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On-the-go expense recording

My Dad’s always telling me that I should keep track of exactly how much I’m spending, that I would probably be really surprised to see where my money’s going at the end of every month … It’s not a bad idea and I KNOW I need to watch my money a lot closer than I do at the moment, especially as things are starting to get reeeeeally tight!

The trouble is, I *always* forget to record my personal expenses – I’ve tried to remember to make a note every time I spend money, but somehow I just never get there! The business is another story – I am meticulous about recording where every cent goes, but my personal finances are chaotic, to say the least. I lose track of stuff like how much I spend on groceries and pocket money dished out in dribs and drabs to the kids. I have endless receipts and little pieces of paper floating all over the place and it’s a nightmare!

Thanks to one of my Twitter contacts, geekrebel, I have now found an EXCELLENT way of keeping track of my personal day to day expenses =)

Xpenser

“Fire and Forget Expense Tracking. Record Your Expenses as soon as you incur them, using Xpenser.

We were fed up with how painful expense reports and tracking were. After many experiments we found a workable solution: record expenses as soon as they happen and forget about them.

Xpenser lets you do just that – record expenses via whatever means are available to you quickly and painlessly. Send them in via Email, SMS, IM, or voice … Use the Web interface to edit and finalize them or export them to your favorite financial management software. No more forgetting your cash expenses, no more half-day expense entry sessions.”

I’ve set up Xpenser to work with my Twitter account so I can DM (Direct Message) my expenses to the service from my mobile while I’m out and about.

I’ve also tested out the email option and that works perfectly too (no more scraps of paper to keep track of YAY!).

If I had an IM service like Google Talk or MSN, I could use that as well.

I can insert keywords with each expense and then log in to the website to generate expense reports using the keywords I select, e.g. petrol or food or pocket money, and export the reports for various applications, including Excel.

Pretty nifty hey? I think it’s a winner =)

Things are looking a bit grim

The petrol price is going up again next week by 50c/litre, it looks like interests rates are set to rise again and Eskom has announced that prices will double in the next 5 years.

In fact, Eskom warns that there could even be a total blackout if we can’t decrease the demand for power or come up with the money for massive infrastructure developments (huh?). That’s according to Jacob Maroga, CE of Eskom Holdings at a Mail & Guardian business breakfast yesterday, as reported by IT Online. He went on to say: “”What happens if there is a full blackout is that the entire system collapses – and when this happens it could take two weeks to recover.”

Holy cow! That’s very scary.

This picture is not looking good for us at all and I am worried. Are we going to see interest rates hitting 25.5% again? Those days were oh so tough; I dread to think we’re going back there again. Even if they don’t quite reach those heights, the effect is still painful. There are so many people already living below the breadline, it’s distressing to think how this is affecting them.

What needs to happen for our economy to improve? I have no clue, I know nothing about economics but with the soaring food and fuel prices we are definitely facing hard times ahead. Methinks it’ll be very difficult to make ends meet unless I make a conscious, concerted effort to save money where I can.

Shower with a friend, hey? =)

No, seriously, here are some of my ideas to save money and power at home:

  1. Make sure I draw up a budget for each month and stick to it
  2. Pay off my debt – start with the smaller loans first
  3. Take my credit card out of my purse and leave it at home
  4. Pay for purchases on a cash-only basis
  5. Avoid window shopping – too much temptation
  6. Buy in bulk where possible
  7. Start cooking more – no more takeaways and convenience foods
  8. Water down some beverages to make them go further
  9. Continue with switching off lights and unused appliances
  10. Use the fireplace and hot water bottles more, heaters less
  11. Turn the geyser off during the day
  12. Forget about my bi-annual trip to the hairdresser
  13. Cut down on smoking
  14. Ask the kids to reduce phone time
  15. Place all saved monies into an investment account

 What else? Any other ideas?

Dental woes

Tomorrow morning I have a 2 hour appointment at the dentist for a root canal treatment – part 1 of nearly R30 000 worth of work I need to have done in my mouth. Bang goes my credit card! I broke nearly half my tooth off on a piece of biltong a while back and despite a temporary filling, it’s been getting quite sore lately. Oh, I am SO not looking forward to the pain tomorrow – last time I had a RCT the local anesthetic refused to do its work and I felt every damn thing ……!!