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I started making a personal finance app. Why?

This article is a translation and adaptation of my article in Russian.

Since around 2014, I've been keeping track of my finances in Google Spreadsheets. It always went like this: 2-3 times a week, I'd sit down at the computer, gather receipts, go through the transaction history in banking apps, recall expenses from memory, and record them in a spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet had one row for each day, and columns for accounts, wallets, and a couple of calculated fields. There was also a "Notes" field where I would describe in almost free form where the money went.

An example from 2016. I have converted the original prices from Russian roubles to euros for clarity.

As you can see, I didn't exactly have a lot of money. Probably because I mostly ate and drank coffee instead of working, but the point is that I didn't want to economize on these daily things at all. Saving on everyday items and cutting back is fundamentally unnatural for me, and I've always tried to avoid it. Therefore, the question "Where does the money go?" didn't concern me at that moment, but more interesting questions did:

  • How much money do I have right now?
  • How much did I have a month/six months/a year ago? Have I become richer or poorer?
  • Can I afford to spend on a vacation/buy a new phone/go to a private clinic right now? Will I go into the red by the next paycheck?
  • What should my income be so that with my current spending, I start saving any money at all?
  • How soon will I start starving if I lose my job?
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