Question: Hi Charlie — do you know of anyone that uses your Pear Budget simply to track expenses? I mean not put in any budget — just enter receipts? It seems to confuse me with the budget, then spent, not spent. I might get the hang eventually, but for now would just like to track expenses. Do you think this would work? Thanks.
Answer: I think that would absolutely work. In fact, that’s a great way to get started with it. It’s only once you have a “baseline” of what’s “normal” that you can begin to adjust your spending based on where you want to go. You could say, for example, that you want to spend no more than $20 a month dining out. But if you’re currently spending $200 a month (that is, if $200 is “normal” for you), it’s going to be VERY hard to adjust down to $20 a month. So tracking expenses without worrying about the planned budget numbers is a fine way to go. If you get to a point where you’re comfortable with what you’re tracking, you can then begin to set goals, and say things like “if we want to set aside that $1,000 for a vacation, we should spend a little less on _________.”