Day 184 Budget program

For a long time now my husband and I have kept track of our savings and spending using budgeting programs on our computer. We record pretty much every cent we spend so we know where the money is going.

Recently we bought a new Apple Mac Mini so our old software is no longer compatible. We downloaded and tried out a couple of free software programs but have not been to happy with the performance of these. I have been persevering with one anyway just so we can keep track of things as usual but after today we have decided that we really don’t need to do this any more.

There are two reasons for this. One is that we have now paid off our home loan so we don’t need to keep track. Nor do we need to keep track our spending so much either since not having a home loan means we have a lot more disposable income. But the best reason is that today when I was inputting and balancing our spending against the online banking statement I noticed that there was very little to keep track of any more.

The input went a bit like this…

groceries, groceries, groceries, groceries,auto (gas/petrol), groceries, groceries, groceries, groceries,auto (gas/petrol), groceries, groceries, groceries, groceries,auto (gas/petrol).

As you can see, we really don’t do a lot of shopping these days except to buy groceries or fill up the car and motorbike. The bit of cash that goes in my wallet usually goes on having coffee with friends, more groceries and hand outs to our son for school supplies and other incidentals.

Most other things we buy replace an old favourite, so there isn’t any clutter coming into our house to take the place of the stuff heading out the door. This is the key to staying decluttered and it also means we have more savings to spend on the things that are more important to us like:

  • A nice meal out together occasionally
  • Travel
  • Being able to get the car serviced without having to worry where the money is coming from
  • If any unexpected medical expenses crop up we have nothing to worry about except our health

I am sure there are many more things but these are the few that jump into my head immediately.

With that accomplished the next target is to get my husband semi-retired by the time he turns fifty.


More personal clutter ready for the recycling bin

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Continue reading with these posts:

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Wow…you all’s house is paid off and you aren’t even 50 years old! You all really do have a lot of discretionary income.

    • Hi Young Mogul,
      thanks for dropping by. Like your grandma (I checked out your blog) we have always done well by being fairly sensible about our spending. I can mend and make things myself so that really helps when you are trying to be frugal and I am good at getting a bargain. My husband has a good job with lots of benifits and that kept us financally secure. I had been left a small inheritance by my grandmother when I was 16 which we used for the deposit on our first home. We bought into the housing market at a very low price and upgraded later on so we have never thrown ourselves in the deep end so to speak. I believe that all those things combined is what has got us to where we are today.

  2. This is my dream. We are working hard at getting everything paid off so that we only have utilities, groceries and gasoline. Congratulations.

  3. What an accomplishment Colleen! Congratulations!

  4. Ooo, congratulations!! That is absolutely wonderful!! What a great freedom that is. ^___^ Is it alright if I ask which budgeting program you originally used?

    • Hi Ginger,
      We have used both Quicken and Microsoft Money over the year and both have been good.

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for that, it is a little scary taking the next step but once the kids are self-sufficient the daily living costs will be greatly reduced. That is the biggest hurdle I think and one we have no control over.

  5. Well done Colleen.
    I can’t wait till that is us! I’m hoping we can pay off our mortgage by mid-next year, which is pretty good on one income! My contribution is that I’ve saved us thousands of dollars for the past 3-4 years by minimal shopping 🙂 It is certainly more than I would have earned working part-time and paying childcare/out of school hours care.

    • Hi Loretta,
      sounds like you and I have a similar lifestyle. I also have only worked (paid work that is) about 7 years part time out of 23 years of marriage. I was a stay at home mum for most of that and only worked once the kids were big enough to take care of themselves after school. I still feel even though my husband has been the bread winner in the family my contribution of spending wisely and being capable of making, mending and doing all household duties not to mention being the odd jobs man has freed him up to consentrate on his career makes me an equal partner in the achievement.

  6. Thank you very much Colleen! As I dig deeper into college, expenses really stack up and I’ve been researching ways to better organize it all to help the mental process. ._.

  7. Congratulations, Colleen. Getting your DH retired by 50 is a wonderful goal. Onwards & upwards!

    • Hi Meg,
      thanks mate. We plan on doing regular travelling around the world. Maybe we will be in your neighbourhood one day.

      Hi Ginger,
      it is may pleasure. It makes it easier to budget when you can see where your money is going.

  8. Hm. I think it’s fabulous that your finances have opened up. You mentioned retirement, though… Having a “zero based” budget, meaning all of your income is accounted for, is great for saving money to go into retirement, even if you don’t have a lot of expenses. That will get you where you’re going faster. Unchecked, you’re more likely to spend, even if you’re not bringing clutter home. The beauty is that you don’t even need a software program (though you can get Quicken free version for Mac on their website). We sit down once a month for about 10 minutes and voila! We use an excel spreadsheet, but we also know people who do it on paper as well. We started this process before we got married and we’ve managed to pay down scads of debt with every dollar allocated to a purpose, even if it’s giving it away to charity or buying birthday gifts or eating dinner out.

  9. Wow. Heh. I didn’t mean that to sound as preachy as it might have come off. I’m passionate about getting people to financial security. We volunteer for our church to help with their financial programs and such. But we don’t get paid to do it or anything so I’m definitely not “selling” anything. 😉

    • Hi Carrie B,
      No offense taken. There is more to our finances than meets the eye or that about to reveal here. Thank you for the advise though.

  10. We use YNAB, You Need A Budget for our finances and
    it has helped a lot.
    Try it and see what you think. There is a free trial and lots
    of good info and videos on the website.

    • Hi Amy,
      welcome to my comments I believe I haven’t heard from you before. Thank you for that tip. Did you also know that some banks are now starting to integrate these kinds of programs into their online banking sites. So while you are checking off your account you can nominate a category to each transaction thus balancing and keep a track of your budget all at the same time.

  11. Yes, I’m on a road trip but I have a few minutes to get online so I checked in. AND YES! It’s great to have most of the bills be groceries. I remember when we hit no more home loan status. What a freeing experience. Congrats to you!

    • Thanks Willow,
      one day we might even buy a house and live in it this time, that would be a novel experience. One thing is for sure, it won’t be big.