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zespri
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  #1170348 6-Nov-2014 21:33
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heapsort: Given there has been some mention of budget tools (well, just YNAB) I hope it's not too off-topic to ask if anyone here uses (or has used) heaps! which is a free online tool from KiwiBank.


Funny story about that. About 2 years after I divorced my first wife, I signed up for heaps!. The sign up process was unfriendly (in that, that right after sign up the account was not functional and there was no clear message indicating that I should wait. I wrote to support, did not get a reply. In 24 hours time I was able to log on successfully. In about 8 days (!) I received a pre-canned message about apologizing for inconvenience and telling that an engineer is looking at it. In another 3 days, it was followed up by an email saying that the problem is now resolved. But I digress.).

So I signed up to heaps! and I looked at the statement (transaction) area. To my great surprise I saw a recent statement form my ex-wife credit card, along with a statement from my own. I phoned her and asked "did you recently spent 25.18$ in Gilmours on your kiwibank credit card?" And she was like, "How do you know?"

I closed my heaps! account the same day and never looked back.


Disrespective

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  #1170470 7-Nov-2014 08:52
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Elpie:
Disrespective: I've been using some software called You Need A Budget for nearly a year now and have noticed that our monthly grocery bill feels ridiculously high on average. 
 


How do you find that software? Is it really worth the $60 cost? I was somewhat interested in trying it out but am kinda put off by the Dropbox side of things.
Well, it's good. And it's not so good. 

I'll explain. It's very good at having me dissect our spending habits and understand where our money is going. It is also good at getting me to think about how we should be spending/saving our money on a monthly/yearly basis. It's not good at getting me to check our spending down to the dollar (because i'm lazy and YNAB doesn't make me) and only works if both spending parties are using it. 

Essentially it breaks the year down into months which you then populate with all of your expenditures as you see fit. You can be as micro or macro as you want here. We just have groceries and eating/drinking out as our food categories but you could break it down further into vegetables, cosmetics, etc etc but that would require retaining receipts and counting every dollar properly. 

I have been using it really to just keep track of the bulk of our funds and starting to tighten things up a little so we can save a bit more. 

I feel like it falls down a little with how it manages the monthly income/expenditures though. 

You are supposed to allocate a monetary amount to each category and then review this as the month progresses. The idea is that at the end of the month you can see what things you went over budget on, and what things you came under budget on. You can then reallocate your income for the month and effectively zero the over budget areas with your savings from previous months. 

The whole point of YNAB is to have enough savings to be able to spend savings on the monthly expenses and then save all the months income for the next month. To be fully buffered. It's a great idea but in practice it is difficult to do if you were like us (one income, one baby, lots of expenses).

The dropbox component is irrelevant for me. I have an account and it just syncs automatically. It's good because it lets my iPad sync up with my Mac and PC based YNAB updates though. It's a set and forget thing. I don't care about the security side of it as I don't think anyone would find my spending habits interesting. 

 
 
 
 


alasta
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  #1170494 7-Nov-2014 09:17
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Disrespective: You are supposed to allocate a monetary amount to each category and then review this as the month progresses. The idea is that at the end of the month you can see what things you went over budget on, and what things you came under budget on. You can then reallocate your income for the month and effectively zero the over budget areas with your savings from previous months. 

The whole point of YNAB is to have enough savings to be able to spend savings on the monthly expenses and then save all the months income for the next month. To be fully buffered. It's a great idea but in practice it is difficult to do if you were like us (one income, one baby, lots of expenses). 


When you receive income you have the option to classify it as 'income available this month' or 'income available next month'. I always select the former.

The idea of living off last month's income is good if you are new to personal budgeting and you need some discipline, but I prefer not to use this functionality given that I already know that I have an adequete cash buffer.

Elpie
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  #1170534 7-Nov-2014 09:37
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Thanks for the feedback. I've got a good spreadsheet setup but end up keeping a pile of till receipts that never get entered. So, something that would allow easy input on the go appeals to me. 

 

 

 

The Dropbox thing does bother me. If spending habits and data had no value then OneCard and FlyBuys wouldn't exist. 

alasta
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  #1170546 7-Nov-2014 10:04
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Elpie: Thanks for the feedback. I've got a good spreadsheet setup but end up keeping a pile of till receipts that never get entered. So, something that would allow easy input on the go appeals to me. 


I personally prefer to import transactions from my bank accounts on a weekly basis as I find manual data entry very tedious, but there is an iPhone app available which allows you to manually log transactions on the go if you want to do it that way. Make sure you do your bank reconciliations - most people hate doing them but it's an important process to trap any errors or omissions in the transactions you're logging.

