Beeminding spending


#1

I think I may have finally found a way to beemind spending that doesn’t require a ton of manual tracking!

I’m using Qapital to watch my spending on all my accounts. I have minimal fees ($1 per purchase) for all of the places I want to spend less money at, each of which goes into a goal related to the type of spending (currently I have “lazy transit penalties” for ride sharing, “eating out penalties”, and “shopping penalties”). Then, since qapital links to IFTTT which links to Beeminder, I can make a do-less goal that plots a point any time money is sent to each of those goals.

The downside is that this is per-transaction rather than per-dollar-spent, which could create very perverse incentives. However, since for me this about breaking bad HABITS, like eating lunch out, or buying treats when I’m sad, the per-transaction charge is appropriate.

As for what happens to the money transferred to capital, that I’m still thinking about. I think I’m going to just transfer each one back to my checking account when it hits some arbitrary number that makes that worthwhile. Not how they want you to use qapital, but whatever. (I am using Qapital to actually deliberately save money towards a goal though–every time I beemind doing my laundry or putting it away (via checking it off in complice), I save $2 towards buying clothes. I’m hoping tying my clothes-buying money to staying on top of laundry will mean I don’t buy clothes because I feel like I have “nothing to wear” when actually I just can’t find things/they are dirty.)

I’m excited about this, but I’m also just starting. I’ll let you know how it is going in a month or two.


#2

Qapital seems quite interesting, too bad it’s US only (I’m located in Europe)
I actually have a savings-related goal, where for every task of a certain type, a Beeminder goal is increased by 100 euros (through Jira and Zapier). The actual transfer of money of course between my current and savings account will need to be done manually…


#3

I was really excited about this idea, but I have to report it was a complete failure for me.

The problem is two-fold.

First off, bank transactions are hopelessly messy data. They don’t always show up on the same day you bought the thing, sometimes multiple transactions are charged for one purchase (tip + fare, or multiple shipments)…it’s ridiculous. I end up either having to leave tons of room for error with a really modest goals, constantly monitor what charges have hit and which haven’t, or deal with lots of derails I couldn’t have prevented looking at the graph.

Secondly, do less goals are a pain in the ass. I have to turn off all reminders because otherwise when I’m riding the edge I’m getting alerts all day reminding me that I can’t spend any more today. Having to account for timing of how derails works means I have to think too much about what the graph slope means. It’s just way more trouble than it’s worth.

As much as I wanted Beeminder to be the answer here, it just isn’t. I’m going to keep budgeting to my budget app, and stick to beeminding positive actions (like taking the train, bringing lunch to work) rather than negative ones (not taking lyft, eating out). It’s way less complicated.