Tag Archives: money

Amaan Penang: Making Data-Driven Financial Decisions

Amaan Penang was faced with a life change when he moved from Texas to California to start a new job. While preparing for the move he started to examine his financial health and was surprised by what he didn’t understand about his spending and income. Using the popular financial tracking software, Mint, he started to examine his historical spending. In this talk, presented at the Silicon Valley Quantified Self meetup group, Amaaan explains how he tracks his data, crunches the numbers, and finds “interesting patterns” in his data.

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Natty Hoffman: The Enlightened Consumer

Natty Hoffman was interested in learning more about how she spent her money. Not satisfied with just categorizing expenses, she dove deeper into two years of transaction data to understand where here money was going and how well her spending habits reflected her ideals. In this talk, presented at the Boston QS Meetup group, Natty explains how she examined her spending data to see if she was supporting ethical, healthy, and local businesses.

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Numbers from Around the Web: Round 4

Karsten W. is on an amazing journey towards understanding his personal finances. Thankfully for us he’s been writing about his methods and what he’s learned along the way over at his blog: FactBased. Let’s dive in!

Step 1. Track 

Karsten decided to use twitter to track his expenses and supplement that data with his normal bank statements. Not simply satisfied with this seemingly simple step, he went a bit further and compared his twitter entries to the data from his bank to see how well he was able to self-track:

KarstenW_twitterBank

Kartsen's Expense Tracking: Tweet vs Bank Comparison

Step 2: Classify

Having compiled his full year of monetary tracking, Karsten then looked to how to better understand where his money was going by classifying his spending. He looked into classification schemes and settled on using the United Nations Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose. Why?

It is made by people who have thought more about consumption classification than I ever will.

Again, he did some amazing number crunching and visualized his entire year.

KarstenW_ExpenseClassification

Inkblot chart of expenditures by classification

Step 3. Compare

So Kartsen has his expenditure data and he has it classified according to a simple schema. What’s next? Why not compare it to what is typical for someone like him! Karsten did some digging and found the German Federal Statistics office completes surveys of consumption and income every five years. He pulled the data that most closely reflected his income level and created a neat comparison:

Personal expenditures vs typical expenditures

I found this series of blog posts to be fascinating. For one, Karsten wasn’t just satisfied with tracking his finances for a full year. He went above and beyond and did some personal data analysis using some really neat tools and methods. I highly suggest you read his posts on tracking, classification, and comparison. Not only are the posts interesting, they also include short “how-to” write ups if you want to implement his analytical and visualization methods using R (an free statistical program). Keep up the great work Karsten!

Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

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Ewart de Visser on Tracking Trading Performance of A Friend

Ewart de Visser had a friend who “didn’t like the whole work thing” and started speculating on foreign currencies. When Ewart asked him how much he was losing in his first few months, his friend wasn’t sure, so they set up a spreadsheet to start tracking his trading performance. In the video below, Ewart describes how he used data to modify his friend’s trading strategy to prevent big losses, as well as the interesting benefits of being tracked by someone other than yourself. (Filmed by the Washington DC QS Show&Tell meetup.)

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Corey Maass on The Birdy

Corey Maass is a freelance web developer who has spent the last six years getting his personal finances under control. He read every book and blog he could find on how to keep his bank account above zero, and built The Birdy to help himself and others in the same situation. In the video below, Corey summarizes what he learned and shares some tips he came up with that finally helped him smooth out his financial life, including rounding expenses up to higher numbers, splitting money into multiple accounts, and tracking what he buys every day. (Filmed by the New York QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

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Chris Woebken on Digital Money

From the New York QS Show&Tell meetup groupChris Woebken talks about his experiments in designing interactions to enhance our relationship with digital money. He asks the question, how can money be measured – in minutes, in sound, or in touch through electromagnetic gloves? Watch the video below to see Chris’ ideas for new form factors, from money wands to ways of incorporating audio feedback as you spend.

Chris Woebken – Digital Money from Steve Dean on Vimeo.

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