I've decided to make public my finances and how I look at them, having found no reason not to. My export process broke, so I can no longer provide updates.
Here's my transaction history (420K csv file) from 2011-2016.
- For information about why I thought it was a good idea in 2014, read a blog post about it.
- I use a debit card for most things, because it includes automatic logging. Even prepaid gift cards give you access to their logs these days, which I think is great. My bank then provides access to my history through their online portal. I rarely look at this directly except to see scanned checks.
- I hooked up Mint.com, which integrates with most banks, and can give a combined report in a common format. That's where the CSV export is from. I used to have an automatic export, but Mint broke it. So (among other reasons) my data won't be updated any more, and you only get data up to 2016
- I mostly looked through the CSV file by hand, although I experimented with tree mapping software to visualize categories over a particular time spans. I never made a very polished version. I did make some charts, both on the computer and grid paper.
- I really wish grocery stores would itemize reciepts back to the bank or at least a QR code. It's available by law in Russia. I keep and scan my old receipts to cross-reference them. I also check against email invoices, paypal, amazon, ebay, etc. I can tell you it's worth archiving this stuff NOW if you want it in five years--most of it is impossible to get now, even online orders for sites that are still up.
- I've switched to keeping records by hand in 2019, which deals with invoice/receipt line-items.