Friday, 12 January 2018

Accounts Explained

Lily asked me to explain how my accounts book worked. I have to say first of all that it's a bit labour intensive so not for everyone but it lets me see where the money goes each month/ year and gives me plans for cutting down. Not sure it actually helps me save but...........

Each month is a two page spread. On the right hand side are the subjects I've spent on. There are 25 (plus food) subjects but of course not all are used each month so they fit in the top half of a page.
The subjects are
  • House stuff
  • Cat
  • Charity
  • Blue car
  • Grey car
  • Garden
  • Wild birds
  • Grandchildren
  • Health
  • Laundry
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • All Christmas
  • Other gifts
  • Phone/computer
  • Heating oil,electric and LPG
  • Sewer/water
  • Insurances - (not car) and Council Tax
  • Sue
  • Colin
  • Beach hut
  • TV/DVD
  • Clothes/shoes
  • Postage
  • Misc other things .
Bottom half of page is Food Columns

Date  Fresh    Fresh      Fridge          Store          Takeaway or     Fresh Fish/       Milk          Junk!
          Veg       Fruit       /Freezer    Cupboard        Eating out          Meat

The left hand page is money in and notes about spending.

When I write things down I round up or down to 50p/£1 which helps makes adding easier.

An example of how the pages look......... a part of May 2017...........

Heating Oil - £412
Xmas - Basket £3 + £2+ Candles £2+ £3 = £10
Clothes - Col Belt £5+Col Trousers £15= £20
Health 50p+50p = £1
Cat - £10 + £7 = £17
Grey Car - Diesel £25+£15+Tax £30+ £17+Cam belt, service and MOT £463 =£550 (Ouch- if Col was well, he would have done most of the service himself and it would have been a lot less.)
 Water - £34 (That was before the meter was fitted)

After 12 months all the totals for each subject are added together on the next 2 pages. So I know that postage cost me £46 last year (including Christmas, sending ebay parcels and bubble wrap but a note tells me  I have lots of stamps left). Things that go in the bathroom/toilet like loo roll, toothpaste, shampoo, non slip bath mat etc etc cost us £94 which seems too much but I still have a couple of dozen loo rolls . As for how much I spent on second-hand books..........that's a secret between me and the accounts book! But as most of the books came from charity shops or charity book sales I could fiddle the accounts and move that spending to the charity column..........

As I said at the beginning this probably doesn't help me save any money but at least I know where it's gone.

Thank you for all the kind comments last time and Sooze asked if it helped me to talk about hospital stuff on here - it certainly does because if I put Col updates on the blog then I don't have to talk about it, because friends and family can read the blog and then they don't have to ring me up!!

Back Soon


  1. That really is a very detailed breakdown of spending. I'm impressed. Mine isn't nearly so informative.
    I have two pages. The first one is for income, savings and standing orders/direct debits, most of which are monthly. The second page is for spending - date, to whom, how much and what it was. As a result, I know exactly where I am as far as money in the bank is concerned but not necessarily specifically what it buys, particularly the food/home stuff shopping. I visit my online account nearly every day and update so I know if I need to move anything from one account to another, etc.
    J x

  2. Actually, writing purchases down in whatever format is paramount to curbing spending. I always advise this to those new to budgeting to keep a little pocket book and write every single purchase down. Those new to budgeting usually have purchase amnesia (similar to calorie intake amnesia I think?!)

  3. Thanks for this post.
    I think the most important thing you said was that writing down how Col is helps you because you don't have to keep repeating yourself.
    I'm sure it helps your family and friends too.
    I've been in situations where I’ve wanted to ring up to ask how a friend is but not wanted to disturb someone's badly needed rest etc. It's sometimes hard to judge how to care for the career!
    I feel very privileged that you also share the news with those of us who are just online “friends”.
    On a lighter note I love your idea of switching the cost of books to your Charity column!
    I often try to justify my book purchases thus in my head.
    I find it very difficult to walk past books without having a look but am trying to resist temptation this year. The trouble is when I read recommendations in your blog etc...........
    I do hope that Col is feeling better when you next visit him . Sue

    1. Nobody could say it wasn't a Good Thing to donate £30 to the NSPCC ( thats the Colchester sale) or £12 to a small village church ( thats the St James South Elmham sale.)!!

