Entries in product development (1)


Budget Planning

Today we launched a first iteration of our new Budget Planner. It's at the 'Minimal Viable Product' stage and over the coming weeks and months we'll be evolving the product based on the things we learn from its usage, and discussions with (current and potential) users.


If you want to take a look, it's the one marked as 'beta' here: moneyadviceservice.org.uk/budgetplanner – it'd be great to hear any feedback, or suggestions for what more it needs to do in order for it to be more attractive. Friends outside of the UK, it's designed with the UK in mind (in terms of currency and categorisation) but some of the principles may still apply to you.


Having only joined the Budget Planner team a week or two ago I feel a little bit of a fraud writing about it, full credit goes to those who've been working on it for the past few months. But looking ahead I'm excited to be working with team to take the product forward.


The goal of the Budget Planner is to help capture an overview of the money you have coming in vs. your monthly outgoings. You provide your income at whatever frequency you typically get paid, and then your outgoings that are broken down into categories. If you've a rough idea you can provide an estimate, or if you want a more calculated view then at each category level you can drill down to a more granular level. For example, 'Household Bills' breaks down to mortgage/rent, council tax, ground rent, etc.


It all sound pretty straightforward, right? And it is. But raise your hand if you reckon you've a solid understanding of how all your monthly outgoings breakdown. If you put your hand up then aside from looking pretty silly in the office, on the bus, or wherever it is you're reading this, you're also in the minority. And that's what we're trying to change.


No matter what your financial circumstances, whether you're struggling to make ends meet, or have surplus cash at the end of each month having a clear picture of where your money is going is a fundamental step towards good financial health.


There's a whole host of additional functionality that we're considering incorporating in the future, but I think to write about them here and now would be misleading. Instead I'd like to open up conversation with potential users of the product to understand their wants and needs, and allow that learning to inform how we further develop the product.


So with that in mind, if you've any suggestions, comments or feedback please do let me know. If you're in London, lets grab a coffee, or if you're further afield email, Skype, Twitter, comments. Whatever works for you!