For years, I tracked every single expense in our budget. I would enter everything from our credit card statements, our bank transactions, and logged how much cash we went through. I stopped about 6 months ago. It wasn’t a conscious decision as much as a necessity based on time. Pet sitting has become a full time job, we still have our online job, and we have friends and family to see whenever we actually can steal hours here and there.
I Stopped Detailed Tracking
So I stopped tracking every expense. And our finances are still doing well. Woot!
I haven’t stopped reviewing every expense though. I still make sure we are the only ones spending our money. I also do quick calculations in my head so we know if we need to hold ourselves back a bit with eating out or stuff like that. And I add up the credit card totals so I can ensure we aren’t going nuts. But I don’t spend 2+ hours every month on the numbers.
Basically, I pay off our credit cards, move set amounts into savings like our car fund and property tax savings account, and see what’s left. If there isn’t much, I figure out why. If it’s overspending, we rein it in. If it is because we paid estimated quarterly taxes or some big, one-time expense ate the extra, we transfer that money from the appropriate savings account and into our checking account to be divided between our savings goals as normal.
Eating Out More
This has been working pretty well so far. We have splurged a bit more than usual on fast food and restaurants, but we are away from home on pet sitting jobs more often too. I’ve started buying groceries when I’m staying somewhere more than a couple of days, like the 15 days straight of overnight pet sitting that I’m doing right now.
But for days where I’m just gone all day driving from one pet to the next, picking up a gyro from a mom and pop place just makes more sense than trying to work in a stop at my kitchen. Or meeting my husband for dinner at a place between us is the only way we’ll get to see each other. And I am trying to eat healthier restaurant food than I normally do (a $4 Vietnamese sandwich or $8 gyro instead of a $3-$5 fast food summer combo), so that has increased the costs about $100+ a month. But our income is up from $2000-ish a month from pet sitting to $4000+ a month, so I’m cool with the change.
Enjoying Our Kitchen When We’re In It
When we are at home, we cook. Hubby has made some delicious corn and crab bisque that I ate in 2-3 days. I grilled up burgers and hot dogs that we munched on for 4-5 days. He made a great chicken etouffee and that lasted us for 3-4 meals too. We really can also enjoy simple peanut butter and jam sandwiches with fresh fruit we pick up on the way home from our last job.
It’s a busy lifestyle that is allowing me to listen to a book on cd every 4-5 days, but it’s been fun meeting all of the animals and showing their humans that they can trust someone while they are away.
Have you ever tracked every expense? Do you still? What works for you?