Credit Card Activity
The most important number in your Credit Card Payment category is what’s Available under Payment. That is the amount of money you have set aside for your credit card payment.
But let’s say you’re getting pretty comfortable with checking the Payment amount before you make your payment. At this point, maybe you’re getting curious about how that number in the Activity slot is calculated. Here is your guide :)
The left-hand side of the Activity window tracks all activity on the credit card, 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.
That left hand column gives us some interesting information and context, but the right hand column is where the rubber meets the road. This is where the number in Activity is actually calculated from.
It keeps track of any movement into and out of the Credit Card Payment category, specifically. This is different than its counterpart, Total Spending, which only accounts for movement into and out of the credit card itself.
Budgeted Spending is the amount you've spent on this card, this month, from categories with enough in their available to cover the entire purchase. If you spent $500 on your card, but it was from categories with no money, then your Budgeted Spending would be $0. In this example, we can see that all $50 dollars from Spending was Budgeted Spending. That’s exactly what we want!
If Budgeted Spending is less than Spending, it usually means you have some credit overspending in the current month. Budgeted Spending can also be less if you’re spending from a card with a positive balance.
Why does Budgeted 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 that money is moving into the category to be set aside for your 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!”