After losing big in the Diwali poker session I hosted, I decided to figure out how much money I am spending every month. I am okay spending x% of my net worth on my poker bankroll, but I still wanted to make sure I was not on a path towards severe lifestyle inflation.
In my head I always thought whatever average credit card bill I was paying per month added to my rent would be my monthly spend. I never tracked my UPI transactions. One off gifts. Even travel.
When I did the calculation on a spreadsheet, I realised I was spending 2/3X of what I was thinking.
Why the big gap?
I keep a check on my spends by monitoring my credit card statements. And credit card statements and recurring spends does not cover one off purchases like electronic devices, gifts to family, travel costs.
I always thought fixed costs I can cut easily. So was never stressed about that.
But I realised I keep having different fixed costs every year.
Last year it was experiments with angel investing, this year it was my poker bankroll to play higher stakes. Also I have started spending big on international travel and fitness. I also started spending way more on subscriptions, paid apps, something that I never did earlier. Also my spending on health has gone way up.
I pinged a few of my close friends to ask them how much they think they spend yearly and they also guessed a number that is far lower than they actually do. And I shared my expenses sheet and they were like wow maybe ours is closer to that too.
I have resisted tracking my expenses because I have always had a high savings rate. I avoid status games. Have no shame staying in a non fancy area of Bengaluru. Taking cheap hotels when I travel. Using an Ola auto to commute. Have taken no loans.
Inspite of all that I should have monitored my expenses.
If you have never done it in your life, I would recommend to do so today itself. Guess a number before you do this exercise and then do an actual analysis and see if you are close to your number.
Disclaimer: I don’t track actual expenses monthly. I use rough figures. I will do another analysis at the beginning of next year.