@bgprincipessa I do the same thing! I use Mint and track EVERYTHING, including cash purchases, and always go in and split my expenses from all-purpose stores (like when I get groceries, booze, and shampoo all at one place, I break those all out into the appropriate categories). I've had some trouble with Mint playing nicely with my credit union account, but it's mostly behaving now. I'm like Elise--having the data to look back on delights me to no end.
It's only been since I've been an adult and working in nonprofit administration for six years that I've fully appreciated what my parents managed to do. Both of them work for nonprofits (my mom part time while my brother and I were young), and they were so on top of things! They saved up enough to pay for both my and my brother's undergraduate degrees, still put lots in their retirement funds and just downsized to a house in the city from where they had been in the suburbs (i.e., smaller house = still more expensive). Lots of coupons and consignment store shopping, which I still live by. My mom is generally very responsible, but it's my dad who is the financial manager. I'm so lucky I inherited that from him; I track everything I spend, have targeted savings accounts for big purchases and the only debt I have is on my credit card, which I pay off every month. Thanks, Dad!
@Holden Cauliflower Pancakes and cinnamon rolls that are SO BIG. That square block is a heart attack waiting to happen, what with Snoqualmie Ice Cream there now, too.
Per 1.c.ii, see Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward: 2000-1887", a truly not-good novel with interesting, if overly rosy, ideas. Also: "Rather, such fear has been bread into them..." Delicious!
@Nina B.@twitter I like Mint.com. Well, I "like" Mint (in the begrudging sense, not in the Facebook sense). When it works well, it's awesome--but when it's buggy, it's very frustrating. There isn't a lot of customer support (no surprise, as it is a free service) and fixes are slow to come. When it's good, the things you get are: transactions automatically categorized (though I double-check all of them and manually adjust them often to split, say, a "grocery" charge into the "grocery, toiletries, and booze" categories it should be), snapshot graphics (net worth, expenses and income by sources, investments, etc.), and easily-trackable goals. I'm a big fan of targeted savings accounts (saving $x week/month/whatever in separate online savings accounts to save up for big purchases) and Mint plays nicely with those. Bottom line is, any decent online tracking tool should give you the option to export all your transactions as a CSV (comma-separated value, essentially a super-basic Excel sheet). So if one service ends up not working for you, you can literally take your money somewhere else.