Let it be released from the mind

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

evaluating expenses

I love the technology and programs that Bank of America has put together for managing finances. They recently answered my prayers in re: to managing my "portfolio". So in the recent past you have been able to allocate any debits from the checking account to the type of expense it is--restaurants/dining, groceries, gasoline, paychecks, entertainment, mortgage, utilities, etc. This would then roll up into a budgeting analysis in pie graph form (and who doesn't love pie graphs?!?) to show you how your money was being spent over the course of time. You could analyze your expenses over 3 months, 6 months, one year, etc.

Now they've added a new component to this to make it even more efficient. You can now split your transactions to more accurately reflect the expenses. Before I would pay $670 on a credit card bill, and I would just allocate it towards whatever the greatest single expense was on that bill. Now I can split the transaction to say that $200 went to groceries, $150 to gasoline and the remainder to entertainment. This system is really only effective if you can link your credit cards to your checking account, and if you use your debit card a lot to take directly from yoru checking.

Because of our recent purchase of a used canoe, and having 1.4 million tickets to college football games, our entertainment expenses have now pummeled two former champion categories including mortgage. It's interesting when you look at expenses for a whole year.
Some interesting things I found looking at our expenses for ONE YEAR:

  • my gasoline bill was the same as the amount we spent on clothes and shoes for one year--3.34% of our total expenses for each

  • We spent close to the same amount on our travel as we did on our groceries, 7.11% and 8.11% respectively.

  • We are very giving people, and spent the same on gifts to others as we did on dining out for a whole year--6.36% and 6.29% respectively

  • All expenses related to our house totalled 9.42%, largely because of our expensive cable and telephone bills. When you combine this with our mortgage expenses of 31% we are living above what an acceptable range is for living expenses.

  • My gasoline costs have increased recently by .91% of our total expenses (from 3.34 to 4.25%) in the last three months despite me carpooling 2-3 days a week religiously.


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Chris said...

If you enjoy the personal finance tracking, you should check out mint.com

It's real simple, and I find it pretty useful for expense tracking, fun graphs, etc...


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