The Sunday WSJ on Tracking Where Your Money Goes

  • Thread starter Retired Coal Miner
  • Start date

R

Retired Coal Miner

The online Sunday Wall Street Journal has a column named 'GETTING GOING' which
is devoted to personal financial advice and comments.

The Sunday WSJ online is free access. Today's column is "Where Does Your Money
Go? Find Out". Opening Quote: "I'm talking about your money, specifically the
paycheck you get every week or two weeks or each month. You deposit it and
pretty soon you realize that most of it is gone."

I don't want to give away the entire thing, but it does involve the use of 3x5
index cards. Link: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121226759448935495.html

And in all fairness, unless we Money users track pocket/personal cash, we
really don't know where that is going, either.
http://groups.google.com/group/micr...hread/dc8616104f578310/fe6b8bd8c8cb2e50?hl=en

And I want to add here, if you use a smartphone/PDA application that syncs
with Money (i.e., UltraSoft Money), and track your pocket cash in a separate
account, it works very, very nicely. UltraSoft Money even allows a 2-to-1
arrangement, two different handhelds sync to one Money file. Getting your wife
to use this consistently, however, is a monumental challenge.
 
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C

Chris Cowles

Retired Coal Miner said:
I don't want to give away the entire thing, but it does involve the use of 3x5
index cards. Link: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121226759448935495.html

And in all fairness, unless we Money users track pocket/personal cash, we
really don't know where that is going, either.
I have occasionally tracked every penny I spent. I consistently concluded that the cash that I usually don't track is immaterial. Tracking it wouldn't change what I do with it, and changing what I do with it would not have an affect on my overall budget.

My experience will not be the same as everyone else's, because I use a credit card for almost everything. If you don't do that, or use paper checks or debit cards, cash becomes a significant part of your budget, and SHOULD be tracked in detail.
 
R

Retired Coal Miner

After tracking all my pocket cash for a few months, I sort of come to the same
conclusion. The amount I spend on the four main categories is not going to
change much, a few percent as most.

And those four categories account for 89% of the pocket cash I spend. It
was, and still is, interesting to see the top payees by amount. Guessing at
these before doing the actual tracking, I would not have gotten them correct.
Or even come close.

In my case it has changed how I spend on a few certain things. Impulse
purchases at convenience stores is a big one. I used to go in for a newspaper
and come out with a few extra things, a drink, life savers, and maybe
something passing for a quick meal. Now it's just a newspaper and
occasionally something to drink.
 
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D

Dick Watson

We here are a highly self-selected subset of the population--we already
know/care about this stuff and know the answers for our personal cases
already.

But I think there are a LOT of people who would benefit from doing something
like what the article suggests. MAybe they won't get so into it that the
tuble to using a computer to do the drudge work. (Some of us tumbled ot this
two decades ago or more.) But at least they'd have a clue.

I also think that the issue for lots of people is a lot bigger than the
"pocket change" aspect. I'm thinking of the kinds of people that view the
minimum payment on the CC statement as the expense they are trying to manage.
 

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