Daily Archives: October 21, 2008

An accounting.

A couple of day’s ago while reading iambossy.com I read about her Daily Poverty Party and decided to add my two cents, which today is worth much less. 

Two years ago, after Carol and I had finished a centuries long renovation of our home and the workers had all taken their tools and gone home, we looked around as the dust settled and realized just how much in debt we were. And then we both died.

Our debt was huge and our salaries were exhausted from trying to keep up with our spending. We were working 25 hours a day and falling further behind. Sound familiar?

Short of winning the lottery, increasing our income was not really a viable option, nor was hiding and hoping the debt would go away and bother someone else. We had to somehow control our spending.

Enter the humble little spreadsheet. Every Mac and every PC has them just sitting and waiting to help the helpless. I admit I was a tad skeptical when Carol first suggested it but, hey, I’m an oceandoggy kind of guy so what the hell? I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it.

We decided on how much we could spend and still service the debt and save a little and then we each built our own simple little spreadsheet to track monthly spending. Emphasis on SIMPLE. It it’s hard or a pain in the ass I’m not going to stick to it. I may try. I may even feel bad when I don’t. But I won’t.

My spreadsheet has all of four columns- Gas, Materials, Food & Beer, and Misc. There is a daily Total column and a column for any explanation of expenses I may need. There are 31 rows, one for each day of the month, a row totaling each column and a Grand Total. Thats it.

At the end of each day when I turn on my Mac, before I read e-mails, or blogs, or whatever, I empty my pockets of receipts and enter the amounts. The calculations imbedded in the cells take care of the rest. Now I can track my monthly spending and know right where I stand and if I can buy that new fishing pole or surfboard.

And you know what? It works.