The Target problem: Managing (over)spending at the Everything Store

Target and other big retailers that sell a wide range of products present a challenge to those who wish to track their spending. Target has been around for decades, but it only hit my radar in college, when the first … Read MoreRead More

Make your bills less lumpy

There is a difference between bills and expenses. A lot of people who talk about personal finance don’t distinguish between them. They say it’s all your “outgo” or just “what you spend money on”. But a car insurance payment is … Read MoreRead More

ATM withdrawal

Another way to track cash expenses

People have very widely varying attitudes toward cash. While some people feel money more when they spend cash, other people don’t feel it at all. In fact, the way some people have explained it to me, if the transaction doesn’t … Read MoreRead More

Floating ball

How float can help you track your expenses more effectively

Let’s talk about float. As I’ve defined it before, float is the money in your checking account that is above and beyond your paychecks. It is a cushion for your day-to-day balance changes. Having adequate float in your account is … Read MoreRead More


A photo finish is a good thing when budgeting

If you’re like me, you may procrastinate, but you don’t like it. You don’t enjoy waiting until the last minute to get things done. And in general, it feels better to have some leeway, rather than cutting things close. However, … Read MoreRead More

Falling sand grains

Does savings count as a bill or an expense?

I talk a lot about making plans for spending money, because you want to spend your money intentionally and not just let it happen. Moreover, the objective is not to spend as little as possible, but just the right amount … Read MoreRead More

Adventure silhouette

How to keep track of your expenses while traveling

Another question that was asked after a recent meeting of the Portland Integrative Finance Community was regarding expense tracking and traveling, namely: “How do you overcome the challenges of tracking expenses while traveling?” Ooh, another great question! Gosh, if the … Read MoreRead More

Blue corner

What to do when you have extra category money at the end of the month

At the most recent gathering of the Portland Integrative Finance Community (join for free here), we had a frank and engaging discussion about the challenges and the benefits of tracking your expenses each and every month, something I’ve done for … Read MoreRead More

What to do about employee expenses

  I currently have a “day job”, as my own projects, such as my integrative financial coaching service, aren’t self-sustaining (yet). As part of this day job, I’m sometimes asked to travel. It’s always on the company dime, but nevertheless, it’s … Read MoreRead More

Income, Bills, and Expenses: a glossary

  I often capitalize three specific words when talking about personal finance: Income, Bills, and Expenses. I’ve defined these ideas in different posts throughout the history of this site, but I’ve found that I haven’t actually devoted a place to … Read MoreRead More