Making the World Go ‘Round

When I first got a proper full time job, Graham made fun of me because he said I was still living like a uni student. He said one of the biggest mistakes people make after leaving uni is not adjusting to their new living situation, and people often become miserable because of it – you can’t take it with you when you die, after all.

The first time we went to Japan, which was in the break between finishing uni and starting full time work, I remember thinking about going to see a sumo wrestling match. But when I went to look up the ticket prices, I was shocked – the worst tickets were around $80! Ignoring the fact that we were paying about $1k to fly there, and $80 really pales in comparison to that, my mind couldn’t seem to rationalise spending that much money on something.

This last trip, I was willing to pay 1200 yen to enter the Ueno Zoo just to eat cute panda pancakes, and I realised that Graham is right. MrFodder and I are in the fortunate situation of being able to afford certain luxuries, and I should take advantage of that while I can. That’s not to say I’m going to go full #YOLO, let’s go skydiving level of crazy, but it means I shouldn’t let myself avoid doing something interesting just because it costs money. And now that I’m also doing the 365 photo challenge, it seems like a good time to try being more adventurous. So not only am I going to try to stop myself from avoiding situations where I have to spend money, I think I’m going to actively try and seek them out.

I’ve pulled $400 per month out of the air as a rough limit to try and reach, and looking at this ASIC infographic from 2012, it seems most couples spend about $207 per week on food and drinks, and $182 on recreation (though I don’t know if that’s between the couple, or per person in the couple), but even if it was per couple, I think ~$1600 is a bit crazy, I mean, I still have a mortgage to pay! So I figure $400 is a good amount, which covers lunches during the week, and weekend / other spending money if required. Edit: This doesn’t include the cost of anything I do with MrFodder, as I never want to say, “Sorry, I can’t do X with you because I can’t afford it.”

However, tracking this sucks. I’ve tried finding existing apps, but they all seem to be focused on trying to get you to save, and I want to do the opposite. So I’ve just been using Google Keep so far:

I know I should use sheets or something, as it’ll calculate the monthly total at least, but I hate how long it takes to open, and entering data into the app isn’t very nice. I pretty much want something like Optus’ data usage page, but with money.

The other things they have, like insights and daily breakdown would be nice, but not necessary if it adds loading bloat to the app.

(Yep, 15.2% of my usage is watching Melon pan videos.)


So I figured, I’m a developer, why not make something myself? The mock I made at the top of the page is pretty much all that I need: how much I’ve spent, how much I have left to go, how long until the end of the month, a way to enter a new item, and (optional) a list of the spending so far. My most important requirement is that it is convenient to use, because if it is a pain in the ass to add new items, I’m not going to do it, which defeats the entire purpose of the app.
It’s probably going to sit in my backlog for a while though, as I have other things to work on at the moment, but I think it’d be good for my development, and things aren’t as crazy at work now.
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