?> Keeping track of your expenses changes your life

It has been over a year now since we started living on a budget of 9 euros a day. Maxime, a Canadian guy we met a month ago, made us realise it might not be a bad idea to keep track of all of our expenses, so we can actually see where our money goes to at the end of each month and show you in detail how we live of 9 euro a day. We used an excellent app called Toshl, which isΒ is designed to do exactly that. You can even export the data to Excel at the end of each month or login to their website and get a detailed rapport. Check it out here if you want to start keeping track of your expenses. But be careful, it might be very confronting and even reveal a lot more than your spending patterns.

The following breakdown shows our different spendings during the month of november 2013:

Expenses november 2013


This leads to some interesting conclusions:

  • Housing and food take up the biggest part of our budget, respectively 30,27% and 40,54%. So, in total the both add up to more than 2/3 of our entire budget, which is kind of normal I guess, as these are our most basic needs.
  • Normally our housing budget would be a lot less, because we usually couchsurf and camp a lot, but this month we decided to stay in San Pedro and pay for a small apartment so we could work on our upcoming project.
  • Camping and Couchsurfing can potentially save us up to a third of our budget.
  • We spend almost as much on drinks as on food when we go to a restaurant.
  • We don’t spend enough money on dog food, Lewis has a budget of 20 euros a month. It’s very hard to find high quality dog food in Central America, but we should compensate this by buying some fresh food from the local market, like avocados and eggs.
  • We didn’t have too many excesses this month; only a bit of partying, a piercingΒ and a week of private Spanish lessons.
  • Staying in one place has the financial benefit of not having to spend any money on transport.
  • In comparison to our total budget, we spend the least on charities, something we should definitely improve on next month.

I must say that something as simple as keeping track of what we spend has had a stronger impact on me then I expected. An overview of spendings is more than a bunch of numbers, it has the ability to reveal hidden flaws in our lives. Not only do I realise now that we need to add more natural supplements to our dog’s diet and that we have the budget to do so, but also that even on our budget we can contribute a lot more to local charities.

Time to make some changes.