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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 =)


“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?

No Seether concert for me

Last week I headed off to Cavendish Square to buy a birthday pressie for Miss Boats and I decided to take a chance and pop in to Computicket to buy tickets for the Seether concert next month. I say “take a chance” because that particular branch of Computicket is NEVER online. Perhaps it’s just my bad luck but honestly, every time I go in there to buy tickets there’s a problem with their internet connection and I have to leave ticketless. Anyway, I walk in and tell them what I want to buy and, true as Bob, the guy can’t connect to their online system, AGAIN! So, I spot the manageress there, tell her AGAIN how disappointed I am, how ridiculous it is that they don’t have a decent internet connection to run an online system, yadda, yadda, yadda. And, once AGAIN, I leave there dejected and ticketless. Bummed.

So I try their public site, which I absolutely detest using – it’s the most piss poor excuse for a website I’ve seen in a long time – and wouldn’t you know it, I’m half way through the purchasing process and the bloody thing breaks on me! Grrrrr.

Well, perhaps everything DOES happen for reason … I’ve just had a peak at my credit card statement. YIKES!! Oh dear, not a pretty sight at all. Damn, I’ve gone a bit overboard of late and I’m going to have to tighten things up a bit (ok, a lot) on the money front. That sadly means no concert tickets for yours truly. It’s a pity – I was looking forward to seeing Seether live and giving the boys a surprise treat.

Oh well, I’ll live …

This is not what I ordered

Today was supposed to be good.

Today was supposed to be my time to relax and regroup.

Today was supposed to be about no distractions.

Today was supposed to be stress free.

So far it’s everything BUT ….

Thanks to another blow up with the eldest, I am fighting angry tears of frustration and wondering why I just can’t seem to get a break.

Despite having a conversation with him just a day ago about finances, he phoned and asked for more money (I have already given him quite a bit extra for the school holidays). I said it could come out of next month’s pocket money. Fine, no problem. I emailed the ex to tell him my concern over the boy’s spending habits and lack of financial awareness, asked for his help to try and teach him about living within a budget. The ex is an accountant, so one would think this stuff is second nature to him.

Then he phoned a short while later … Why haven’t I transferred the money to his account yet? I explained that I only had cash and that I didn’t have the money in my account to transfer to him. He could not accept that. He was at the shop and wanted it immediately. I got angry. There was nothing left in my account to transfer. He put the phone down on me. I sms’d him to tell him that he was behaving like a spoilt brat. He responded by telling me to chill, to stop calling him names and that he had put the phone down on me because of my mood swings and that is what he’d been told to do …..

WTF???? What the hell am I supposed to say to that? So I said nothing. I emailed the ex again to tell him the story and asked if he had issued the instruction to hang up on me. I was livid. I left the cash I had promised my eldest in his room, together with a note stating that I would keep my word about that money but that it was the last of what I was prepared to give him, that he should consider the Mom Bank CLOSED. Why the hell should I share my hard-earned salary with someone who treats me like crap? He does NOTHING to deserve it!!

He came home much later, a quick stop to pick up some clothes for the weekend with his father, and wanted to have a quick “chat”. Dad was waiting in the car; I told him it was not the time for a chat. He got really upset, grabbed the cash I had left and threw it down outside saying he didn’t want it. Then he left.

A few hours later I got another sms from him to say he thinks its best if lives somewhere else. I couldn’t agree more! In theory, that’s a wonderful idea, but where? His father, who is never in town, lives miles away from his school and friends. No boarding school will ever accept him.

I don’t know what the solution is; I don’t know why this keeps happening or what to do anymore. Why can’t I get through to him? I’ve had enough of talking, of trying to teach him the right thing, of giving him chances to redeem himself, of being his emotional punch bag. I can’t cope with all the shit he dishes out to me. I’ve had enough of living with someone who is only concerned with their own agenda. If he doesn’t get his own way, if I don’t give in to his every whim, he makes my life miserable. I’m so tired of it. Where’s the change he promised? I can’t change things and I certainly can’t fix anything. And I’m so over talking about it.

It’s all so unnecessary. It’s all so crazy. It’s all so draining.

Years and years of emotional trauma – when do I get a break? Is it ever going to end?

So now it’s lunchtime on my day off and it’s been a rough morning. I managed to drag myself out of bed after a terrible night, get dressed and feed the animals. I was going to go to gym but I am really sore from yesterday’s session, so I’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Pity. That was going to be my outing – gym was going to be my opportunity to get out the house today.

I have a ton of chores to do, my domestic and personal “to do” list is massive. But do I really want to be doing that stuff today? Not a frigging chance. So I guess I’ll sit in the garden and read or something. I have to do something to take my mind off how shitty I feel right now.

Life really sucks sometimes.