for YNAB just yet. (I'm aware they give 12 months for free to students, but then I'm concerned about being locked in.)


Try Mint.com. It's free, offers pretty basic budgeting and expense tracking. You can even connect to your bank account directly. It will automatically add transactions and categorize them based on the vendor, or you can adjust the category manually if need be. Their mobile app is pretty easy to use and intuitive.
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Jul - General Chat - Budgeting and expense tracking



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