Swaroop C H

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Coming soon... TrackEveryCoin a personal finance system

21 May 2009

Note: I no longer work with IonLab since Nov 12 of 2009.

Amazon conducted a poll just before the start of the year 2009 asking people on what are their New Year Resolutions. The top two resolutions were (1) Lose Weight and (2) Get Your Finances in Order.

What is strange is that you and I would think these are solved problems, right? But yet these are the top resolutions for the new year!

We all know how to lose weight - eat less and exercise more. But it requires discipline. We all know how to get our finances in order - spend less and earn more. But it requires discipline.

Our vision for the "Track Every Coin" system that we are building is to exactly help you do this - to help you spend less, save more, and in the process help you get your personal finances in order.

So what is the problem again?

We tried out many personal finance websites and software existing in the market, and we faced the same issue again and again - they are either cumbersome or are afterthoughts.

Most of the software that we tried out did not make it easy to make entries such as expenses and made it a boring chore. And yet, this is the starting point to use all their features.

The ones that work automatically with your bank account are afterthoughts - they are good for overviews and for viewing graphs at the end of the month, but do not help in actively managing your money at all.

So we started adding in our own ideas on what we would want to use.

So what is the product?

It consists of two parts:

I like to think of it as analogous to the "iPod-iTunes" combination - the iPod was designed to do one thing well: play music, and it left the complicated parts of managing music to the iTunes software. We intend to achieve the same effect for personal finance. This is our unique twist.

Track Every Coin

Features

At its core, the system is an expense tracking system, simply because that is the first step that every personal finance writer recommends. If you don't know where the money is going, you won't know how to manage it.

The logic is simple : We need data to improve, whether it is the school score cards for your kids or the mileage for your car or statistics for your favorite cricketers. We bring over the same facility to you for your money!

Now, how is this different from a spreadsheet? Well, the data collection mechanism, obviously, and lots of features, but most of all - this is a specific system that helps you with so many aspects:

  1. Expenses
    • Know what you are spending on - categorize, tag and add notes to your expenditure
  2. Reimbursements
    • Know how much money you have to get back from your company – save time wasted in filing expense reports
  3. Income
    • Plan your money – How much money from your income is budgeted for expenditure and how much money goes to savings and goals
    • Never forget to pay your bills on time again – Reminders will be automatically be saved as expenses
  4. Goals
    • Buy that thing you really want – Save money every month towards your goal, whether it is downpayment for a car or that big trip you’ve been dreaming of
  5. Budgets
    • Never overspend again – Set limits on how much you want to spend and you will be reminded every time you are about to spend
  6. Sharing
    • Never worry again about splitting bills – Keep running counts of expenses shared with your roommate or when you go for dinner with friends, and settle easily
  7. Events and Trips
    • Know how much an occasion will cost you – Stay within your trip budget, know how much a weekend trip will cost you, know how much transportation accounts towards your trips, and more.
  8. Graphs
    • Analyze where your money is going – Know if you are spending more on fuel, if you are spending too less on your hobbies, or how much money you need on an average day.

To know more, visit our website www.TrackEveryCoin.com

We aim to launch the product in July 2009. Sign up now at the website to get special offers when we launch!

We'll be writing more about how we have designed and built TrackEveryCoin on our company blog. We look forward to your feedback either here on this blog or via email.

Comments

devadutta says:

Looks very promising!

Is your region of interest India or do you have plans of selling it outside too, like US?

And a special mention about the website, amazingly well done design!

Vineet Gupta says:

My rule of thumb - Before buying anything, just think once, do I really need it? Is there any cheap alternative which would serve well to me?

That tracks each coin I spend and gives me more time to do things which matter more. In the end, time is money.

I appreciate effort, but I am not your customer.

Manu says:


I hope the mobile app is tolerant of bad network or non existent network and will store the data and sync later when there is network.
Will this connect with bank account ?
How do i input data using the hardware device ? That is not made clear in the website ? voice ?


Congrats, this product is needed. Please offer a trial period of 30-60 days.

Kalyan says:

Swaroop,

This is way too cool. I'm already waiting.

Cheers
Kalyan

Ranganath.S says:

swaroop,

The product looks fantastic.. looking for the product asap..

Nishit says:

This is a Me-Too concept. There are already many sites which offer the exact same mint.com, buxfer,com,quicken, wesabe etc. buxfer n wesabe r too good. dunno y would anyone still put efforts to make something similar

Sameer says:

Cool - you just beat me to it :) Have been discussing the details of a service like this with a finance whiz pal of mine for some time now!

Rgds,
Sameer

ROhan Kini says:

waiting ...

uglyhunK says:

Hmm.....I wonder how you managed to get funding for this project...there are scores of free applications which do the same and u r charging for this??? I tell you what, just 6 months ago, with great enthusiasm I designed my personal finance web application to keep track of my daily expenses and income. Even created a mobile application to update the expenses on the fly. But the fact is, I used it only for 2 months...and did not find time or need to update each n every silly thing I exchange with money....sorry dude...project does not sound promising

uglyhunK says:

And I find it silly you substantiating this application by quoting the amazon poll. Using a software to get finances in order?? gimme a break. Does your business model work on a susbscription basis?? If so, you seriously need to think twice bfore launching...

Thejesh GN says:

Waiting to see the hardware device.

Ankesh Kothari says:

Hey cool idea with the keychain!

Should be very helpful in a predominantly cash-based society like India.

But the direct syncing with banks feature that other sites have will be missed if you don't have them too...



