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Fourth Biggest Expense - "Cash"

September 28th, 2008 at 06:18 am

I'm mortified to find that the fourth-biggest expense we had in the 2007/2008 year was the category called "Cash". This is the category I use when I'm categorizing any withdrawal from either my husband's savings account, or my chequing account.

The total for the year: $6357.59! When I break it down, it's "only" $66/week for each of us, which on the face of it is reasonable. When I think that every year, each of us could buy a $10000 strip bond with that money instead, it sure starts to seem like a lot.

The worst part is that with one exception, we don't really know what we spent that money on. We use it for lunches out, haircuts, library fines for overdue books, my son's allowance, the occasional take-out coffee for me, and I'm not sure what else.

The exception is my husband's monthly transit passes, which in Toronto cost $109. Those should absolutely be tracked separately, especially since we can get an income tax rebate on them now. We can also order a year's worth ahead of time, which has three benefits - it saves $9/month, we get them in the mail ahead of time, and the expenditure will be clearly marked in our chequing account when they withdraw the money.

It's clear what we really need to do - start writing down what we spend! In a way, it's our third-biggest expense, since the "Auto" category was only so high because of the camper-van purchase. We've made half-hearted attempts to do this in the past, but never really managed to keep it up. It's time now.

2 Responses to “Fourth Biggest Expense - "Cash"”

  1. scfr Says:

    An alternate idea would be to give yourselves cash allowances ... for example, $20 per week ... and once that is gone, no raiding the piggy bank. No lunches out or take-away coffee until the next week.

    Good luck!

  2. baselle Says:

    Noting the half hearted money journal attempt:
    Try to keep that money journal for at least a month. Writing in a little notebook or on an index card with an envelope to collect receipts worked for me. If you can't at least have both of you collect receipts & empty the wallets of them daily.

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