Thursday, January 22, 2015

Your Turn Challenge: Day 4 - Crunched

Your Turn Challenge - Day #4

I spend A LOT of money at Chipotle.

And it's increasing. It's getting out of hand, and I'm worried about what this will mean for 2015.

Ok, let me take a step back for a second.

First of all, this is my 4th post in 4 days. Pat on the back for me.

Now the Your Turn prompt for today is: "Teach us something that you do well."

Well, I do so many things well, it's hard to choose. The way I'm using this blog, teaching you how to sing, play guitar, perform correct squats or take amazing selfies would be challenging.

Those will have to wait until another day.

There IS one obscure talent that I possess, one that I would be willing to share with you. And that superpower analysis.

I love number crunching. Spreadsheets and charts. Especially related to personal finance. I can track spending habits and alter my budgets like no tomorrow.

I actually do this for fun, just because I'm a curious cat named Whiskers. At times I can become quite obsessive about it.

Very few people know this about me...until now.

To give you a glimpse into this deep dark secret of mine, and to reveal the magic that will make your financial life significantly less abysmal, I decided to jump onto to get some of my personal data and show you how it's done.

And that's when I found out I have a Chipotle problem.

(.......OK. I give up. 
I've been sitting at my keyboard motionless for over a minute trying to think of some burrito-related pun, but nothing's appearing. The best I can do is to say that my brain is not BEAN very cooperative...) is a website that's owned by Intuit, the same company that produces Quicken, Quickbooks, and TurboTax. 

Since I signed on in 2010, the site has had secure access (as secure as a secure website online can be anyway) to my financial accounts online and is updated automatically. It has all my non-cash spending data since Oct. 2010.

Because of this, I know how much I've spent on travel, how much I've spent on my car, you name it.

I can also separate the transaction by place.

With this, I can answer: 
How often do I go to Best Buy?

When was the last time I went to Rocks & Ropes?

What's my average spending at Target? (Answer: WAY more than I planned to spend when I walked in. $87??! I wanted 1 toothbrush!)

Hmm...places. Well, what about Chipotle? I've been wondering how much I spend there.

When I sign in tonight, I click on Transactions, and then search for all of Chipotle. This is what I find:

Notice on the left all the accounts I have linked to it. That's a LOT to keep track of, but it's SUPER easy with this site. I don't have to keep signing into a dozen different websites and remember all the passwords.

Well, I like to play with the numbers, so I need to export them to Excel or another spreadsheet program.

I click on the "Export all 92 transactions," like so:

And voila! All the data from 4 years of eating at Chipotle on one sheet.

Now I get to manipulate it how I want.

Well what do I want to know?

First, how much I've spent per year. I'm curious.

I add new rows where the years end and begin, then do an Auto-sum.

I start with 2010. $24 total. For the whole year. Ha, I had yet to be enlightened.

2011. $71. Not too bad.

2012. Now it must be noted that this is the year I met my best friend, who's a Chipotle fanatic. However, I met him mid-November, not giving much time to affect the totals. In the end I bought enough burritos and tacos to fork over $131.50.

2013. Turns out I spent $304.51 at Chipotle. I had officially become an addict.

2014. My zeal had not waned. I ended this most recent year shelling out $365. 

That's right - exactly one dollar per day.

All in all, I've spent $906 since Oct. 2010. However, I've paid cash or with gift cards. So it's probably closer to $1,000. 

I wanted to see what that looked like as a graph, and here's an example:

Now what's my future look like?
From 2012 to 2013 there was a year over year increase of 130%! Then last year that slowed to just 20%. Still, if this year holds the same 20% increase as last year, I will spend $438 in 2015. 

I think I should take some of that money and buy some shares.

Well, there you have it. This is just one example of how I examine by spending habits and trends. 

To be honest, I'm not too worried about my spending at Chipotle. It's great food, and it's pretty good quality, so I'm willing to pay for it. 

For those judging my spending habits, I have my justifications. Unfortunately, if somebody wanted to go into a debate, most people couldn't compare my numbers to theirs because they don't have accurate numbers. Most people don't track their spending. 

It can be a pain, and you might be numbers-averse. But it's pretty dang important, so I challenge you to look into some personal spending apps like that make it really easy. (It's free by the way). 

If you start spending a little bit of time, month by month, you can build a history that will become really useful to you. 

I'll tell you what. Start doing this, make it a habit and I'll take you out to lunch. (the first 3 people who take me up on it. 

Then we can sit down and really TACO 'bout it. 


#yourturn #yourturnchallenge #day4 

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