Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Insights from

Going over my trends for the past couple years, I noticed a few things I thought were somewhat cool. In no particular order:
  • 75% of my out-of-pocket expenses are for housing and communications - mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and all utilities including TV, Internet, and phone.
  • I spend more for Verizon Wireless than I spend at Walmart. To be fair, my Verizon bill covers five people. To be unfair, Walmart covers the majority of my grocery expenses and cat food and litter. To be fair again, I eat out quite a bit, so groceries are cheap.
  • I will also spend more for Verizon Wireless than I spend on eating out, once figures include a full 24 months of Verizon bills.
  • I spend a lot at Chili's ($800), and it is probably worth getting any discounted gift cards I see.
  • My expenses have actually gone up since I've started paying attention to them. Every month, I've spent more in 2010 than 2009. I've also had more cash on hand.
  • It's very important to set up renaming rules right when the name of a merchant changes for whatever reason. From that point on, it becomes automatic.
  • Rollover budgets are great in theory, but end up making the overall totals meaningless as they drift way negative or way over budget. Really, the budget feature itself is not as informative as the Trends tab.
  • "In the past 30 days, you spent $309.62 on Clothing. Usually you spend $9." That $9/month is inflated because it includes a tuxedo rental and a bunch of clothes that weren't actually mine. In other words, I spend very little on clothes.
  • It is also important to realize tax refunds are income that the government held for you, and not taxes. Assigning tax refunds to the 'Taxes' category can result in negative spending for the month, which looks awkward.

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