The Dropbox thing does bother me. If spending habits and data had no value then OneCard and FlyBuys wouldn't exist. 


It's my understanding that you only need Dropbox if you're going to use the iPhone and iPad apps. You won't require it if you just want to use the desktop version.

SepticSceptic
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  #1170579 7-Nov-2014 10:14
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About $240 per fortnight, for a full grocery shop, including meat, veges, cleaning product, chook food, 2 wine casks, etc. 2 adults only, though we have the family roast night every Sunday night, and that varies between 4 - 7 adult sittings. Lamb roast, chook roast, heaps of roast vegies.

Usually shop at Countdown - the aisles are better organised.

Work off a shopping list.

I work on the theory that 2/3rd of the receipt should be for deeply discounted specials, multibuys, etc. I hunt down the specials by looking at the top and bottom of the shelves, away from the paid-for product placements at eye-level.

Stock up on specials - the pantry tends to be always full - usually with multibuys, etc. At the moment, there are at least 3 bottles of Paul Newmans salad dressings, just waiting for the summer salads, of which I grow most of. :-)

Half-price perishables that are well discounted. Straight into the freezer when I get home.  Best time to get these are 8:00pm onwards :-)

Generally don't buy out of season vegies - ie capsicum can be obtained in a jar - 6-7 for $4.00 or so. Tomatoes, around a buck a tin.

I preserve a fair bit - blackberry and apple jam, boil down chook carcases for stock, sun dry tomatoes. Large jars of tomato paste get slopped into ice-cube trays, and then into the freezer. Last years pumpkins, either bought for $1.00, or grown, stored carefully, has just finished about a month ago.

Also buy in bulk from Binn Inn, especially for herbs n spices - a fraction of the cost as compared to supermarkets.

Mad Butcher when they have good specials, like Premium mince for 10.00 kilo, etc.

Do a fair amount of slow cook / pressure cooking as well. Great for curry in a hurry :-)





My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


Stu

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  #1170666 7-Nov-2014 11:44
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We usually buy our meat from the Mad Butcher. Closest store isn't always the best quality but one about 20 minutes away is excellent (and next door to a Bakers Delight, which can be dangerous).




Keep calm, and carry on posting.


 
 
 
 


Disrespective

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  #1170705 7-Nov-2014 12:20
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alasta:
Elpie: Thanks for the feedback. I've got a good spreadsheet setup but end up keeping a pile of till receipts that never get entered. So, something that would allow easy input on the go appeals to me. 


I personally prefer to import transactions from my bank accounts on a weekly basis as I find manual data entry very tedious, but there is an iPhone app available which allows you to manually log transactions on the go if you want to do it that way. Make sure you do your bank reconciliations - most people hate doing them but it's an important process to trap any errors or omissions in the transactions you're logging.

The Dropbox thing does bother me. If spending habits and data had no value then OneCard and FlyBuys wouldn't exist. 


It's my understanding that you only need Dropbox if you're going to use the iPhone and iPad apps. You won't require it if you just want to use the desktop version.
Yeah, both points are true. I download my transactions weekly and import them. This doesn't allow me fine grained control over exactly what was bought from the supermarket though. 

Indeed, living off last months income is preferred but our reserves dried up a long time ago and we are finally getting some back now that we are on more than one income again. I always enter income as available this month unless it's within a few days of the next calendar month anyway. 

The idea with YNAB is to be flexible. Don't get bogged down with counting pennies or cutting off your power because you are going to over spend. For me it's an analysis tool which helps to understand what our money is doing. No more. 

markoneswift
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  #1172153 10-Nov-2014 12:15
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This topic is great, a good eye opener for a UK ex-pat who is still trying to get to grips with the 'real' cost of living in NZ :-)

We have six ( soon to be five ) in our house - me and the wife, 21 y/o daughter, 17 y/o son, 16 y/o daughter, 12 y/o son. Our groceries run us about $250 for a 'big shop' per week which is mostly Countdown / New World, occasionally Pak n Save. Top ups to that $250 probably run to $50 / $60 in additional milk, sandwich stuff, odd bottle of wine. We eat simple meals, a lot of mince, chicken and sausages. Chicken here in NZ is daylight robbery, it has to be said. Probably the meat we like to eat the most and it's very flexible in terms of meals but boy is it pricey !

We maybe spend $100 - $120 a month on a few takeways / pizzas / chips at the beach and maybe one nice meal out ( which with six can cost us $150 or more in one hit ). We are not big earners and have very little left at the end of a fortnight, but we have a nice house in a great area of Hamilton and live reasonably well.

Cheers

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