"Didn't Get It" - a Beta Web App to Help You Save a Little Money

A while back, I had started a little web app, the idea of which was to help you save a little money by not buying the odd thing here and there.

The app is called "Didn't Get It", and it is available at https://didntgetit-bflnni.rhcloud.com/.

The goal is to have an efficient, low-transaction-cost way to record when you decided not to spend money on some little thing. This is intended especially for use on your phone at the instant when you are deciding to spend a few bucks or not. You can even add a button on your home screen that takes you directly to the site (see here for how to set that up).

This would let you get encouraging feedback as you see how those little "Didn't Get It" moments might add up.

Immediate positive feedback for saving a little money
(see here for how to make this web site be an icon on your home screen for quick access)

The app requires twitter login (with minimal privileges), which is purely used for user identification to store the information on the items you didn't get.

The way you use it that you're about to purchase some little thing, and you decide not to get it. It could be:

  • a soft drink with lunch
  • an impulse buy of some tasty-looking thing while grocery shopping (like that "spam" item in the screenshot)
  • a $4 latte instead of just a cup of good coffee
  • to split an meal order with a friend instead of getting (and maybe not finishing) a full order

You quickly (and ideally effortlessly) enter the info on the item in the two little inputs, and click the "Didn't Get It" button.

I have resisted getting too involved in fancier features at this point. All the app does is provide an easy way to note when you didn't spend a little money when you might otherwise have, lets you see the total of what you have saved so far, and see individual items. I don't even page the list yet, or let you edit the text of already existing items (these features are planned).

Will It Work?

I was curious to see if this could really work.

I've used it the last week, noting down the odd thing here and there I decided not to get that I might have historically have bought. I've "saved" $45 by not getting about 15 items. This is surprisingly large considering how small each little thing was - each little thing that otherwise would have been forgotten and the money gone - and that's why it might be important to have an easy way to record and review these items.

But is this "really" saving money?

My wife is skeptical, but I believe that this money is real. You might end up using that money on other stuff, or not at all, but the point is that that money would not have been there if you had indulged in those odd things here and there - little things that have likely slipped from your mind, taking your silver with them.

Of course, this is all based on the honor system. Like golf, it is so easy to cheat that it is pointless. It's up to you to know whether you were really about to spend that money or not.

Next Steps

I wonder if kids would find this useful - does the positive feedback encourage even more saving? I hope to find out via the (likely brutal) feedback from my own kids.

After a full week of using it, some other ideas are rising to the top as well, and the plan is to implement these as time allows.

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