Last week we released a new feature using which you can send your bills via twitter direct message. The idea was to make it easier for entering bills. Today we release another feature that will make your life easier. Now you can email your bills to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enter the bill details on the subject of the email. Once you have sent the email, your bills will appear on the Notes tab. Next time when you sign in just save the note as appropriate bill type. Turn your email client into a bill entering machine thats fast and easy. We hope you enjoy using this feature
Tag Archive: Beezang
Lets face it, keeping track of expenses and bills is something we don’t enjoy. Its not something you would call a fun activity. Thats why here in Beezang we are trying our best to make it easier for you to stay on top of your expenses. We launched today a new feature which allows you to send in your bills via Twitter. Now you can send those bills as simple notes to Beezang, we will save it for you and when you got time you can sign into Beezang and save those notes as bills. To give you an example, how we recently used this feature. Last week Shivul went out of station with a couple of his friends from his undergrad school to attend their friend’s marriage. Now like any other trip that you take with your friends, this one also had a long list of bills that were split and paid by different people. He didn’t have access to internet on go. So what he did was send his bills as direct message via Twitter from his mobile. When they returned from the trip, he had all those bills waiting for him on Beezang.
Sending a direct message on Twitter hardly takes seconds either from phone, twitter web site or a twitter client. So now you don’t have to procrastinate on entering bills, its easy and fast. We hope you enjoy using this feature.
How to get started on this feature
1. Follow beezang on twitter.
2. Sign in to beezang, go to settings and add your twitter username.
3. Send your bills as direct message to beezang from twitter. e.g.
……….“lent 400 bucks to Sam”,
……….“spent 100 bucks on grocery for group home”.
4. Next time when you sign into beezang, you will see your direct messages in Notes tab. Click there and save the notes as appropriate bills.
To know more on how to use Twitter from your phone visit http://help.twitter.com/forums/59008/entries/14014-twitter-phone-faq
Before Beezang, we used a Google Spreadsheet to keep track of our apartment bills. So when we were ready with the first version of Beezang, we started using Beezang. The first thing we did was create a group for our apartment. Then we took the current standings of the group from the spreadsheet and entered it as a group bill into Beezang. As per the latest standings on the spreadsheet, Viru (our roommate) owed me say X and Shivul owed me Y. I created a group bill saying I made a payment of ‘X+Y’ and Viru’s share of the bill was X and Shivul’s ‘Y’. So, if you are using a notebook or a spreadsheet to manage your expenses and want to migrate to Beezang, thats all you need to do to get started.
One of the advantages of using Beezang is you can manage multiple groups. For us there were two groups. The first was the apartment which we shared with another roommate and the other was Beezang itself. We use the second group to keep track of bills related to Beezang that I or Shivul paid for. So we have these two groups “Roommates” and “Beezang”. All apartment related bills go into “Roommates” and all work related into “Beezang”.
We have refreshed Beezang with a new look and feel. This is as part of our continued efforts to give the best possible experience to our users. This is what had been keeping us busy last few weeks. We have also added the feature via which you can add a transaction directly from the summary tab be it a debt/loan or a group bill. Do let us know how you feel about the new interface.
For most of us the first experience of sharing a place with room mates comes when we join our first job. There are others who start sharing a place when they join college. While it is a new and exciting experience, it comes with a new set of responsibilities. This is the first time you are on your own. You are earning your own money and paying your own bills.
There are certain common expenses you will be sharing your room mates. Some of them are the apartment rent, maintenance bills, groceries that you buy for the house, common house hold items purchases and maid/cook’s salary if you keep one. By following certain simple protocols you can make your life easier managing all these expenses:
- Apartment Rent: One person has to take up the responsibility of paying the rent on the time. It’s easier to just set up an auto-transfer instruction with the bank settings to transfer the rent at the beginning of the month. The rest of the folks can do the same to transfer their share of rent to the person who paid for the rent. In case, the person who usually pays the rent to the land lord cannot do it for some reasons for a month, she should communicate it to other room mates so someone else can take up the responsibility. Paying your apartment rent on time is one of the key factors that keep your relationship with your landlord cordial.
- Household Items: When you move into a new apartment with room mates you will be buying stuffs like couch, television, beds, curtains so on. These items can be considered as one time expenses. Ideally it’s best if you can minimize common items that are purchased. Stuffs like beds or room curtains, you can probably on personal basis, while other items like common furniture in living room can be made a common purchase. When somebody leaves, you can decide mutually on how much depreciation to apply on the common items and then refund the person’s share accordingly. To find out how much is the depreciated price of the items purchased; you can look it up on online/offline classifieds for similar items.
