I got a job in Shanghai in March, so my accomodation costs have been relatively stable at £485 a month plus bills any hotels for travel.
My company provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but in October I started getting sick of having rice twice a day and started going to restaurants in the evening. Because I don't really eat at home "Everyday items" is very low throughout the year.
My fun budget goes up in August because I started taking Chinese lessons.
|Month||Accomodation||Transportation||Eating Out||Fun||Donations||Everyday Purchases||Other||Productivity||Occasional Purchases||Exercise||Total|
|Month||Accomodation||Fun||Eating Out||Transportation||Exercise||Other||Everyday Purchases||Productivity||Donations||Occasional Purchases||Total|
I keep track of things in a plain text file on my phone that looks something like this:
--- january 2018 use rmb 50o starbucks 20e 9.99gbp monthly spotify
This means that in January 2018 I spent 50rmb eating out, spent 20rmb on everyday items (basically means supermarket), and will spend 9.99gbp a month on Spotify (categorized as "Fun").
Using a plaintext file makes it super easy to enter new items. Much simpler than clicking "New", entering a value, selecting a currency, entering category, ....
I then have a Node script that takes the text file and generates CSV report. Email me if you're interested in it.
Who doesn't love accounting! 😍
I have the following main categories, with some examples of what they contain:
- Accomodation: rent, hotels, AirBnbs, bills
- Transportation: flights, metro tickets, trains, ferries, taxis
- Eating out: restaurants, takeaways, Starbucks, bakeries, any food that is meant to be eaten straight away
- Fun: Chinese lessons, books, theme parks, phone
- Productivity: office rental, Github, domains, backup harddrive, monitor
- Occasional Purchaes: clothes, vaccinations, bed sheets
- Everyday purchases: supermarket items, phone credit, VPN, laundry
- Exercise: gym, swimming, badminton rackets
- Donations: regular donations, leaving leftover currency at the airport
- Other: travel insurance, visa fees
I also have deeper levels of categories like "Everyday Purchases>Haircut" and "Accomodation>Bills>Gas".
For some items I book the cost over several months or years. For example, my phone cost £654 but instead of booking
it as a one-off I depreciate it over 3 years, and book an expense of £18.17 a month.
What should be split over several months? One criterium is, could I could recover a meaningful percentage of the purchase price if I sold the item? Or, is the item meant to be consumed over a longer period of time (e.g. gym membership, Chinese lessons)?
Tracking productivity expenses is a bit tricky. Most of my travel expenses in 2017 were related to travelling to conferences.
So that could also be tracked as productivity.
You can also see that unlike in October the travel in June and July did not increase my accomodation costs, because the conferences paid for it.
Any items that either my own company or my current employer pays for also won't be tracked here.