On another note - have you read about the stackbacks budget system? Its one system I've found that requires the least discipline. Google for it and you'll find a free PDF that explains the stackbacks system.

Ankesh Kothari says:

Oh - and how did you get the government of India to fund you?

KC says:

Good idea! I would like to use such a product. Of course will have concerns like -

-I am storing my financial data on a public website. How secure is it? Your company credibility plays a major role in driving customers to your app.
-Distinct advantages over Excel. I would like a trial period or a working demo.
-Pricing! Is it affordable and value for money?

Swaroop says:

@Devadutta First in India, then the world ;-) ... Thanks for the compliment on the website.

@Vineet Time is money, but we should also consider peace of mind. A few minutes of effort a day eventually builds up to peace of mind that you know exactly where the money is coming from and going. And speaking from experience, it made quite an impact on me.

But if you're already financially organized, then good for you! We're glad that you don't need the product :)

@Manu (1) Yes, it will take care of network disruptions (2) No bank accounts are involved here (3) The input on the hardware will be quickly entering the digits just like a digital watch.
(4) We will have basic free accounts for usage.

@Kalyan Thanks!

@Ranganath Thanks!

@Nishit Yes, they are good, we are absolutely not denying that. But please re-read the article above on what we felt were missing and why we are building this product.

@Sameer Well, I hope we are building something that you will like :)

@Rohan :)

@uglyhunK Oops, sorry, we seem to have touched a nerve here. Your personal experience has been that tracking expenses doesn't work for you. But for us, the experience has been the opposite. This kind of discipline really isn't for everybody and we understand that. Our goal is to help those people who want to do the tracking and otherwise didn't have an easy way of doing it. And going by the emails we have received, there seems to be quite a good number of people out there interesting in using the hardware and the mobile application.

@Thejesh Hope we make something you'll like :)

@Ankesh Direct syncing is an aspect that can be looked at, but I'm sure that need will be soon fulfilled by the players in the market. That is something we can look at in the long run.

Will read up on the stackbacks system, thanks for the tip. From my quick reading, it seems to match some of the ideas/workflow/design that we have been doing.

Anybody can apply for the TePP funding process, the scientists from the Dept. of Science and Technology were convinced that the idea of the hardware device was novel and that the system can be beneficial to the youth citizens of India, and hence we got funding from the Govt. of India for the prototyping. I shall write more about this in a future blog post.

@KC Security has been an important concern throughout, and we'll use industry-standard encryption and we will be careful about it. Also, remember, that this is not real money being stored :)

We will be having basic free accounts, so you can try out the online system for as long as you desire, and if you like it, you can buy the hardware or the mobile application.

Video demos and pricing will be available when we have the product ready for the market and we launch it :)

Rohit Pagariya says:

I personally use Mint.com and Billmonk.com to keep track of my expenses here in US. Both of them are free and easy to use. Yours is a neat idea in Indian context where online banking and use of credit cards is not widespread. In this scenario, having a hardware device or a cell phone app to keep track of expenses is very handy. While in India, I used to maintain a journal and ledger for my expenses. While this helped me keep track of the expenses, analyzing them was not an easy task. Your project nicely fills in that void for people like me.

One of the possible impediments to your project could be that user will have to type in every transaction in TECI/ cell phone app. This could be a cumbersome task. You should also think of providing a free web account to use your service like Mint.com. This would make your service something to watch for. You should also think of pulling transactions from a user's bank account / credit card account and categorize them. This would be very helpful feature as online banking catches up in India.

In all, a great idea but its success depends on how well its implemented and marketed. Keep us updated. All the best.

Swaroop says:

@Rohit Yes, you've understood it well on why our approach works especially well for the Indian context :) ... We have made the typing as easy as possible and even fun to use, it is definitely one of the major things we've looked at... A free version, as you have recommended, is on the cards. Pulling from bank accounts is something we'll look at in the long-term. Thanks for the detailed feedback and thoughts!

Manu says:

Hmm.. Here is an idea.. I know that direct syncing with banks and credit cards in india can probably take quite a long time to happen as banks will have to provide access to their data which I don't think they provide for anyone now.

What they do provide are internet bank statements. If you are able to extract data out of monthly creditcard statements and bank statements, you have a winner here.

Swaroop says:

@Manu That's an interesting idea, and something we did consider along the lines of what YourBillBuddy.com and ShoeBoxed.com are doing, something we'll look into again in future.

Sunil Jagadish says:

Cool idea! As one of the folks above mentioned, better than a postmortem of spending, would be to really think twice or thrice or many more times before actually buying something.
Every time I go to METRO (the store), I see tons of things which would be cool to buy, but, I question myself, whether I really need it? Can I do without it? So, analyzing spending after the money is spent is fine, but, the real challenge is to make one think twice just before spending.

All the best! :-)

Manu says:

@sunil : Most people think twice before spending a large sum of money. (but what is large is person specific). But quite a lot of times it happens that the biggest/or significant portion of your expenses are the small tickets items which by sheer volume will amount to a considerable expense. Keep track of your expenses, for a month and see for yourself. A post mortem is definitely quite useful.

Manu says:

@swaroop: you can start with credit cards as that is a significant mode of payment

Sunil Jagadish says:

@Manu - Agree with you.

Swaroop says:

@Sunil @Manu Yep, so one of the features is that the hardware/mobile app will show you the remaining expenditure budget for the month before you enter an expense, giving you ample opportunity to rethink the purchase :)

Sumit Mehrotra says:

Hey Swaroop,

Device looks good. I wish you all the very best.
Just remember , Indian market is more about Execution than Innovation.

So keep innovating but focus more on Execution.

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