Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Understanding Increase in Spending Better

I wanted to understand why spending in the 2018 calendar year was up 28% on 2017. The first step was computing a spending breakdown for the 2017-18 financial year. The period is different and the definitions of income and spending are different than in my usual accounts to make it more comparable with other income and spending breakdowns on the web. I now computed the spending breakdown for the second half of 2018 and we can compare monthly spending in this period to that in 2017-18:

Spending was up by 7.5%. So not as dramatic a growth rate. The biggest difference between the two periods, is that in the first period we spent a lot on travel and in the second on health. In fact, the travel spending was mainly in the second half of 2017-18 - i.e. in the first half of 2018. So, 2018 had high spending because of both travel and health spending being up strongly on 2017. The way I usually compute spending and income is to include any refunds for medical spending as income rather than reducing spending by the amount of the refund, which I am doing here. So, that pushed up spending even more. I'm glad I now understand why our spending increased so much.

Another major change is that cash spending was down in the second half of 2018. That was because I had access to the statement for my Qantas Cash card – only the last 13 months is online. In the previous period, I treated all spending on the card as cash spending.

Going forward, I expect medical expenses to be lower this half year and travel expenses to be much lower than in the first half of 2018. Given that, 2019 calendar year spending might be lower than 2018 spending.

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