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Tinkering with Tracking

January 13th, 2021 at 07:07 pm

Part of my personality is that I get frustrated with inaction - if I have a goal, I want to always be doing something towards it.  Since this doesn't necessarily work for debt payoff (since I only get paid twice a month, and there's just not a realistic expectation that I can do something tangible towards this goal every day), I am constantly tinkering with the tools I use for financial management, because it makes me feel like I'm doing something lol.  This does often lead to overengineering of my spreadsheet, but I also really enjoy playing with spreadsheets. 

Way back in 2002, I started developing the spreadsheet I call my budget.  That's not reeeeally an accurate name, but good as any.  The main tab is a grid of what needs to be paid out of each pay period through the year (which means that on payday, I just pull it up and it takes 10 min max to pay all of my bills - I don't pay bills when they're due, I pay them on the payday prior).  Over the nineteen years since I started doing it this way (holy crap how did that happen?!), I've added a lot of other tabs to track different things that I've wanted to keep an eye on depending on what my goals were that year.

One thing that I haven't really tracked is spending.  For a long time, I had two jobs - my day job, and a second job 4-6 nights a week where I made almost as much (if not more sometimes) as my day job.  Day job was for bills, night job was for living and playing.   Once I stopped working my night job, I had to figure out how to fund my living and playing expenses.  That was 7 years ago and it's been a long time coming that I actually started tracking.  

So I recently added 2 new sections to my spreadsheet. 

The first is to track spending.  My plan is to track, by category, everything I spend on non-bills.  So far, my categories are alcohol, grocery/household, toiletries, car/auto, medical, office supplies, and miscellaneous.

The second was borne out of my post to document a 2021 baseline of where all of my debt & savings stood as of 1/1/21.  I decided to go ahead and create a tab for that, that will also calculate the net change in dollars and in %.  I'm planning to update this monthly to give myself a little bit of a boost when I feel like I'm not making any progress.  Numbers don't lie Smile

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