Happy New Year everyone!
"Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it."
— L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)
Same can be said for 2011- so let's make it a good one! Take advantage of it being a new year and instead of writing a list of everything you want to do better/new/differently - start doing them! We don't get to the top of the mountain if we spend all our time planning on it. Sometimes you just have to go for it, one step at a time.
So this month in my au pair household we are trying something new. We have a set amount we can spend on grocceries for the next 3 months. We are in competition with another family to not spend more then that. But how exactly does one keep track of everything they spend? That question had me thinking today because I will most likely be the person responsible for keeping track of where the money goes. On my last computer I had the program Quicken which can be fantastic if you are really into finances and keeping track of things. My current computer does not have Quicken and I was thinking of something a little bit simpler because all I'm doing is keeping track of receipts. Today I started looking online for a bit of help and came up with a solution.
It wasn't my first choice but due to living outside the USA I couldn't be picky. A lot of free software has restrictions as to where it is used and living in Denmark makes it difficult to find something. This site allows you to log how much you spend or receive in particular categories. All I need it to do is keep track of groceries and it looks just about perfect for that. I'll still have to investigate it more though and try it out.
Now, the first part to tracking and saving money is usually finding out what you are spending it on. Often times it's the little things that add up- kind of like, going shopping and buying a bottle of water while you are out. It doesn't cost much, but multiply it by how many times you do that a week, x52 weeks. So the first two weeks of January will likely entail finding out where the money goes. The second two will be used to figure out how to cut back.
One other site that looked interesting was:
You can't use it outside the US as far as I know- however it would have been my first choice.
I don't think my host family and I are the only one's who could learn how to become more money concious. I read a quote the other day which talked about the Obama's Christmas vacation costing us about $1.5 million. OUCH? Like really? Maybe we all have to try to do things a bit less expensively. A few less trips to Hawaii.... a few less golfing days.... but hey, you're only president/president's wife/president's kids for a few years, so why not take advantage of it? And have you ever noticed how much easier it is to spend someone elses money and how you usually think twice when it comes to spending your own money? Maybe if they pulled the money out of their own pockets they would spend less.
CHEERS for the new year!