- Maintenance Bills: It’s really difficult plus it’s unfair for one person to be responsible for taking care of all the bills. In an ideal case, you can just split the responsibility of who is going to pay which bill. But in real life it won’t probably work. Well an ad hoc assignment of who is going to be paying which bill for the month can still work as long one of you takes the lead to ensure that each bill has been taken care of. The person paying the bill should put in the receipt in common file that you guys maintain. (Yeah do maintain a file of all payments made, may help out in future in case of some misunderstandings in future)
- Groceries/Maid Salary/Miscellaneous: These are some other expenses you will be sharing. For groceries, make sure that you do split up the bills fairly. You don’t want your vegan room mate to pay for the Chicken Sausages you guys bought. Also ensure that you keep your personal purchases that you did with the common items separately. Once again, keep receipts of all purchases made for future reference if required.
One thing you must do is keep track of all expenses incurred. When everything is on record, there are fewer chances of conflicts and more time for fun.
Beezang grew out of our own needs.
I (Archis) used to track our expenses on a google spreadsheet, courtesy my senior who designed an elaborate spreadsheet which worked perfectly fine. Well, just that there was this occasional problem of bill duplication and the hours you have to spend going through the entries when its time to settle up. And then of course, more often than not we would procrastinate on entering the bills. Plus you could use the spreadsheet only for tracking the expenses I shared with my room mates. But there were other instances when I did split bills with other folks. There was this one instance when a bunch of us had a get together. The get together was fun, but after that we had to start an email thread that went for around 10 mails to figure out who is going to pay whom how much.
Shivul on other hand used a simple note book with his room mates to track expenses. Data entry was super easy. Anyone who paid a common bill or got groceries made an entry in the note book. However, consolidating all expenses was painful. They would spend an hour or so going through the entries, checking if there were any mistakes and then doing the maths.
That’s when it hit us maybe we should try building something that solves this. After all money management shouldn’t be this huge a task. Beezang is still in a very early stage. But our goal is to ultimately build a service that is super easy to use and doesn’t feel like a lot of work.
First of all, we would like to thank each one of you who have shared their feedbacks over email, im or on the site. We are trying to implement them as soon as possible. We have introduced three new features and wanted to give you guys brief overview of each one of them
- OpenId Login: Now you can login to Beezang using your Google or Yahoo id. You need not sign up for using Beezang . For the guys, who are feeling a bit uneasy now, relax . We don’t have access to your password or login details. Your login authentication takes place at the providers i.e. Google’s or Yahoo’s servers only. We have used a third party’s plugin called rpxnow which basically aggregates the authentication APIs of different providers to implement this feature. For those who are curious to know more about OpenId which makes this feature possible, click on http://openid.net/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenId
- Simplifying Group Bills: We have done some subtle changes in report group bill page. We have tried to make it easier to make entries of group bills where you split the amount unevenly. Let us take the scenario where Beezang users A, B and C want to split their lunch bill which came out to be 600 bucks. But hey, C didn’t have that Tandoori Chicken as she is a vegeterian, so her share of bill came out to 150 bucks only. Now all you gotta do is click on split unevenly, type in 150 bucks against C and voila, the rest of the amount is equally split between the rest of the members. Ok, now the next improvement that we have done is you can actually type in mathematical expression in the amount fields of group bills . So you don’t have to do any maths while entering a group bill. C always pays 15% of the grocery bill, cool just type in 0.15* (total amount of the bill) and the amount is there across C. While splitting a bill unevenly, you will find a small link saying auto-adjust besides the boxes that you edit. Well, just in case you edited the share of the wrong participant, you can click on auto-adjust and it will split the rest of the amount equally among all other members. We hope you enjoy, adding group bills now
- Share Bills over E-Mail: Now you have control over whether you want to share a bill with friend over email or not. You will find a check box in the Report Group Bill and Report Debt page and its your choice what you would like to do.
There are few more features coming soon. We just wanted to let you know that we hear you . We know there are some basic features missing like deleting bills. We are working on it and delete bills functionality should be up within a week. Keep sharing your thoughts with us.
We launched on Tusday, August 17, 2009. After that we spent hours reaching out to every one we knew about Beezang. The feedbacks have started pouring in. Our goal is to provide a service which people will find easy to use to maintain and keep track of their shared expenses. Your feedbacks help us identify the areas where we need to work upon and the new features that we need to bring in next. We introduced a new feature yesterday using which you can import your friend’s contacts from your GMail or Yahoo address book. Please note that its completely secure and we don’t store your email address’s password or other details.
A big thanks to every one who have tried Beezang. We look forward hear more from you. More to come soon