So I was going to build that application I talked about yesterday, but then my replacement bank card finally arrived and that meant I could download my transaction history for the last 12 months and analyse it. I dumped the data into a database and spent a couple of hours going over the data and categorising it. It's still a very rough picture of my spending, and I've omitted some spending that I couldn't neatly classify or that was one-off or exceptional (also necessities like rent), but this is my executive summary so far.
Firstly, as I suspected, it turns out that the largest category of spending was on subscription-based services. Nearly £3000 over the period. That's not all SaaS businesses, the most expensive item in this category is our cable-tv/internet provider at £700 for the year. Note to self, we can probably get this cheaper. Other big ticket items were my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription that I hardly used; weighing in at around £550, and my iPhone upgrade program payments - both of which have now ended. The £50ish a month payment plans don't sound so bad when you pick them up, but by the end of the year you can certainly see their impact. Video and music on-demand services, a cinema membership, and some smaller items bring up the rest of the tally.
Next biggest were cash withdrawals and shopping respectively. Not much to say here because I can't see where the withdrawals ultimately ended up, and the shopping line-items don't seem unreasonable. It did surprise me that the number was so high for both though. I think holiday money is probably included in the cash figure, but still, £2.5k seems excessive. Note to self, all those £20 withdrawals add up.
Which brings me to the last of the big, big numbers; dinner. Never in a million years would I have thought my expenditure on eating-out was so high. If I look at the places I've been spending money I can see some usual culprits, but it's staggering how much it's all cost. Easily the biggest drain here was the fancy steak restaurant that we've taken family to. Over three visits I spent just shy of £650... I mean it was great steak, but that's a lot of money. Everywhere else we've been has mercifully added up to a lot less, but there has also been a lot of it. For instance, Apparently I've spent around £200 ordering pizza over the last year across 8 separate meals. I also visited Nando's on 7 occasions at around £15 per visit. I feel like there's definite scope to cut down spending (and my waistline) here.
Next up, although now half the cost of all those dinners, is groceries. Apparently over the period I've spent around £1200 on grocery shopping, a figure made significantly more egregious by the fact that this doesn't include our weekly shop, and also doesn't really include lunches, which are usually bought elsewhere. Apparently over the period I've been grocery shopping 230 times, with an average spend of £5.50. That's roughly a (theoretically unnecessary) trip to the supermarket 2 out of every 3 days. It's probably mostly snacking, or buying extras for dinner, or puddings. I think I could reduce this number quite a bit too.
At this point we start to hit the law of diminishing returns. Digital goods are mostly one-off purchases, drinking and transport speak for themselves, and the only surprise in any of these categories was that lunch ended up looking different to how I thought it would. I thought the number would be high, but I thought my trips to the sandwich shop during work-days would constitute the bulk of the figure. Instead, I've found that while the day-to-day lunches do add up, it's actually the occasional, fancier, more expensive lunches that happen only now-and-again that really bring the total up. They always seem like a one off at the time, but looking back at it now really shows what an impact they can have.
This was a worthwhile exercise.