Today, we live in a money-spending world where consumers do not pay much attention to their buyings and exceed their spending limits. As these expenses and debts pile up, many people regret making the financial decisions they are used to making. Over-consuming is a serious issue, especially in our present-day young society, which is why our team of 4 decided to create Spent, a web application that allows you to mainly track expenses.
What it does
After creating a Spent account with email, Spent allows the user to record their daily expenses, which will be displayed on a table. The program will calculate your total expenses, giving you a picture of how much you exceeded or fell behind your limit by over a period of time.
How we built it
The front-end of the application was coded mainly in the web languages (HTML, CSS, JS), while the back-end was coded with Python3 and Google App Engine.
Challenges we ran into
We had many different ideas before starting on this project late on the first day of the hackathon. Our first main idea was a business workflow web app, where you could visualize your project as a tree with many different branches. However, we scrapped that idea since there were already many innovative workflow applications on the web and changing the layout of a project was not creative enough for a successful end product. Next, we borrowed a Fitbit from the hardware lab and tried to create a Fitbit software that allows you to maintain a constant or move to a faster pace during your workouts by vibrating when your average pace decreases. This idea was also not ideal, as the Fitbit API was very difficult to use and comprehend and most of us did not have any experience in working with API’s. With our money-tracking application, the main difficulty we had was time constraints and fatigue, as we started this project late into the first night of the hackathon. The process of brainstorming ideas took up almost 6 hours of our working-time and, along with not getting enough sleep right before the hackathon, made us all very tired.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Even without coming up with a solid idea before the hackathon, we determined to continue along and worked hard on an idea we came up with late during the hacking-period. With our determination, we successfully created the basic elements of our expenses-tracking app, such as the sign-in, expense inputs, and table, and fixed any bugs we came along, especially with the formatting. Even with the time constraints, we concluded with a successfully-working end product that everyone was satisfied with.
What we learned
First and foremost, our group learned that in order to be successful and time-efficient at a hackathon, we must meet up and come up with a solid idea beforehand. By not doing so at MasseyHacks V, we struggled to follow through with an idea and wasted a bunch of time brainstorming, which we could have spent adding extra features to our project. Individually, we all learned something new from our peers, whether it was a coding concept, how to collaborate and make changes on a single project, or innovative software for future collaborations.
What's next for Spent
The next main feature we wanted to add to Spent, but did not have time for, was to provide financial recommendations to a consumer who has overspent. Some of the main recommendations would include investing in investments and spending less on specific products. Furthermore, we would also like to implement more statistics (e.g. monthly budget) and different types of graphs (e.g. pie charts) for a better visualization of one’s spendings. Another cool feature we wanted to add was to link the expenses chart to your real-time credit-card transaction history. Instead of having to type out one’s expenses one-by-one, one would be able to automatically get their list of expenses with links to their credit-card transactions.