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What kinds of expenses should I enter? Should I include things like my mortgage? Or do I only enter in things that shift around (like dining out and entertainment)?

Ultimately, it depends on the questions you’re trying to answer.

Most people are trying to answer something like this: “Out of the money that’s come in, and the money that’s committed to immovable expenses (like my mortgage / insurance / car payment / other things), what’s left for my discretionary spending (on stuff like entertainment / dining out / clothing)?” In cases like that, we recommend entering in every receipt, even for expenses where you don’t actually get a bill (like if your insurance is auto-drafted from your checking account).

That being said, you’ll probably notice that there are a few categories that are especially problematic for you and your family. (Dining out is a big one.) Even though you’re entering in receipts in lots of categories, you’d do well to pay special attention to those “trouble” categories in particular.


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