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Accounts Software and My 2009 Spending

I have been using an application called Cha-Ching (http://www.midnightapps.com/) to track my spending since July 2007, but probably for not much longer.

My computer's hard disk started to fail in January. It was a 3 year old work machine so owed us nothing. I went back to my old 5 year old machine for a couple of weeks while my new one was ordered and configured by IT. It was a bit up spec from the standard so was a special order. With this I moved to OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, which has generally been good.

Unfortunately Cha-Ching does not like it. So I check for an upgrade and there is a version 2 in beta but from the forums I see this has problems too. There is also an iPhone app that should sync with versions 2, that feature has some problems too. The developer of the applications seems to have vanished last October, so no luck there.

From the crash report I got I worked out the application is using Core Data, this is the database service built into the OS. I dug into the exported backup from the application and found an SQLite database with my data in it, so I can get my data out.

With a bit of playing I worked out what I could and could not do in Cha-Ching without a crash. Broadly any operation on one transaction worked, any on more than one crashed. This makes working with it much slower so I put off sorting my accounts.

I need to find a replacement for it but I am not having much luck. There are lots of bad reviews for mac accounts packages. I am not even sure Cha-Ching is that good but it seems to work the same way I think so I put up with it's quirks.

So I have just got round to having a look at the spending for the year just gone Jan to Dec 2009. A follow up to the 2008 figures here.

First I looked at what I had spent "on the high street" to see which big names got my £.

This was the list of all the big names I had spent something in:

Morrisons 51%
Tesco 21%
Aldi 11%
Amazon 5%
Asda 4%
Lidl 2%
Co-op 2%
B&Q 1%
Sainsburys 1%
Spar 1%
Little Chef >0%
Homebase >0%
The Body Shop >0%

Missing this year that appeared last year: Woolworths (no surprise), Ikea, Moto Services, Halfords, Dobbies, Comet.

I also did a split on type of all my spending:

house (bills, tax, repairs) 16%
mortgage interest 8%
groceries 13%
mortgage repayment 7%
motorcar 28% (petrol 6%, purchase 10%, repairs 8%)
meals (eaten out) 1%
travel 4%
unknown 4%
shopping(non-food) 3%
gifts 2%
life (life insurance + medical) 2%
hobbies and conventions 9%
memberships 1%
bank charges >0% (Two cash withdrawals £3.98)

So that is where all the money went.

The high street spend accounted for about 16% of the whole.

Largest single payment was buying the used car.
Smallest accounted payment £0.98 for something in B&Q.

My unknown spending went up as I gave up recording cash spending from my wallet half way through. I spent a lot more on hobbies and conventions last year, probably because I was very lax at keeping my records up to date so had not realised how much I had spent - it was a lot of small things not one or two bit things.

Think this means it was a bad year. My total debt was up 0.23% and as interest rates are so low I should be getting well ahead not behind. My spending as a whole was up 27%. This was covered by savings and a small pay rise, things I cannot rely on this year. If the car lasts and I do not have any expensive repair bills I might claw some back this year. I also need to keep check on some of my spending.

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Andrew Patterson
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