Getting my head around our finances

British money

One of the reasons that I’ve not been blogging as much as I would have liked to these last few weeks is that I’ve been trying to get my head around our finances. It’s not been a particularly easy task, but it’s been very rewarding.

Like many people, I imagine, for many years I’ve had a rather unhealthy approach to managing my finances. It’s involved largely of two key components:

  1. Ignoring them
  2. Saying things like “We’ll be fine …!”

Microsoft Money

Because I’m a computery kind of a guy, I’ve been using Microsoft Money 2004 to manage the data about all of our accounts, transactions, withdrawals and deposits. It’s been laborious and time-consuming but well worth it. Our accounts in Microsoft Money go back to 1998, when I was a lowly theology student in Edinburgh.

I love how Microsoft Money allows me to run reports on existing transactions, set up ‘what if…’ scenarios and set budgets. It keeps me right. It’s just such a shame that

Discoveries

I’ve discovered all sorts of things like the house insurance we were paying for 3 years on a flat we no longer lived in! And the breakdown cover on the washing machine that went to the tip 6 months ago. Ahem!

I was amazed too at how many transactions I remembered making, even going back 5 or 6 years.

Here are a few totals that took me a little by surprise. This is table of the accumulated totals spent between 1998-2010 at the following stores:

Company Total
Argos £2,344.99
Boots £6,840.51
Co-op £18,108.47
DVLA £1,235.75
Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op £1,448.07
Esso £5,877.91
HMV £2,019.22
Tesco £20,916.67

Graph

I love that we’ve spent more at the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative than paid car tax to the DVLA.

But those Tesco total and Co-op totals … that’s an awful lot of Clubcard and Dividend points.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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