How closely do you track your expenses?

Even before the advent of software tracking like Quicken, the spouse and I kept track of every penny. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re so compatible. When we first started dating, he found out I kept a ledger documenting expenses. I found out he kept a lined spreadsheet doing the same. It really helped in those early years to have similar spending and saving goals. As I’ve said before, part of the reason we have money is because we chose not to spend it. Our first savings account morphed into the kid’s college account. A simple commitment to pay ourselves first has really made the difference.

So, now that the oldest is launched, we’re encouraging him to do the same. We tell him there’s absolutely no excuse for not knowing where your money goes. Instead of the Quicken software his parents have used for years, he chose Mint.com. His most important reason for the choice is that he runs mostly Linux software – after all, he’s a Linux programmer – and the popular expense tracking programs one might install on a computer don’t support the platform. His early reviews are promising.

Do you keep track? More so now than a couple of years ago? Americans are saving more than in the recent past. Do you find yourself doing so as well?

No, money isn’t everything, but it’s darn hard to function without it.

Comments

  1. Wilson828 says:

    We’ve done the same thing. We pay ourselves first. Took full advantage of 401K plans. Steady savings over time. Investing in the stock market. We paid for our kids education in full. We were able to help our kid buy his first home when he got married. And we have a nest egg. Because we saved. We also spent a lot. And still spend a lot. We save a big percentage of our income and the rest we spend – all of it. But the key is what you said, you pay yourself first. In the early years sometimes the phone company or electric company didn’t get paid right away. I always got paid first and on time. That’s the difference. Tracking software was less important – but we used Quicken when we did. Tracking expenses helps to identify leaks. And the other trick when you’re young and starting is to invest aggressively. Putting your money is a sissy fund – interest bearing – will get you no where. Long haul investing pays big over time. A young kid needs to understand that.

  2. I will be interested in what your son finds with Mint. I started a Mint account earlier this year – but then pulled it when the husband freaked out about having all of our various accounts information in one place. I saw his point.

  3. Yes, I thought of that, too. I guess they are little accounts at this point, so it can’t be too bad yet.

  4. Great job Cindy on raising financially responsible children!!!

    If anyone is interested, http://www.daveramsey.com is an excellent resource to get young (and old) adults started in the right direction.

  5. How interesting, that is what #2 and I are doing (daveramsey’s class).

  6. Yes, dear DIL, it’s one of the things that makes me think you and #2 will be just fine.