Ollie uses Solo Expenses to control his wife’s spending spree

When the insurance company paid a claim for a water leak in the Banks household, Lizzie saw it as an excuse to spend big on home furnishings. Ollie had other ideas, and relied on Solo Expenses to keep things under control.

“When I see what you spend on replica soccer kit for your beloved Aston Villa, I can’t think why you’d be surprised about the price of a pair of curtains,” said Lizzie, reproaching husband Ollie for his reaction when she’d taken him shopping for home furnishings.

“Yes, but we could have a weekend away for that sort of money, or three week’s shopping for food,” he responded.

“And that makes them cheap,” she replied. “They’ll last a lot longer than a bag of groceries or a weekend away – or one of your football shirts. The oldest ones make you look as though you got dressed at the recycling centre.”

Ollie was normally adept at side-stepping trips to buy home furnishings, so it was some years since he’d looked at a price tag. But this time he had been given no choice. As Lizzie had pointed out, it was because of a weekend away that they were making the shopping trip. Having been away they’d come home to find a radiator had burst, and the escaping water had ruined carpets, curtains, soft furnishings, and two shelves full of books.

Now that they’d thrown away everything that couldn’t be salvaged, and had an insurance claim settled to cover replacements, they were in the process of bringing their home back to normal. It was this last point that Lizzie made to him. “It’s not as if we have to find the money. The insurance people have been good about settling our claim, so we’re shopping with someone else’s money. Well, it’s ours now, but you know what I mean.”

“No matter whose money it is, we still have to be careful with it, and not spend more than we have. That’s what I was surprised about the price of the curtains. What’s more, I know what you’re like. You’ll get this idea in your head that because it’s not ‘our’ money, we can spend whatever we want, and we can’t. It’s all about effective expense management.

Ollie pulled out his phone. “Look, I’m using Solo Expenses to keep a track of what we’re spending. Although it’s expense management software for small business, one of its features is that you can create a new category called whatever you want. I’ve created one called ‘insurance’, and I’m listing the expenses we’re incurring. Look, here’s the wallpaper, and the chair we’ve ordered.” He held out the phone for his wife’s inspection. “As we go along, I’ll add each item, and we can know exactly, all the time, how what we’re spending matches up with the available money. That way we won’t spend what we haven’t got.”

Lizzie acknowledged that he was right. And she admitted (but only to herself) that she did have a tendency to shop without thinking of the consequences. And it was also fair to say that Ollie had proved the benefit of Solo Expenses to expense management in their home and his business many times over. She asked: “OK, so can we buy these curtains, Mr Moneybanks?”

“To be honest, I never said we couldn’t,” said Ollie. “I was just surprised at how much they were going to cost, that’s all.” He took the packet from her and dropped it into the shopping trolley. “Now then, let’s look at scatter cushions. And that’s something you’ve never heard me say before, and I doubt you’ll ever hear again, so you’d better make the most of it. It’s probably because I’m still in shock at the price of those.” He waved his hand at the curtains. “When we’re done, I’ll photograph the till receipt, and add the expense to my list, and we can work out what else we need, and what we can afford to spend on it.”

Lizzie smiled. “And after that, I’ll buy you a coffee and a slice of cake. Out of my own money, Banks,” she said.