In the 2022 predictions and big poll topics there’s been some discussion about Trends’ inability to segregate out mandatory and discretionary spending. So I’ve got the crayons out and done some fan-fiction to see what Trends might look like with this included.
Hold onto your hats, mock-up incoming…
So what’s going on here?
The essential conceit is really simple: The two sub-headings in Trends (‘spending categories’ and ‘excluded from spending’ become user customisable. You can then choose which categories to show under each of these sub-headings, and which of these sub-headings to show in the graph.
In a bit more detail…
At the top…
- we have taken away the label ‘spent’ under the value. This is because we’re not just looking at spending any more (as we’re including savings etc).
- Also included is the value for the average monthly value. This is, arguably, better information than the average across the weeks within the month.
- I’d expect the average monthly value to be tappable, so it can cycle between ‘average monthly figure’, ‘average figure for this time in the month’ and ‘this period in previous years’. The latter would mean that I would see what the average January spend, for example, was (useful because it takes into account seasonal trends). The figure for this time in the month would be useful to see how I’m tracking to expenditure (and could perhaps extend to budgets when they come in in the future).
On the graph…
- I’ve crudely turned it into a stacked bar chart with each block of colour representing a collection of categories (see below). If you select just one collection, it’d look a lot like the current bar chart.
There are now user definable “collections of categories”. This is effectively a user defined (and named) group of categories that let us create collections of categories that are useful to us. In this example, I’ve grouped mandatory spend under ‘Bills’ and discretionary spend under ‘Spending’. The categories in the example are a bit crap - it’d be better if Bills were ‘Energy supply’ and Family was ‘Rent’, for example.
Savings can now be tracked because they’re a category like any other. There’s no logic to having them excluded - so in this example, I’d thrown them together with investments so I can track all the money I’m setting aside.
Each collection of categories can be turned on or off of the graph (this also changes the headline figure) by the tick-box. They can also be collapsed to show just the name of the collection (the last collection is collapsed - it contains the transfers category).
What’s not shown?
- A screen to create and manage collections. I think this would probably be via a similar means to the edit pots screen from the accounts screen.
A big shout out to everyone who threw in similar ideas when Trends and its graphs were announced. I’m standing on the shoulders of giants here.
Now, let’s critique this. What works? What doesn’t? What have I missed or overlooked?