Its always in fashion for people to make bullshit resolutions on New Year’s that they forget about on January 2. This isn’t about that. This is about the increased resolution that I’ve been able to observe my life with. I’ve been using several web apps and iPhone apps to finely observe and detail different aspects of my life. I’ve been using Mint.com to manage my finances, and just started using Livestrong.com for my fitness and gas Cubby for my car.
I spent over an hour and a half on Mint organizing my spending, and when I was done, I was shocked. Without getting into the details here, I spend money like a moron. Mainly too much eating out, but lots of little purchases that really add up pretty quickly. I always wondered where the hell my money’s been going, and now I know. What’s cool is that Mint keeps track of this stuff more or less in real time, automatically. And its the automatically that’s really the key here.
No matter how much I try to budget of which app I use, I never manage to keep track of everything, and eventually just stop. Now its just a matter of checking and seeing where I am. Mint also has trends that you can compare with other users, in depth transaction data, and one of the easiest budgeting system that I’ve ever used. I only wish that the iPhone app would allow a full account update like the website does, but I’m sure that’s in the pipe, since that seems to be the number one request.
Using data mining like this is great for me, since the resolution of the data is fine enough and presented in such a way that I think I’ll really be able to manage my finances well.
Now Livestrong is a different story. It provides lots of detail, but I’m just as bad at entering what I eat as what I buy. We’ll see…