    2. Absolutely!

  4. Yes, thank you for posting this. If by your example it can keep others on track with their spending, it will have been very worthwhile. I do hope Col's health improves and it certainly isn't easy for you, being so far away and unable to visit each and every day. Very best wishes from me here in Devon.
    Margaret P

  5. Thank you tor showing us how you do your accounts and I agree that keeping track is good. I have been looking at online delivery from S****burys which is offering an excellent money off discount for home delivery. Because I have been completely housebound for two weeks recently, I was thinking it may be good to have a trial run and buy the heavy stuff and maybe some larder stuff. Going to look into it more thoroughly today and see what it entails. I’m glad you are able to talk about Col on your blog and hope he’s improving each day. Catriona

  6. Thank goodness I don't have to keep such stringent accounts, I'm not even close to being organised enough!
    When my mum was in hospital with CMML, her two sisters, and usually two or three of her friends would ring me every evening to ask how she was. I know it was because they cared, but it was utterly exhausting. I was still working then, so had to do evening visits, getting home at 8-30. The phone calls would start at 8-45 ish, and go on until 10-30 or so. As I used to get up for work at 5-30 every morning, I was not thrilled that I had no time to myself. I wish there had been a blog to put news on, it would have saved me a lot of time and stress. Use this blog to save you some time, to, if not actually relax, de-stress a little. All good wishes to Col, and you, the unsung heroine of the piece. X

  7. Your accounts remind me of the farm accounts with all the headings and categories. These were used for helpful end of year analysis and also made the final accounts prepared by the Accountant much easier. He used to commend us on them. Your accounts are well worthy of such commendation. I keep a small cash book of outgoings and incomings since I retired which I find helps me to focus on what exactly I am doing with my money. Thank you.

  8. It is good to write it all down, there are many people who don't understand why they have no money left.

  9. Wow you do go into a lot of detail! I must admit that I just try to stick to certain amounts. It would be interesting to write it all down to see where money does go and how easily it adds up.

  10. It's the writing it down, and for me posting about some things on my blog, that keep us accountable and makes us realise where savings can be made isn't it. Actually seeing your money in black and white and in cash in your purse rather than on cards keeps it so real.

    And yes I totally agree about your donations to charity :-)

    A lot of my family have kept in touch with our exploits via my old blog so yes it is a good way to spread news, especially news that is as important as Col's health, to all your family and friends. It must save so much time not having to tell everyone individually on the phone.

    1. I'm much better at writing on a blog rather than talking on the phone

  11. I really don't know how you manage to keep up this method of cashbook Sue - I would love to do it but I know I couldn't maintain it for one month, let alone a year.

    1. I've been doing it for years.....and years. And the same sort of thing for the campsite and smallholding for tax returns

  12. I kept a similar detailed accounting on the computer for the first six years of my retirement. But last year part way through the year I just gave up. I'm not sure why. I like your idea of paper and pencil and it is early enough in the year that I might give it a go.

  13. Thank you Sue for doing this post, i have some account books here somewhere that i never started so now i will do. Lily.

  14. Knowing where your money is going is half the battle.

    God bless.

  15. What a thorough system you have for tracking your spending, Sue. I wish I was so meticulous! I hope the doctors will soon get to the bottom of what's going on with your Col at the moment. It must be so difficult when the hospital is so far away, hard for visitors and for Col too. Meg Xx

  16. I know exactly what you mean about updating everyone. It's exhausting leaving your loved one at the hospital then having to ring round everyone or answer the phone repeating yourself when all you want to do is just sit with a brew and zone out - which is what I wanted the most. But then there's that sense of duty and that sense of get a grip, you are ok, you are not the one in hospital, how selfish you are. We've a lot of aches and pains here and a six month scan coming up. Both petrified of the news. Ugh. Cancer is the flipping pits. Sorry to come on here and moan away.
    As for the accounts..I'd be too shocked and appaulled of how much money we spend on stuff! Ignorance is bliss! You may need to take me in hand!!!