Author Topic: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me  (Read 3429 times)

Norwegian72

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Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« on: June 15, 2014, 02:21:56 PM »
Paraphrasing Stephen King, but I believe I can relate a subject and a question to this relevant to MMM, so please stay with me for a few more sentences.

I've been a little slow wrt tracking finances, probably mostly due to the fact that all the time we had a mortgage I didn't bother. Excess money? put it in the mortgage. In retrospect, not so smart since I haven't been tracking expenses. I finally put together a spreadsheet after so many years to have a look at the numbers. I did notice we spend a lot! So I have taken some simple actions, like dropping the IP phone noone ever uses, and we stopped "cable" in favor of Netflix and the state channels are free on the net so I bought a Chromecast ("Free", the government charge 2000+ NOK (obligatory) per year to fund these channels). Anyway, the spreadsheet's been sitting up on my computer for a few weeks, I've adjusted the numbers every two weeks. Working as a software developer (surprise, surprise) I started thinking about systems and databases and whether it would be possible to first build a model of the important details related to money and then have that same model contribute to your understanding and actions. So, there you have the Stephen King reference, ok I know that is not the original interpretation, but it got me thinking. Obviously, this is usually done manually by using spreadsheets and looking at reports and generally being mindful/setting aside time, but I am curious if some you have delved deeper into the realm of automation, for instance, building an inventory of household items and tracking/estimating potential savings, looking up prices/offers? Do you use scripts to massage your spreadsheets? Do you monitor events on the net?  Don't be shy! :)

I'm envisioning checking my virtual agent each morning, and observing what's in store for me that day: - Remember to fuel your car this morning, because gas prices are lowest this day of the week, - Purchase washing liquid through this special offer, - Consider, ordering your vacation trip early to save air fare......You catch my drift

marty998

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 04:04:47 PM »
For most of us, I would say this whole mustachian thing is either ingrained into our personality or is a learned habit.

FWIW the most complex thing on my spreadsheet is a sum formula. Not saying scrips and such are a bad idea, just not necessary for me.

happy

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 06:41:20 AM »
I'm not in IT/financial fields. I have only a rudimentary understanding of spreadsheets: yes I have a few.
I track manually/or by billing and enter into YNAB regularly.
It will make some fancy reports.
I don't use a smart phone app.

I know what I'm spending and make adjustments as I go along. Having a list of expenditures is helpful because you can play games striking things off and nipping and tucking to see the overall effect.

Personally I think the biggest yield is in the simple actions. Some of us here don't track anything: to quote one prominent moderator  he doesn't spend much coz he doesn't want much. Thats all he does: just doesn't want much.

But if IT bells and whistles are your thing, so for it! Just not sure how much further down the track it will take you.

PS Its possible I just don't have any idea of what you are talking about. Just retire ole Happy out to pasture.
 and I'll be …you know…happy.

Norwegian72

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014, 09:56:44 AM »
Don't get me wrong, most people do this manually and are very effective doing this manually. Hell I even suspect quite a lot of you enjoy looking for ways to save and optimize and love reading these forums even though you may already have got it :) The cue though I am looking for is optimization. It's a bit like a project where you try to optimize the use of people and skills in order to deliver as fast and cheaply as possible. Planning I'm sure is pretty ingrained in most of you here, so I was basically just looking for optimizations that may not be practical to do manually, but algorithms could root out. This is after all how some broker houses quite successfully skim the market (a practice which should be illegal, but that's a different discussion).

A simple example would be that if supermarkets actually published their prices for each item in a machine understandable form, then an algorithm could compare your needed list, calculate where you would purchase each item and estimate the savings based on that making it possible for you to decide without further work on your part, whether that would be worth it. 50cents saved, maybe not so interesting. 50$ saved, well might be worth it depending on the extra gas needed. The beauty of algorithms is of course searching all possible solutions to the problem and present you with the best solution.

GreenHorn101

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014, 11:07:17 AM »

 
Don't get me wrong, most people do this manually and are very effective doing this manually. Hell I even suspect quite a lot of you enjoy looking for ways to save and optimize and love reading these forums even though you may already have got it :) The cue though I am looking for is optimization. It's a bit like a project where you try to optimize the use of people and skills in order to deliver as fast and cheaply as possible. Planning I'm sure is pretty ingrained in most of you here, so I was basically just looking for optimizations that may not be practical to do manually, but algorithms could root out. This is after all how some broker houses quite successfully skim the market (a practice which should be illegal, but that's a different discussion).

A simple example would be that if supermarkets actually published their prices for each item in a machine understandable form, then an algorithm could compare your needed list, calculate where you would purchase each item and estimate the savings based on that making it possible for you to decide without further work on your part, whether that would be worth it. 50cents saved, maybe not so interesting. 50$ saved, well might be worth it depending on the extra gas needed. The beauty of algorithms is of course searching all possible solutions to the problem and present you with the best solution.

Pretty cool idea. Have you can look into PriceSpotting? They have an app that let you compare grocery price of nearby stores. However, I have never used it and not sure how accurate their price is. I would imagine Supermarket would be quite reluctant to publish their up-to-date price list?

http://pricespotting.com/


If their price is accurate and you get access to their database. I guess what's left is just putting in inventory tracking and budgeting function, should be doable.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 11:11:20 AM by GreenHorn101 »

Norwegian72

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014, 12:32:46 PM »
In my country I couldn't find any stores volunteering this information. I've seen some early attempts at digesting the different stores' special offers, but nothing searchable yet. It makes perfect sense that stores don't disclose that information, they don't want to you to optimize, they bait with special offers, but it's probably all the other stuff where they make their profit. However due to technological advances and consumer organization it shouldn't really be that hard to collaborate on providing resonably up to date prices by using smart phones and doing a small part each. I believe there are early attempts on this as well, so I'll have to do a bit more research.

GreenHorn101

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Re: Do the day and let the day do you - stay with me
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014, 02:20:19 PM »
In my country I couldn't find any stores volunteering this information. I've seen some early attempts at digesting the different stores' special offers, but nothing searchable yet. It makes perfect sense that stores don't disclose that information, they don't want to you to optimize, they bait with special offers, but it's probably all the other stuff where they make their profit. However due to technological advances and consumer organization it shouldn't really be that hard to collaborate on providing resonably up to date prices by using smart phones and doing a small part each. I believe there are early attempts on this as well, so I'll have to do a bit more research.

In the end of the day, it all boils down to "demand". An average consumer may not found it worthwhile to spend all this time and effort just to save $5 or $10 bucks. "Convenience" is far more important.