Credit Card Activity
The activity figure you see in the budget on web (or under Details on mobile) is the sum of any money coming into the category through funded spending, minus any money that's leaving through payments. It can be positive or negative, depending on whether you paid more on the card or did more funded spending on the card so far that month.
The most important number in your Credit Card Payment category is what’s Available under Payment. That is the amount of money in your cash account that you have set aside for your credit card payment. If that amount isn't what you expected or is negative and red, the answer is likely in either the account register or in the budget, so those are the next places to look.
If you click on the figure in the Activity column of the Credit Card Payment category, you'll see the Credit Card Activity window. This window shows the calculations behind the credit card account balance and Credit Card Payment number. This window can be more confusing than helpful for troubleshooting problems, but if you're curious about that window, you can read ahead for a deep dive into those numbers.
The left-hand side of the Activity window tracks all activity that affects the credit card account's working balance, except for payments. That part is handled by the right-hand side, as you will see later on.
At the top left, you see Spending. This is the total of all the outflow transactions you’ve had on this card for this month, whether you assigned money for them or not.
Under Spending, you see Returns. Did you have any refunds or statement credits come through on this card this month? Those are tallied here.
Total Spending, as you probably already figured out, is the sum of Spending and Returns.
This is where the number in Activity is actually calculated from. It represents all the activity that affects the Credit Card Payment figure in the budget. This is different than its counterpart, Total Spending, which only accounts for movement into and out of the credit card account itself.
Funded Spending is the amount you've spent on this card in the current month from categories with enough in their available to cover the entire purchase. If you spent $50 on your card, but it was from categories with no money available, then your Funded Spending would be $0. In this example, we can see that all $50 dollars from Spending was Funded Spending. That’s exactly what we want!
If Funded Spending is less than Spending, it usually means you have some credit overspending in the current month. Funded Spending can also be less if you’re spending from a card with a positive balance.
Why does Funded Spending have a plus sign next to it?
We typically think of spending as an outflow. But with the Credit Card Payment category, an outflow like $50 from Groceries means an inflow of $50 into this category, since it represents an increase in money in the Credit Card Payment category. It's positive because that money is moving into the category to be set aside for your next payment.
Payment & Returns is the total amount of money leaving this category, through either—you guessed it—payments to your card or returns on your card categorized to a spending category. This has a negative sign by it because this money is leaving the Credit Card Payment category.
Last, but certainly not least, we get to the number that is displayed in the Activity column: Total Activity. This is the number in Budgeted Spending minus the number in Payments & Returns.
Now that you’ve taken this deep dive into the Credit Card Activity Window, you have even more tools you can use to keep track of your credit card spending and your credit card payments. Just remember: “When in doubt, check the Available amount!”