Web App Development
Tracking my personal spending.

Annual overview

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.

Monthly detail

2017

Month Accomodation Transport Eating Out Everyday Purchases Fun Donations Exercise Other Occasional Purchases Productivity Total
Jan 2017£279£293£164£136£78£43£25£65£22£122£1,226
Feb 2017£407£973£264£75£145£42£55£99£22£77£2,159
Mar 2017£522£428£220£123£53£42£47£70£73£16£1,593
Apr 2017£601£41£162£88£52£121£46£125£0£43£1,279
May 2017£522£36£164£51£123£117£18£40£6£24£1,100
Jun 2017£509£800£107£73£49£119£7£89£114£25£1,892
Jul 2017£509£870£203£177£167£116£3£29£63£16£2,152
Aug 2017£513£58£162£97£181£118£3£24£0£16£1,171
Sep 2017£541£48£177£114£240£112£5£24£0£16£1,278
Oct 2017£765£874£261£108£195£114£10£24£27£16£2,394
Nov 2017£727£221£307£60£113£115£75£24£0£16£1,658
Dec 2017£531£64£365£67£62£114£70£24£42£26£1,364
2017£6,426£4,706£2,554£1,169£1,458£1,172£365£633£369£414£19,266

2018

Month Accomodation Transport Eating Out Everyday Purchases Fun Donations Exercise Other Occasional Purchases Productivity Total
Jan 2018£557£77£322£81£272£1£70£47£0£13£1,440
Feb 2018£528£5£254£89£43£1£70£22£0£13£1,026
Mar 2018£518£10£369£52£52£1£70£22£0£8£1,101
Apr 2018£74£342£160£36£45£1£84£130£10£8£890
May 2018£651£223£209£186£75£1£32£43£293£8£1,720
Jun 2018£716£93£201£233£54£1£62£34£34£8£1,436
Jul 2018£691£8£156£252£54£1£133£23£0£19£1,337
Aug 2018£676£43£183£193£43£9£125£21£4£20£1,318
Sep 2018£794£36£120£237£18£9£52£29£115£8£1,418
Oct 2018£794£23£119£310£33£109£75£22£47£8£1,539
Nov 2018£14£3£0£0£18£109£21£22£0£8£195
Dec 2018£14£75£0£0£18£109£21£22£0£8£268
2018£6,029£936£2,094£1,667£724£354£815£435£503£129£13,685

Bookkeeping

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.

Accounting

Who doesn't love accounting! 😍

I have the following main categories, with some examples of what they contain:

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.