Well boy is MY face red!
I was going over my budget spreadsheet and noticed that the total spending for the month was way over what it should have been on the first day of the month.
I had entered the amount for rent and the phone bill but the total spending was not equal to the sum of the individual categories. I remembered that I had made some changes to the budget spreadsheet recently and I knew that Mint was not synced with my spreadsheet but I never paid attention to that. This month I saw that the amounts were grossly out of sync so I decided to take a look at my totals once again.
I found out that I had been incorrectly adding up the outflow column because I was using the sum function. The cells that I was adding up included a few rows at the bottom of the spreadsheet which were subtotals for some minor spending categories.
I was double counting those amounts and overstating my spending, in some cases up to $650!!!!
I went back and removed those extra rows from the sum function and immediately saw my spending figures drop back to a better level. This means that some of my “Monthly Financial Checkup” posts have figures that were too high and my total spending for the year is actually better than I had previously listed.
This is excellent news for me because it means that I was not doing as badly as I thought at first and I was managing my budget really well.
I have adjusted the figures and will be reporting the correct yearly totals at my next monthly Financial Checkup.
It’s always good to find out that you spend less than you though, unfortunately for most of us the opposite, usually we think that we spend less than what we actually spend
There were some months like that for me but since I started using my credit cards exclusively and ditched the cash I now have a record of every single transaction in Mint….as well as when I manually enter them in my spreadsheet so I know what I spend down to the last cent.
Oops! We all make mistakes…I agree with the first comment, better to find out that you have spent less rather than more than you thought.
I will check out Mint now that you mentioned it. Thanks for the tip. I have a question though, when you say that your spreadsheet and Mint were not synced…Can Mint actually sync from your spreadsheet or are you doing the syncing manually? Just wondering….
I guess sync was the wrong word. Mint was not matching up with what I had entered in the spreadsheet. I would enter all receipts in the spreadsheet daily but since some things took a day or two to update on Mint the spreadsheet was always ahead. Mint would catch up in a day or two and by the end of the month the totals would be the same.
When I messed up the spreadsheet the two totals NEVER matched up but I just did not think about it too much.
I too used to keep a tab of everything that I spent…but stopped as it was sooo depressing and stopped me from “living…” You are a long time dead so long as you have SOME money behind you for a rainy day you have to balance saving with actually having a life….
It is important to manage the numbers right in a budget, as important to follow a budget to 100%.
Oh, that’s really great. Somehow, magically you actually have more cash, it seems, haha!
Thats great that you were able to pin point it before it got too out of hand. At least you caught that mistake now, rather than later!
No need to be red faced as mistakes happen and the fact you are keeping track means you are far more financially aware than most.
Hahaha, I make many similar mistakes in Excel. I am always cutting and copying things around and my equations get so messed up. It is good that you caught the mistake though, it will make your budget work much better.