Inspiration

Everyone knows in their hearts that they should follow a budget, but it's such a pain to keep track of what you've spent. Sure, there are apps for budgeting, but that means every time you buy something you've got to awkwardly open up the app, you've got to flip through a bunch of overlapping categories and try to figure out which one your spending goes with, and then you've got to fill out a form. Wouldn't it be so much easier if you had a friend who was looking out for you, automatically keep track of all your spending? You could just text him what you bought and let him figure it out. With Budget Friend, that friend is here for you.

What it does

Budget Friend is a bot for Facebook Messenger. You can give it a try! Just let Budget Friend know what your budget is for each of the built-in categories (food, education, housing, entertainment, and miscellaneous). Then when you buy stuff, just text Budget Friend to let him know. Budget Friend will automatically determine the relevant category and update your budget.

How I built it

The front end uses Facebook's Messenger chatbot API, powered by Node.js. Budget Friend automatically determines your spending category using a machine learning technique called Naive Bayes text classification, trained on hundreds of examples generated with Python's NLTK (Natural Language Toolkit). From there, it's just a matter of some simple math! Check out the source code!

What's next for Budget Friend

Budget Friend has a simple motto: Do one thing and do it well. That's why unlike many other chatbots, he focuses on just one thing: budgeting. Mainly, he would like to improve his knowledge of the English language in order to more easily understand your budgeting needs!

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