Thursday, October 16, 2008

Too Many Receipts

This, my friends, is two months worth of debit receipts which have been hiding out either in my purse, my husband's wallet or a manila envelope I use for storing them until I record them in my check register.

Now please, for those of you who balance your checkbook every month down to the penny, please don't think any less of me because I don't. I have never been able to do that, no matter how hard I tried. I do keep track of my balance by viewing my account regularly on-line and checking what has cleared against what has been hiding out in my purse.

And today, I entered all the receipts into my check register. We have Quicken which also can help you with a budget and generate spending reports for you. I know I do not use this software to it's full potential but one of these days, very soon, I hope to be able to. after entering all debits and credits I generated a spending report for groceries and auto fuel.


First of all, we have been spending about twice what I thought we were on gas. Of course, these days that's not hard to do. But the reason it surprised me was because I stay home. A lot. However, when I do go out, it's usually to our nearest large town to do grocery shopping. Said large town is approximately 60 miles away. We have a Ford Focus and get anywhere from 28 to 32 miles to the gallon but when gas is close to $4.00 a gallon it all adds up quickly. I am going to start thinking twice about quick trips around the town we live in though. Those miles can add up quickly too.

Our grocery spending was also more than I originally thought. During the Spring and Summer months I wasn't able to make as many trips to "our nearest large town" and so I bought groceries in small quantities from our local markets. Let's just say that while we are blessed to have three supermarkets in a town of 7500 people, they aren't exactly discount markets. We do have a W*lM*rt in town but it's not a Super one and judging from the Super ones I have been in I don't know that I would be inclined to shop for my groceries there anyway.

So how am I going to tackle these two areas? Well that there my friends is a good question. We have pretty well stripped all other areas down to bare bones but we can do some good work in these areas I think.

#1 - less trips anywhere. Period. There are places we can walk to easily and to our health's benefit. Time to get out the walking shoes. (I need to lose ten pounds anyway.)

#2 - make more food from scratch. I have already started to do this. Bread in particular. I haven't done an actual cost breakdown of how much a loaf of homemade bread costs compared to a store bought loaf but I'm willing to wager it's less than the $3.00 a loaf I can expect to pay locally.

#3 - some friends and I are going to start some "co-op" buying. We have yet to work out all the details but when we do I'll let you know how we do. Some things we have considered co-oping include flour, sugar, meat, paper products and other staples. We are also working on a plan to coordinate our garden produce.

#4 - eliminate as many "in between" trips to the local grocery store as possible. This will take a considerable bit more planning on my part to make sure I purchase all that we will need when I make my trip to "the nearest large town".

These are just some initial steps to stem the flow of blood cash from our wallet. Some other resources I plan on utilizing are The Tightwad Gazette, borrowed from the library, of course. And I'm going to be reading a lot more over at this gentleman's blog, The Simple Dollar. I've only just begun to do some reading over there but what I've read so far seems practical and useful.

So what I'm thinking is...if I do less spending (always a good thing) I will have less receipts to enter in my check register. If I have less receipts to enter I might be more inclined to get them entered in a timely fashion and then there will not be a pile like the one in the picture.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I admire your intitiative, Girl. Go get 'em!

Anonymous said...

Hey woman-

It was great to see you on Tuesday!

We have had Quicken since about March, and I LOVE it. I, too, took a look at the spending report on fuel and groceries the other day. Seems to be the most shocking/interesting areas. I love their register, because it types almost everything for you with just a couple of letters, on entries from the same place.

Fred made me a small wooden block, with a nail coming out of it, and he sanded off the top. We use this to 'store' our receipts until I can get around to entering them (it is great if you don't mind small holes in your receipts). He is very well trained. When they pile up, I realize I need to get busy.

Good for you for trying to make some changes. This whole 'financial stuff' is really a challenge. They should require high school students to take a class on taking care of these things.

Love ya-Frances

Anonymous said...

Hey Cyndy, thanks for sharing your great ideas!

love, Tina :)

skoots1mom said...

makes sense 2 all i have to do it DO IT!
isn't it amazing how much we can save when we really try?!

BOO to U!! : )