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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Personal Expense Tracker (New Software Idea)


 
 
At times, few software ideas flash in my mind and thanks to my laziness, ever after that they will always remain just as useless ideas within me. This is one such small idea for an Online Software Service.

I hope posting this here, might atleast help someone , who is searching for a Great Software Idea [;)] - or atleast an academic project.

Let my little idea bring a Great spark such a friend [;-)]

Problem
We work hard... We get paid... We spend that.. and the end of the month most of us are left with just few hundreds of our earnings in our hand. Most of us really dont know where the money had gone???

Solution
This is one of the most common problem everyone of us face.How nice it would be if we have a system to -
  • Track our expenses,
  • Generate necessary reports,
  • Help us to identify the stream where we spend lot,
  • Plan the monthly budget/investments,
  • Regular alerts for credit/loan payments,
  • Track Group accounts,
  • and lot more.....

Well there are few online services providing a good solution for above problem, but the one most common problem, in this model is Data Entry. It is really impossible for anyone to manually enter each and every expenditure into the application. One will not always have access to the computer, while spending.

One possible solution, from the user himself, is to make a note of all expences through out the day and later enter them into the software. Making this as a regular habbit depends on the individuals.

Another possible way to enter data is through SMS from mobile phones.

Today mobile phones are everywhere. SMS rates are being slashed down everyday. So the users can send SMS in some pre-defined format, something like shown below, to record their expenditures:

EXP [AMOUNT_IN_NUMBER] [DETAILS]

Learing such pre-defined format of SMS will not be a big problem - I assume. Also considering the popularity of Web-SMS services like Twitter, etc - people wouldn't mind sending messages when their problem gets solved.

Such SMS based data entry will be of great help for Group Expence Tracking - something like organizing a college culturals, an unconferrence, etc - where a member would just send a SMS for the expence and later attach the voucher, when connected to the internet.

However, we do have a big problem here. It is really unfair to expect people to spend money (i,e.the charge for sending SMS) to track their daily expences.

A simple solution for such users:
  • SMS bills can be paid by sponsors
  • In turn these users will get minimum number of SMS ads everyday.
Knowing the expense habbit of the user, sending the most appropriate and not-so-annoying ads through SMS will not be an hard task. At the same time such model shouldn't be a spam distributor.

Well this is just a rough sketch of the idea in my mind with its own pros and cons. Suggestions from like-minded friends can definitely refine the idea.

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