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I guess I spent that much

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I guess I spent that much this month

How many of us end up each month saying, “I guess I spent that?”

I’ve done it many, many times.

Budgeting is really hard, and although every one nags us to set one up, few of us do. I think less than 5% of my peers have an up-to-date budget.

That’s ok. Well, actually, it sucks and you’re probably losing tons of money on crap you don’t know you’re spending on, but I’m not going to preach. Instead, I’m going to make a new piece of software to track your spending, compare it against other people like you, and set savings goals.

We’ve already started building it. If you want to be a beta tester when it’s ready, sign up for my newsletter.

To post this image on your blog, MySpace, etc:

See Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Update: Welcome readers from and other places! This is a blog on personal finance and personal entrepreneurship for college students, recent college grads, and everyone else. To get started, check out my table of contents, RSS feed, and newsletter.

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  1. Hello Ramit,

    The application you mentioned sounds quite interesting. If you need any extra help developing it, feel free to contact me. I have quite a bit of experience in developing LAMP applications and I’d certainly be interested in helping you out.

  2. I would like to beta test, however I wouldn’t like to sign up to your newsletter.

    What gives?

  3. Then, wait, I guess…I’ll also release some invites on the site–especially to frequent commenters/contributors. But they’ll go out to the newsletter first.

  4. Are we talking free as in beer or a commercial app?

  5. Hi Ramit,

    I’ve always wanted to develop an application like this for my personal use, but the idea never get off…
    So, if you need some extra programming hands, I’d love to help!

  6. What exactly does the program do? Does it differ so much from accurately tracking your expenses in Quicken / Money? The only way to really know how much you spend is to track each and every transaction.

  7. I hope whatever you are coding can be ran on GNU/Linux!

  8. Oh, I love this! Quicken is such a pig for what I need to use it for.

    I’ll tell you the #1 thing that this software has to do for me; allow me to interface with my bank to download transactions. I currently use Quicken for it, and as I use a debit card and don’t keep track via a check book registry (I update Quicken nightly), this really is THE killer feature for me. Everything else is gravy.

  9. Andrew: It’ll be free to use the basic features, and there’ll be an advanced (for-pay) version.

    Ken: It’ll be online, simpler, and easier to use. I really want to like Quicken/Money, but they’re just too complicated. Plus, there are some specific money issues that young people care about, which Quicken/Money don’t address.

    Doug: It won’t at first, but who knows about later?

    BrianS: I agree. Also, as we’ve discovered, that’s pretty hard. More to come on that…

    Thanks also for the offers to help. I hope this answers some of the questions, but I’ll post more as we get closer to it.

  10. Off topic, but on post — the pictures. Love the addition. Somewhat ‘Creating Passionate Users’-esque (the blog), but the placement of the text annoys me. I’m guessing that you’re trying for a, “this is what’s they’re thinking” kind of statement, but all you end up doing is covering up their faces. Those people are visual and emotional cues to us, but that’s blocked by the text. Put simply, can you move the text, and not put it over people’s faces?

    On topic, look forward to seeing the app.

  11. Big congrats on the BusinessWeek mention!

    Well deserved recognition!

  12. You say it’s “online” but won’t run on Linux?

  13. Thanks, K.

    Andrew: Good god, I am a moron. I don’t know why I typed that. You’re right–of course it will run on any machine since it’s an online app.

  14. Hey Ramit, I’m interested in helping you test it. I find that Money/Quicken are usually too complicated for what I need. I usually just use a simple notepad instead. I like the type of budget that is in this article:

  15. When the wife and I began keeping a budget, it totally opened our eyes to how much we actually spent (vs. how much we think we spend).

    It’s easily the best tip for anyone trying to save/make money.

  16. Not to burst your bubble, love your blog, but try mvelopes. It uses the transaction logs from your checking accounts, and I always know how much ive spent on what, the day off.. unless your planning on making a free version of that of couse

  17. Ramit — I’d happily test your app. I’m not much of a computer geek, but by day I’m currently making a living doing user-end testing on software. I’d love to test something I actually care about.