Beating Inflation through better money awareness

It is said that there is no escape from death and taxes. While we reel under tax burden, there is inflation eroding what ever is left in hand. Badri at Mind Your Money Blog offers a sensible approach to combat inflation: Become mindful about your expenses. Simple – easier said than done. But help is around!

In yoga they say, if you can watch(observe) something keenly, you can gain mastery over it. Much of yoga is about gaining mastery over death itself! Or fear of death to be precise. Similarly, if you watch your expenses and review them systematically often, you can gain mastery over your personal finance. And money worries vanish in the process. With some money mindfulness, you will find that your overall quality of life improving.

To make it easy to Mind your Money, NrichSoft released the version 2 of Enrich personal finance software. Enrich is easy to use, targeted towards common folks who are not accounting savvy.

Full Disclosure: Nrichsoft featured in this post is my consulting customer.

[Aside: In the age of web2.0 and widespread broadband, should a personal finance software be a hosted free service? Well, going by Enrich’s experience, it seems there is a huge market for shrink-wrap offline software in India. Non-techie folks are paying hot cash( Rs 995) and lapping Enrich up! I’m surprised, I’m sure you will be too.

Aside2: Google Ad based impulse buyers accounted for the most number of Enrich VPP returns. VPP is a Cash-On-Delivery method of posting a package. Not surprising on hindsight!]

About labsji

I blog, Therefore I exist ! Funny things are funny to me. Cool things are cool to me. Innovations tick me. I attempt spirituality religiously :)
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9 Responses to Beating Inflation through better money awareness

  1. krish says:

    Those who bother to key in the daily transactions in a software format would as well be disciplined enough to manage their finances by traditional methods of book keeping. Entails saving some power as well. Those that aren’t won’t bother anyway.

    The product could be made much more utilitarian if it tops up the account with cash needed to honor that incoming cheque ; and not just stop at alerting you against deficient balances 😉

  2. labsji says:

    Krish,
    Yes very true. But managing your finances electronically entails doing analysis on spending patterns.
    The requested feature – making money available for the incoming cheque is exactly the point of the software. More aware you are about your spending, more money you have for spending. Thus by regular practice of financial awareness, using the software, or otherwise, you will have more money!

  3. krish says:

    Seriously the “Top Up” feature could be an excellent upsell they should consider (ROI could be say 2% p.m), albeit made available to select customers that don’t make a wilful defaulter but out of inadvertence run low balances… The solution being a desktop stack, they can’t be alerted if they are traveling…

    Two questions –

    User needs a system at home since he can’t obviously load it on office machine. So it’s asking a customer to first spend Rs.30,000/- (minimum) on a desktop and then spend Rs.995/- on the package.

    Wondering why they can’t sell it as an “on-demand” hosted feature (costing something like Rs.50/- per user per year) than as a desktop stack…? With built in SaaS advantages of anywhere access, auto backup, data security and savings of hardware costs, it could overcome the biggest hurdle of low web adoption in India.

    Rs.995/- certainly sounds like bad economics to Indian customers…

  4. Badri says:

    Krish,

    Thanks for the inputs and feedback.

    You may be surprised to know that there are millions of Indians who have bought a pc at home but don’t have much to do with it!!

    So, we at NRich are not asking people to buy a pc just so that they can use Enrich but on the contrary asking them to consider using a software so that their investment ( if we can call it that) in their home pc is well utilized.

    We had considered a SAAS model but deferred it primarily because a customer survey indicated that they do not want to spend time and money (like dial-up charges or going to a webshop) just so that they enter details of their incomes and expenses and also that they are concerned about putting their personal finances on the net!!

    Your top-up feature is very interesting and thanks for that! But let’s remember that the Insufficient Balance warning gets activated only when all the transactions get entered (which is seldom done). Topping up comes much later!

    And perhaps you would like to elaborate on “995/- sounds like bad economics …”

    Cheers!

    Badri

  5. krish says:

    Online security concerns are appreciated but I think are clearly out of whack in this context. How far can even the most artful hacker get with an entry as staid as “HDFC EMI of Rs.20,500/- due on 15.06.2008” … Obviously your package don’t ask clients to keep ATM pin or online passwords in the stack!

    On the pricing front; the package helps organize financial data and gives you alerts – otherwise an alternative for much simpler book keeping that has the added ease of writing down (not calling for keyboard familiarity), saving on power, no threat of software getting corrupted (calls for a hard copy back up anyway) and – cost of maintenance, upgrades, if any. TCO for say 5 years could even include cost of a new hardware as well.

    SaaS + Top Up options at Rs.50/- p.m. per user + 2% ROI on amount topped up – should make it feature rich, differentiate it from multitude of (some even free) wealth management software available and will make many a customer sit up and take notice…

  6. krish says:

    Sorry, Read it as Rs.50 /- per year per user… in the last para.

  7. labsji says:

    The trouble with SaaS model for personal finance is not the hacker attack. But what the SaaS provider will do with the data. In the short term and in the long run.

    Regarding Rs 995 economics and ROI for the investment, I have an alternative point of view. If you regularly record your transactions, after a couple of years, you could even sell select portions of your own data. The trend of exposing select personal data like this is called VRM or Vendor Relationship Management. It is inverse of CRM – where data exists in vendors databases.

    More than SaaS mobile application for expense recording will be much appreciated if it has sync features.

  8. labsji says:

    Krish,
    Let me understand the Top of feature a bit more. Let me explain it as I have understood it.
    Based on user entered outflow data and based on inflow and balance details, when a situation arise that the balance becomes zero or negative, the SaaS service that will top up the bank account with money saving the user from embarrassment.
    For this line of credit, service charges(2% as suggested by you) will cover the costs and add to the profit.

    If this is the idea suggested, then it runs very counter to the spirit of the product/service. The spirit of the product is to help the user bring in awareness. Bring in visibility to spending habits. By offering a rescue line of credit, we are making it worse for the user. Or make him postpone the contemplation.

  9. krish says:

    Nobody sells software for spreading awareness, they go distribute leaflets at traffic signals 🙂 If their intention is so altruistic, before long they’ll soon see the back of their enterprise.

    Altruism fits in as a good side-kick sales talk, just as credit card companies fill you in on the ease of “revolving credit – get away with paying 5% of total dues” with the intention of gouging you from behind at 36% p.a.

    You surprise me by asking what SaaS provider will do with the data… Oh, boy ask me what he can’t do, instead… If he finds you maintain fairly large balances, he can upsell insurance, mutual funds, home / personal/auto loans – Gawd…it throws open a new line of CRM enterprise for him. Mobile don’t suit because CRM mobile intrusions are seen as annoying because they have a knack of interrupting you at most inconvenient – sometimes even most embarrassing – moments; A harmless email / SMS alert will do wonders.

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