Tracking My Expenses
I don’t track my expenses. I did previously try with many different apps I found in the App Store, some are free and some paid, installing and later un-installing those that I did not see fit.
Well, nothing fit me, as in I couldn’t keep up with the expense tracking. There was even an app that would give me notifications everyday at 6pm, notifying me to record my expenses of the day – most days I did not bother.
Some of the apps I remembered have a lot of drop down menus to choose from just to enter one expense entry. When you had grocery bags to lug, that’s the last thing you want to do.
Or maybe I was just plain lazy. Ha!
I even set up a whatsapp group for myself and husband. The idea was that we could each enter all our expenses of the day. It was a great idea – I learnt about it from one viral posting off Facebook. We had some traction on the first few days. Until husband kinda stopped doing so – he didn’t think that he needed to report every single thing such as an RM 3 Nescafe that he bought from the convenience store.
July & Aug 2018 Expenditure Tracking
I have since deleted the whatsapp group. Even I lost the momentum. It’s hard to do it on my own, let alone influencing another human being i.e. a spouse to join in.
Finally, I used a humble iphone Notes app to write down my expenses. I may have forgotten some, but to serve its purpose, I did track most of them back to my credit or debit card spendings, or any banking transactions I made.
It was quite a feat that I did did track my expenses for 2 months. Here’s what made me motivated:
- I was 2 months heading in into my maternity leave, which consisted of the paid leave and taking an extra month unpaid. I really wanted to know how I fared financially while I am working, and compare that with how I would be during the leave. (digress note: I could punch my male colleagues who said that I will be taking a ‘vacation’! Maternity leave is hard work man.. when was the last time you slept while sitting the entire night?! Or having sore back and hands..)
- Since I have a long commute everyday and a KL parking is super expensive, I know I could strike that off the expenses once my maternity leave kicks in. And I wanted to know what other expenses would come into play (if any), or would I be saving money especially with the 1 month unpaid leave coming.
My Expenditure Categories
I contemplated if I have the audacity to post my expenses..haha. I personally like reading other people’s expenditure reports, usually the insights part.
I also thought of what sorta categories my expenses are going to bucketed into. It somehow seemed natural that I bucketed it in these manner:
|Touch & Go|
|Clothing / Toiletries etc|
|Home (House #1)|
I might bucket things like ‘petrol’ , ‘Touch&Go’ and ‘parking’ into one category later when I do find a recording method that works best for me. Naturally, it came out into all these jumbles of categories because, it it easier for me to understand what calls for action I need to take if I see that any of the expenses go up.
For example, calls for action if I see a hike in my food expenses = probably to make homemade breakfast to work
A hike in expenses for House #2 (which is an Airbnb, btw) = I need to work on the marketing part
A hike in Touch & Go means that I need to travel less during the weekends. Or use my husband’s car (thus his Touch & Go). Haha kidding.
The Numbers Ain’t Gonna Lie
The top three biggest spending categories for both months were: House #3 (renovation, mortgage), House #1 (mortgage and including utility bills etc) and charity.
Anyway, here’s what I learnt tracking my expenses for the months of July and August:
1: I could have done a faster job with House #3
Anyway… It didn’t alarm me that the highest expenses by % go to my House #3. But… it was a 5-digit expenditure in July! I COULD FAINT WHEN I FOUND THAT OUT.. 3 MONTHS LATER..IN OCTOBER!!). Read about it in my renovation log series
Seriously, tallying it in hard numbers made my jaw dropped. Surely I didn’t spend a 5-digit in July just for House #3, yet the house was just being handed over by our makeover contractor, and yet to be tenanted? I thought I saved on the makeover costs, or foolishly did I not?
2: I could have prevented my cash from bleeding away further on House #3…
..had I been tracking my expenses sooner!
I wanted the expenses tracking habit to be some sort of a live-tracking of how much I have spent month-to-date. Though I don’t like budgeting, but at least it kinda keeps me in check of how much I have spent so far and if I could cut any of my expenses for that month. We’ll see how that goes.
3: Valuable insight on my parking expenses
My parking expenses for July was RM 272.70, which was similar to the monthly season pass fee in my workplace
Now I am shaking my head. I stopped subscribing to the season pass and opted to park at a subpar & cheaper parking lot 10 minutes walking distance, solely to reduce my parking expenses.. and I am suddenly finding out that I have been spending a similar amount???!
Because it is 10 mins walking distance away, sometimes I felt malas to do so, so I paid premium for parking fee just to be a 1 min walking from office entrance. And when I do that, it offsets all my desire to save for parking expenses.
You know lah KLCC parking fee, I could pay between RM 26 – 34 per day if I don’t subscribe to the season pass. If I am earlier than 9 am, I would get RM 18 early bird. Which I usually do, but there are times when I would be late in those months.
Anyway, I am seriously considering to get the season pass back. That 10 minutes earlier to be heading home is very tempting.
4: Potential savings to incur during maternity leave, but what am I exchanging them with?
I am potentially going to save more than RM 700 on transportation-related costs and food during maternity leave, but what other expenses will I incur?
As of writing, I am already incurring big expenses for House #2 by not renting the house out out of malas-ness (I have been homebound, confinement yo), therefore accumulating the instalment payment
I am also occasionally been online shopping. Which is rather strange had I not been homebound..as I don’t online shop much. Hah.. what confinement does to you.
5: We are on the brink of abandoning yet another house project
I bought a couple of DIY tooling, did a little bit then stopped.
Now having to concentrate on another more important house project.
I have been telling my sister and colleagues. Be thankful for a small house. You might have a big house, but when you have limited budget, you have empty unfurnished big house.
I don’t know how disciplined would I be to track my expenses. Already, I deliberately skipped tracking Sept expenses (it was an eventful month). I learnt having to jot it down the moment I have performed the transactions, even on the counter itself. So I would not forget. Whatever method I use, it needs to be very simple. No more complicated drop down menus.
Any app that is recommended? Did anyone tried tracking expenses and then stopped midway.. why..?