May 27, 2016 Finding a transaction in your budget with keyword search
Money Saving and Budgeting Blog

Any money and budget resolution for 2016?


The team of Quick Money Recorder wishes you a very happy new year 2016 full of financial success! We are now well into January with most of us getting back into the usual work routine after sharing precious moments with friends and family. The new year can be the start of a change in the way we manage our money. We were very interested in a survey about Americans’New Year’s resolutions and thought we would share our modest opinion with you!

Money and budgeting resolutions are moderately popular

GoBankingRates conducted a survey over 5000 Americans to know what were the most popular resolutions in 2016. Respondents were given 6 choices among which 2 were related to personal finance. 2/3 of respondents chose resolutions presented in the list with “Spending less, save more” and “Pay Down debt” coming at the bottom (30.1% and 27.5% respectively). Millennials were the biggest segment to think about saving money while generation X was more like to choose debt reduction. Unsurprisingly, hedonist choices like “Living life to its fullest” came at the top.

Resolutions are good…if they lead to concrete results

Anyone has had the experience of taking a good resolution in January and not keeping it during the year. Change is difficult and success can only be based on a clear strategy. Most respondents chose only one resolution in the list which is wise, better focusing on one thing and succeed than fail at everything.  However, it is difficult to guess what people mean when they want to “Live life to its fullest”. Are they planning to enjoy each moment of their life and go on holidays more often? Or just appreciating small everyday gifts? Whatever the resolution is you need a plan and goals if you want these resolutions to mean something.

Whether you like it or not, you will need to consider your budget at one point

Whatever your project or your lifestyle is, you will still have to consider money at one point as almost nothing comes for free. Of course, you can still take the risk of living paycheck to paycheck but a bit of financial planning will give you control and peace of mind. It is very unlikely that you can enjoy life to its fullest if you have money troubles at the back of your head. You need to adapt your budget to your lifestyle and long term objectives. This will seem like a daunting task at first but remember you can look for help from a financial adviser and use Quick Money Recorder to track your spending and create a budget.

Again, we wish you a lot of happy and smooth budgeting in 2016!

We gave you some tips about creating your first budget in this blog post, hope it helps!






To spend or not to spend, the Christmas dilemna


Like every morning, I made my cup of coffee and looked for articles and blog posts about money, spending and budgeting. There are days when I have to dig to find anything worth sharing on QMR’s Twitter account (@MoneyRecordapp) but not today. Believe it or not I found about 20 articles related to to Christmas and festive spending. I’ll try to sum up the interesting money management lessons I learned.

Christmas is expensive 

I bet you already know this but I learnt interesting statistics that Britons will spend £800 on average this festive season and that American will use $480.28 to buy gifts for their family. This sounds like a lot of money to me but it’s nothing compared to people in the Silicon Valley who have the highest holiday shopping budget of $2886 while people in Denver spend $800. In Europe, Britons are the most generous spenders but Romanians spend the biggest portion of their income on gifts.

Christmas is stressful and leads to irrational shopping

Britons will spend a lot but one out of four says that they feel pressured to do so and may have to borrow money! Why is what is supposed to be a pleasant family moment becomes a source of stress? Britons say they feel pressure from their family or by the idealized Christmassy  image conveyed in movies and on television. In the US, 4 out of 10 people spent more than they intended to during the Christmas season. And some people plan to finance their spending by opening new credit card accounts. Christmas makes us feel emotional and insensitive to the amount of money that leaves our wallet.

There are ways to avoid the festive season spending disaster

I don’t really like articles that makes me feel guilty. I want positive reinforcement to control my budget! It is difficult to be disciplined and to follow a budget with so many temptations. Actually this may be easier if I leave my credit card home and pay by cash on a day when I have time or feel relaxed or if I shop online. This year can also become the time when you change your habit. Do you really have to buy one gift for each family member? Would you prefer to spend more on the children? You could offer one common gift per adult and more for the kids. Try also handmade gifts such as a personalized photo album which will be more appreciated than a pair of socks. Christmas shouldn’t involve pressure and I believe that if some people only focus on material gifts, they are missing a lot.

I wrote another blog post about a Christmas Budget if you’d like to have a look.

Merry Christmas everyone!


How much should I know about money?


