Understanding my spending

What gets measured gets managed.

It isn’t surprising that I apply a bit of what I do professionally into my personal finances – analytics. In order to understand my spending habits, I decided to track my monthly expenses to derive some insights so that it can be managed!

Background and setup

  • In July 2018, when I first started my new role, I was trying out various budgeting apps to see which would the simplest to track my expenses
  • I eventually settled on Next, and tracked my spending over the next few months

Here are the results:

Some insights from the graph

Like most people, I spend most of my money on food and drinks (including bubble tea!), averaging $678 monthly. Most of it comes from dinner with friends and coffee. Hopefully it continues trending down.

If you see some spikes in the gifts section, they are usually one-off special expenses I made to splurge on various wants. In October I upgraded my phone to an XS Max and in December I kinda bought a brand new TV and a PS4.

Thank god in March I managed to cut back significantly on my spending thanks to reservist! Even though I spent a bit of money on my dad’s birthday gift the overall expense impact is still manageable.

and….. implications?

Based on this very simple tracker, my average monthly expenses are around $1k (without mortgage and other loan repayments). A $240k asset portfolio yielding 5% annually would give me the ability to be cash neutral every month – so the immediate step is to accumulate towards that goal within the next few years.

  1. Great blog!

    Could you put more light into your process of recording spendings and processing the data. I’m trying to build mine, which is a bit time consuming.


    1. Hi Greg, thanks for stopping by! I use an app called Next (I believe it’s for iPhone only) and basically it’s just something to record my expenses. You could use any budgeting app that supports csv export. Once exported, you can just run a simple pivot or visualise it on various software like Power BI/Tableau 🙂

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