Reviewing and analyzing my Quickbooks bar graphs and pie charts allows me to see if I’m improving and spending less from one year to the next on specific categories. Last year we moved from a rental house to an apartment. Most people would assume that this would be a cost-saving move; moving from a house to an apartment. However, it was more of a life style improvement that I had anticipated would cost a little more. Turns out I was right on target – comparing our housing costs and utilities from this time last year with the current year shows that we’ve increased our costs for housing and utilities by 3.52%. Now our utilities have actually decreased, but our rent increased by 21.5%. This wasn’t a surprise; obviously I had compared the monthly rent of both places, but also factored in lower utility costs and zero gardening/landscaping costs with an apartment. Overall, I think we’re doing quite well considering the increase in rent was significant. Another method some people like to use for fluctuating utility costs is balanced billing. I don’t use this method myself, but it can help by spreading out annual payments evenly throughout 12-months.

Other places we’re making progress:

  • Meals eaten out: last year it accounted for 3.49% of our expenses. This year it has accounted for 2.86% – a .63% reduction in spending
  • Personal items: last¬† year we spent 8.87% of our income at this time of year. This year it is 6.34% – a 2.53% reduction in spending
  • Office Supplies: last year we spent 2.78% of our income. This year we’ve only spent .23%¬† – a 2.55% reduction in spending
  • Web hosting: last year we spent 4.81% of our income to date. This year we’ve reduced it to 4.16% of our income – a savings of .65% (as the year progresses, so will our savings as I’ve reduced our hosting plan).

Other categories have remained about the same, such as groceries or Starbucks (even though I’m on a mission to reduce this category!), but the above four categories have made a big impact in our spending totaling a savings of 6.36% compared to last year.

As the year progresses, I should see a savings in Starbucks if I stick with my $50 a month limit. I would also like to reduce our meals out even more, but so far, so good.

I haven’t figured out how to calculate the percentage I’m saving using Quickbooks. If anyone knows how to categorize “savings” using the chart of accounts, please share!

Have you been tracking your progress? Do you use actual figures or percentages?


  1. Looks like you have your budget under control (except the rent part!). That’s one thing I hated about renting – used to dread lease renewals!

  2. Wow..I’m so impressed by the detail you track your expenses.

    I’ve recently decided it’s too much work to analyze my expenses to that level of granularity anymore. After tracking stuff for so many years, I know what my Achilles heels are (home improvements, vacations) and I also know that vacation budget needs to go up, now that my 2 year old can’t fly on my lap any longer.

    Great job on tightening your belt even further.

  3. You put me to shame in terms of tracking expenses. I had wanted to track more this year, but I swear there are really only 20 hours in a day now, someone stole 4 hours or something.

    Keep it up Little House!!

  4. Wow, you are really good at budgeting! It’s a skill I lack…

    I’m also impressed that you are using Quickbooks instead of Quicken for your budget. I guess since you probably use Quickbooks for your business though, that it makes sense to use it since it there!

    I hope you have fully recovered from your biking accident!

  5. youngandthrifty Reply

    Are your web hosting costs decreased due to a higher income too this year for blogging?

    I don’t have Quickbooks or Quicken- I really should get it more organized. Which one do you recommend?

    Have you thought of buying a $50 gift card to starbucks each month? and if you use it all up, then you’ll know whether you’re over budget more easily>

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