You surely have come across the word financial literacy or more simply said knowledge about personal finance. In the US, the month of April has been chosen by the Senate as the financial literacy month. People can get free personal finance classes about how to maintain healthy finances. The same initiative exists in Canada and some voices in the UK complain that kids do not learn anything about money at school. But how bad is the situation?

Americans ranks 14th, Canadians 5th and British 6th

The Wall Street Journal gives the result of a global survey about financial literacy in an article. Financial literacy is considered as important in developed countries where people have access to more and more complex financial products. Canada and the UK seem to do well but the US is lagging behind. The questions required some basic calculation about interests, inflation or risk. How can we explain these results? Are Americans have a bigger math and financial phobia compared to other countries? If you look at the map presented in this article, you will also notice the differences between US states. It also seems that young people have less financial knowledge than the rest of the population.

Start with the basics and build up

Finance sounds a bit scary and unless you are passionate about figures, you may be procrastinating and leave it for later. You’re wrong! The younger you are, the easier it is to learn. Your head is fresh and the probability is that you do not (already) have a great amount of money to manage. This makes it even more essential to manage your money well and to make the right financial decisions. Check our post about how to make a budget and compare offers if you have no choice but to take a student loan. Read blogs teaching financial basics such as how interest rates work or what is inflation. If you think it is boring, just bear in mind that this is important knowledge to get richer, save money or at least not lose some!

Don’t hesitate to ask a professional

Nobody is asking you to become a finance guru. You should know the basics such as saving accounts, basic investing, work related finance perks… Unless you become very rich, try to keep it simple but efficient.  If you are unsure about a financial product or which direction you should take,  there is no shame in asking for guidance from family, friends, dedicated websites or financial advisers. The best thing we can tell you is that if it sounds too good then there is a good chance that the deal hides something fishy. Remember that knowledge is the key!

Each Christmas has its budget


Christmas is almost around the corner and you may already have started shopping for the big day. Christmas and budget may not go well together in your mind if you’re not used to plan your spending but it is often a necessity. There is a balance to find between enjoying the festive season to its fullest and not overspending. You do not want to start the new year with an empty emergency fund or credit card debt!

Let’s look at how much people from different countries spend for Christmas.

Americans spend the most at Christmas

  1. Americans spent an average of $781 on Christmas gifts last year. The average spend peaked at $866 in 2007.*
  2. Europeans spend less on Christmas gift with an average of €252 in 2014. The most heavy spenders are the British with €408. French only budgeted €284 for gifts.*
  3. According to this article, each Australian over the age of 14 spent an average of $2500 in 2014.

Beware that these numbers are only for gifts and don’t include food, decoration or card spending. It’s also an average number, some people spend more and other less. The same budget can be viewed differently depending on the person’s personal situation. Spending $700 doesn’t mean the same when you have a very large family with children and grandchildren. Traditions differ depending on the country, while the US and the UK still send Christmas cards other European countries do not consider it as an obligation. As we said in this blog post, a budget is personal and reflects your goals and values.

Personal experiences of Christmas budgeting

We found this Reddit personal finance thread  interesting as it shows different views about Christmas spending. While some users say they spend nothing, one considers Christmas as an important event for networking and spends between $750 and $1000 each year. We learnt very useful tips with people saving a set amount each week to add to the Christmas fund or going to shop very early to grab the best deals. The amount spent on each gift seems reasonable, between $20 and $100. People sometimes set rules about the maximum price they offer each other with the most expensive amounts spent on children.

Planning and organization: the first keys of success

Now is a bit too late but if you spend a good portion of your income during the festive season, it makes sense to create a Christmas fund that you build up all year. It is also very important to get the info right, make a list of gift recipients with the maximum amount you want to spend for them. Try not to leave your shopping to the last minute and do some online research before heading to the store to get some ideas. Christmas shopping can be overwhelming and it is very easy to overspend and end up using your credit card.

Do you have any tip to make a successful Christmas budget? We will keep looking at useful info to give you to make this Christmas festive and budget friendly!

*These numbers originate from a study by

The best money saving articles and posts of the week 9/11

money readings

We love sharing money saving blog posts and articles we found interesting on our Twitter account (@MoneyRecordApp). We thought you may enjoy a selection and a quick summary on our personal finance blog too!

