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Old 03-30-2008, 05:49 PM
22 posts, read 83,279 times
Reputation: 18


For everyone close to retirement, I suggest doing the following to get a good picture of your expenses.

My Wife & I both have checking accounts. Everything that we spend, whether writing a check, ATM withdraws or using check cards (EFT), is automatically recorded in our checking accounts.

With QUICKEN, you have the ability to download your checking accounts to your QUICKEN Program.

At that point both of our checking registers can be combined.

EVERYTHING that we spend goes thru our checking.

You can do the same thing without QUICKEN manually adding up your check register. At this point you can run reports using any time period you wish to select.

Even if you transfer monies into your checking from an outside source such as savings, IRS refunds, ect, you still have an accurate spending record.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:16 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
30,677 posts, read 49,430,310 times
Reputation: 19129
At several times in our life we have done very strict budgets. Recording every penny that goes through our hands for a month.

For us it is the only sure and absolute method of seeing exactly where the money went and what can be done to increase our investments.

If 'quicken' works for you, then use it.

We have never used an ATM. We have settled however on using our CCs a lot. Obviously we do not maintain a balance, as we do not allow ourselves to carry debt. CC monthly statements document nicely all of a month's spending. Twelve CC monthly statements document all of our annual money flow, which we use for tax filing.

No receipts, and we can use those CC statements to itemize our taxes.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:33 PM
16,437 posts, read 19,131,529 times
Reputation: 9518
Good tip. I never thought of that!
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:30 PM
48,516 posts, read 83,901,398 times
Reputation: 18049
My wife and I use credit cards that we pay at the end of the month in full and they give us a good idea of where we spend the money. We also write some checks but they cost more ( we use stub checks) and we get money back on the credit cards.Twice a year for a month we keep all recepts;record them on a cost accounting program to review our spending habits.My wife does cost accountiing at work.
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:09 AM
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,049,244 times
Reputation: 2141
I also us CC for most purchases with a cash back and I always pay it off every month. I've used Quicken for years and years to log every purchase except for some petty cash. I used to track the cash too but find just the flow of cash to be adequate as I don't use it much. So I have known exactly where I've spent money for a long, long time.

That made it easy to set up my budgets in a spreadsheet and then project the budgets into my first 5 or so years of retirement. I plugged in my retirement income into the out-years budgets so I could see how it works.

I also do my taxes in a spreadsheet so I plugged my retirement numbers into the taxes to get a good estimate of my tax returns then. Once the work is done in creating a spreadsheet, it is really easy to do projections and alternates.

Unless I've made some mistakes in my calculations, I should be very secure in my retirement. All the calculations give me confidence that it will work out well.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:25 AM
3,751 posts, read 9,600,559 times
Reputation: 7034
We have been documenting our spending since before 1986. Not to the penny but carefully. Use CCs to keep track and reconcile often. Hardly ever write a check.

As a result of the documentation, we can tell clearly how much we will need to retire and make very rational decisions on line items. For example, I know our pets will cost us an average of $1000 per year over the long term. Some years less and some more but a good average is $1000. I can see how our grocery and eating out has changed over time. Now it is more grocery as we are eating better at home.

Not only will budgets and tracking help get you out of debt, but it allows much better future decision making. Hubby uses Quicken and some self developed spreadsheets. Since 86, we have always made our projected new worth increases.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:39 PM
Location: Lovelock, NV - Anchorage, AK
1,195 posts, read 4,992,946 times
Reputation: 465
I do think that a good accounting program is great for tracking your expenses, this will also allow you to analyze where you need to tighten up and budget it better. I've several times have transfered our records into a quicken and quickbooks not a big fan of quicken after using quickbooks but any who it tracks nicely
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:11 AM
22 posts, read 83,279 times
Reputation: 18
Default jimboy

My Debit card is attached to my checking account.
ATM withdraws out of my checking account.
If I have a large expense I transfer from Savings to Checking and write a check.


Maybe not golf bets that I may win, but I don't win that often anyhow.

Actually my checking statement shows me exactly what I spent for the year.

I would think that most retirees would want to know what they are spending, or should know.

Of course a lot of folks that I read about in this forum seem to be doing very well.
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:00 PM
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,200,766 times
Reputation: 14611
For folks with an accurate accounting of their expenses, it would be interesting if you shared your typical monthly costs for others to get an idea of the typical budget/costs to survive- especially for retirement on a limited income. In another retirement forum, we all posted our expenses (housing, insurance, health care, internet/phone, entertainment, etc.). It was interesting to see the variation and similarities.
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Old 04-04-2008, 07:33 AM
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,049,244 times
Reputation: 2141
How much a person spends on the same things can vary quite a bit. There are quite large regional differences. And there are lifestyle choices.

I'm not a big fan of Quicken either. A few years ago, it had my net worth listed as more than 10 times what I knew it could be (if only!) and I could not find where the error was. At some point that error disappeared and I don't know how. I'm highly educated and excelled in math and test computers for a living so I don't think it was my stupidity. After that, I plugged all my investments into a spreadsheet and did the net worth calculations from that. It is much more reliable than Quicken's calculations and actually matches the statements exactly.

I don't know what Quicken is doing, but the $$ calculations are just simple arithmetic so it shouldn't be mysterious. In my spreadsheets, I know exactly what it is doing.

I won't use a debit card. They are far too much risk. If it gets stolen, everything in that account can be taken in no time at all. If a CC gets stolen, I'm out no more than $50 and they usually waive that.
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