At the cash register vs. budget categories
Scenario: I buy groceries ("Grocery" category) and kitty litter ("Pet supplies") at the same store sometimes. I find it annoying and not a good use of my time to split up my bill (and figure out sales tax) once I'm home. So I've started ringing up things separately. Any other clever ideas?
Thanks for everyone's real life observations.... This exercise has been helpful. It made think through that I'm not trying to analyze or change spending behavior in these categories so I really don't need to break them out. Ultimately, I'm aiming to just see how much I spend annually for retirement planning purposes. So combining these categories will be sufficient and encourage my laziness in not breaking out receipts ;-)
For me I just add up all the items (Grocery, Pet Supplies) and whatever is left over the split the tax down the middle. It's not worth it to me to figure out the exact tax for each category. Over the years I got tired of splitting things and just stopped caring about that and just include it all in one unless it is maybe a gift or something.
Example (Made the math simple):
Target - $100 (Groceries, Pet Supplies, Home Maintenance, Auto Maintenance)
- Pet Supplies
- Home Maintenance
- Auto Maintenance
This comes out to $96 and say $4 tax. I would just put an extra dollar into each category. I know it never comes out this even and if there is an extra penny I just put it into one of the categories. I look at it this way I spent the money, doesn't matter which category to me.
I pull my money out as cash and enter it into YNAB as a split category transaction with how much cash goes to which category. i.e. Cash withdrawal 300$ split into: Food: 200, pets: 40, household items: 50, gas: 20, medical: 40 home maintenance: 50, etc. The money is then accounted for in my budget based on my plans for the week and I put the actual cash into my wallet with areas for each of those categories. I then know what I have to spend, in cash, while at the store. I do a combination of cash envelope and electronic envelope (YNAB), but I only spend cash on food, pets, gas, household goods, and medicine/supplements, otherwise I'll overspend and need to constantly adjust my categories. I never could stick to the actual budget I'd planned because it was too easy to overspend in those categories and just "roll with the punches".