US students lack financial literacy

An article from USA today points to the alarming fact that most students have no confidence in their knowledge of personal finance. This is the result of a survey where 65% of respondents said they didn’t believe in their ability to manage their money. The article recommends to teach budget management and investing in the classroom. Good idea to teach the basics but from our personal experience family money management teaching is equally important.

Why you should know about personal finance

We read that November is financial literacy month in Canada, and felt inspired by this sentence: “Effectively managing money is not only part of everyday life, it’s essential for achieving all kinds of goals.” A couple of popular publications will give you tons of useful advice  to share on twitter #FLM2015.

Set a goal for your finances and have a fun fund

The magazine Moneysense is a very good read for all types of budgeters. They regularly write articles giving tips about managing personal finances including how to kick off saving money. We totally agree with the first advice set a goal and “You can’t escape having to run the numbers and tracking your expenses to determine how much you’re truly able to save.” But the best piece of advice would be to have a fun fund because life is too short not to treat yourself from time to time!

Remember that Quick Money Recorder can help you with your budget and expense tracking!


How not to blow your budget on Black Friday


It is this time of the year again! Black Friday is coming soon. This annual shopping event has been a hit in the US since around 2000 and has even spread to other countries. Some avid shoppers are waiting all year for the jaw dropping deals and queue from early in the morning to be the first to grab the best deals.

Some quick facts about Black Friday

Black Friday happens just after Thanksgiving and kicks off the holiday shopping season. It is the busiest shopping day of the year and retailers have been using this day as a promotional event to boost sales. Even if the amount spent slightly dropped, each American spent around $380.95 in 2014 on Black Friday and $737.95 on average for the shopping season (Source:National Retail Federation survey). This is only an average, some people spend much more and some people spend less.

Keep your head cold and beware of temptations

Black Friday does offer deals and can save you some dollars, but it is also very profitable for retailers who will shower you with enticing bargains. I am not a Black Friday expert but the best deals seem to involve many tech products such as televisions or tablets. And these deals are only available in limited quantities so you need to beat the queue (and sometimes a fellow shopper) to get what you want. Hum… My television is about 6 years old and I don’t feel the need to change it even for a discounted 3D screen. If your TV is very old and/or you want to watch movies in high quality everyday then you may think differently.

Know what you can afford to spend and plan, plan, plan

If you decide to join the Black Friday deal seeking adventure then the best advice to give is to make a budget for it. Look at your yearly/monthly budget and decide of an amount you can afford to spend. You can even make it a pleasant pre Black Friday activity. Check the Black Friday deals in advance and look at what was on offer the previous year (Tip: just google best Black Friday deal). Consider this as the excitement you feel before Christmas and involve your partner and children to participate.

Know your priorities

Make a list of 2 columns with items you need and those you may need. If your teenager needs a new laptop for uni then this is a good occasion to buy it. Take the chance to buy all the tech gifts you’ll give at Christmas. Reconsider the need to buy this action camera if your outdoor activity is limited to the beach and swimming pool in summer. Now you should know more or less what you will spend. Keep some cash for ONE impulsive buy you may find on the day.

Keep some cash for other deals

Also monitor other deals such as those available on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday happens the first Monday after Thanksgiving and offers interesting online deals. writes interesting posts about the best deals available on each bargain day and what type of products to focus on. It seems like Black Friday offers the best deal for video games while Cyber Monday is the time to look for toys deals. Doesn’t it feel even better to get great deals the smart way?

Also check our post about how to draw your first budget and remember to track your spending on the big day with Quick Money Recorder.


Are you being smart saving money?


Attitude towards saving money is not the same for everyone. Some people are extremely cautious and feel better with some cash at the bank while others don’t mind living from paycheck to paycheck. You can spot differences between countries, types of education or just personalities. This being said there is no good reason to justify NOT saving money. Life is beautiful but also unpredictable and whatever you decide to do, you will have to open your wallet at some point.

Saving money is good, knowing why is better

Saving money is not a goal in itself. You should know WHY you do it in order to stay motivated. If you have a saving goal then you won’t feel that bad when you sacrifice your morning coffee. Being frugal should lead to a better tomorrow and not mean living miserably everyday. So now how do you decide what you’re saving for? This depends ENTIRELY on you and your life goals. We can only recommend to put some money aside for future peace of mind. Better safe than sorry.

