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Tech options for tracking your spending

Article By Brett Moxey | | Technology Consulting

There are many tools and techniques available to help you calculate your cost of living. Technology has made these calculations much easier.

Try the following tools for starters:

ANZ or CBA spend tracker

These track and automatically categorise the money going out of your bank account each day. Check other banks to see what they offer.


You set up your spending cycle and spending limit, then add new expenses on the go with a name (e.g. morning coffee), amount (e.g. $4), and category (e.g. eating out)


If you don’t want to change banks, Pocketbook is an independent app that syncs to your bank account to give you a complete view of your spending by categorising your expenses.

There are countless other apps and tools to help you calculate cost of living. However, most are more complicated and will require extra setup and ongoing maintenance, i.e. you essentially become your own bookkeeper. Some people do love to track where every dollar goes but, for the majority, this is tedious and not how you want to spend your spare time.

The good news is there is an easier way to calculate your living costs.

Simply work backwards…

Start by looking at how your bank account balances and fluctuates. This will reveal the savings you’re making after all costs have been accounted for.

Your bank account doesn’t lie. Look at the balance over a 12-month period and you should start to see a pattern. As an example, work through the following bank figures:

Your balance is growing by about $1500 per month, so you know your current savings capacity is $18,000 p.a. Let’s say you’re receiving net after-tax household salaries/income of $12,000 per month. This equates to $144,000 p.a. Take $18,000 p.a. (your savings) off this and you know your living costs are $126,000 p.a. Then go a step further and take off your mortgage/rental costs or other debt commitments — let’s call them $33,000 p.a. This will result in pure living costs estimated at $93,000 p.a.

Once you have this figure nailed down, you can start strategically planning your financial future and put your surplus cash flow to work. The sooner you start working with this data, the better prepared for retirement you will be.