Know your priorities to build a money saving strategy

If you’re a student, you may want to pay off your student loan debt or buy a car. If you just got your first job, you may aspire to save for a deposit to buy a house. If you have small children, you are maybe thinking about building a money pot for their future studies. You still have the option not to save anything and to rely on borrowing. The problem is you never know how much it will cost you while you know how much your savings are worth.

It may be hard but there are a few things you should save for…

If you want to have some peace of mind, you should build an emergency fund to cover any unexpected life event or expense. Ideally, you should keep at least between 3 and 6 months of expenses to cover for any job loss or unseen spending. Of course, you may not spend as much if you lose your job and you may do some lifestyle adjustments but that’s a good guideline. You can also mitigate the risk by considering taking a medical insurance so you don’t get in debt if you get sick. The second thing yo should save for is retirement. It may be the least of your concerns if you’re a student but time goes fast. The general guideline is to save between 12 and 15% of your income each month when you start in your 20’s. You may not be able to save as much each month but the important thing is to spread the saving in the long term. Retirement money is also better invested in order to beat inflation.

The how much shall I save equation

Now there are other things in life you want to save for. Take a piece of paper and write down what you would like to achieve every ten year of your life. Do you want to buy a house or would you rather keep renting and use your savings to travel the world? Do you want to buy a car or are you satisfied with taking the bus or bicycle to work? You should also include your personal big dreams such as traveling or buy a vintage car. Now, give an estimate to how much your goals are worth and how long it is likely to take you to achieve them. For example, I want to travel to Thailand next year which is likely to cost $1000. I am planning to go in 9 months so I need to save around $115 each month. Saving is like drawing a budget it needs planning and the earlier you start, the easier it is!



How to draw your first budget


Today is the day when you take your first step on the personal finance and budgeting journey. You decided you would create your first budget. If you feel a bit lost we will try to guide you in this blog post.

Everyone needs a budget and it’s never too late to start

Whatever your situation is, student, active or retiree, you need to know what’s happening with your money. The only difference is that your financial goals may be totally different. You shouldn’t give up or avoid budgeting especially if you have to manage a debt or if you need to live on a budget. So the first thing to start with is to set a list of financial goals. What do you want to achieve with your money? Take a blank page and write a few realistic goals. If you’re a student, your goal may be not to overspend and to start building up some savings. If you just got your first job, you might be thinking about buying your first house. If you just had a baby, you can also want to start saving for your child’s education.

Make a list of your income and spending and categorize them

Unless you have tons of money or you’re a freelancer doing thousands of different jobs, the income part shouldn’t be too difficult. You know what comes to your bank account at the end of the month. You should categorize your income anyway especially if it comes from more than one source. For example, as a student you may have received a study grant or loan and your family is maybe helping you financially. And it’s likely you got some money from a summer or part time job.

The spending part may require a bit more work. Start with the basics: rent, food, utilities, medical, insurance, clothing, going out… You will need the help of your last bank statements to create categories. Try not to put too many things into miscellaneous!

Establish your first budget

You have expenses that you always have to deal with and for which you already know the amount. Budgeting for your rent, insurance and such won’t require any thinking but are big priorities. Then you have necessary spending that you can optimize such as food and groceries or transportation. What about starting using your bicycle to go to work? If you know how much you’re spending right now, you may want to save a few more dollars while not ending up only eating pasta at the end of the month. Finally you have all the expenses that fit your lifestyle. You may spend very little on clothing but a lot on traveling. And don’t forget to add an emergency fund and saving category. Life is unpredictable and you’d better be armed!

Now it’s up to you to set the amount you want to spend on each category. Once you have given yourself priorities, you will be able to optimize the less important spending categories. You will also need to track how much you spend and readjust each month. OK, it’s not the funniest thing in life but just think about it as sports: at first it’s difficult before becoming a habit and maybe even a need!




Tips about how to smartly spend and save on food


Everyone spends a good part of their budget on food unless you’re a yogi master who only needs a few berries and meditation each day. Of course, the money we spend on food heavily depends on our lifestyle and priorities. While a student will typically rely a lot on budget recipes such as pasta meals, health conscious eaters may splash a lot of dollars on vegan food.

Estimate how much money you need to spend on food while keeping a healthy diet.

The United States Department of Agriculture created a useful calculator to estimate how much money you should spend per week and per month to maintain a healthy diet. That’s a very smart way to start budgeting for your meals, find it here. It takes into account the number and age of people in your household and the website also provides other great tools such as a meal planner and shopping tools.

Like everything else in your budget, plan as much as possible your grocery spending.

We would recommend to keep a list of easy to make recipes that all the family like in your cupboard for the times when you don’t have much time or energy to cook. Try to save on basics that you will use often and that have a long shelf life such as rice or pasta using offers or coupons. We would advise to make a meal plan for the coming week before going to the supermarket. It shouldn’t take long and you will save time and energy during the week.

Avoid spending temptations by making lists.

Once you have established your meal plan, make a list of what you need to buy. Remember that marketers put a lot of efforts into making you extra spend! Try to keep the unnecessary spending to a minimum and avoid the fatty snacks section if you can. Beware of promotions, sometimes they’re not worth the money you spend. Focus on seasonal vegetables and products to eat healthy for less.

Some time ahead? Look at what’s left in the fridge and plan for the week ahead.

Instead of spending time on the sofa, watch your favorite Sunday TV show while cooking some meals you can freeze to eat later during the week. Scan your fridge for leftovers and find some clever recipes over the net to reuse them efficiently.

Cut down on take outs and expensive products.

Use what you cooked or leftovers instead of buying your lunch outside. If your daily lunch out costs you $6, then you will be able to cut the expense by half using food from home. If you decide to eat outside, make it worth a treat not an obligation. There are also all these small adds on such as buying your morning coffee from a famous chain. Don’t make it a habit but an occasional treat. Buy yourself a coffee press and you will be surprised by how much you will save. If you drink everyday, give yourself some days off and look at offers and coupons. Buy alcohol you really like so the moment and money are worth it.

These tips are worth following whatever your food requirements are. The main lesson being a good budgeter is a good everyday planner!

How to start your budget management journey (and how QMR will help you)

Author: Tax Credits

Author: Tax Credits

Have you ever thought at the end of the month: “Gosh, where did all my money go?” Don’t worry you’re not alone! We can’t count the number of friends who feel stressed after a warning call from their bank personal adviser. They often feel pressured by all the payday deals and other money spending temptations so it’s not rare they go way over budget. But how do you start taking action?

Knowledge is the key: understand where and how much you spend to make better use of your money

We remember our super organized grandma who used to collect and keep all the receipts. Not only that, she spent hours organizing them and writing down all she spent. She said it made her feel in control and that she knew how much money she could use on treating us. We love our grandma but thank God we now have technology as a financial ally!

Set goals to keep you on track on your budget mastering journey

We’re all victims of the demotivation phenomenon. It often strikes on New Year’s day or after the summer holidays when you think “I will take a gym membership” or “I am gonna start saving”. You keep it for a few weeks before the demotivation malediction strikes. You end up feeling bad about yourself and your life keeps being the same. So what is the secret of people who succeed? Simply, they set goals for themselves. It can be short, mid or long term goals, the only prerequisite is that you have a good reason for doing what you’re doing. Do you need to save for your next holidays, retirement or both? Then set your budget accordingly and do your best at self discipline. Deviating a bit from the road is fine, you just need to make sure you always go in the right direction.

Personal finance is for everyone and is not as bad as you think

You don’t have to leave personal finance and budget management to your partner or accountant. You can and you should do it too! Start tracking your money and after a few days or weeks, you will be able to organize your spending and spot regular transactions. If you get everything right bit by bit then you’ll find out that all these efforts at the beginning will be rewarded.

OK, where should I start with Quick Money Recorder?

Simple, just start entering what you spend. If you don’t have time filling up the details, then take a receipt picture with the camera function. Review them every two days and start refining your expense categories. Unless you totally change your lifestyle, they shouldn’t change too much. The goal here is to get used to include a money tracking habit in your schedule and to classify your spending.

Good luck for the beginning of your budget management journey! We’ll see in another post how to set your own budget.