Side project: Simple expense tracker for busy people

busywallet

I used to track my expenses religiously for 8 years – initially using notepad and Excel, later with GnuCash.

In 2011, when I started my own company, time became a limited commodity. I found it hard to keep track of my expenses. So I devised a simple minimalistic method to track my expenses – one that took just 15 minutes every month.

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4 years hence

It’s been exactly 4 years since I quit from my last job. This morning, kept pondering over the years gone by.

4 years is a long time. I’ve had my share of ups and downs. Here’s a short long note on how things have been so far.

tapprs

The 1st Tapprs office, Basavangudi

My idea behind quitting the job was to explore an entrepreneurial opportunity. To see if I had it in me to be an entrepreneur, if I could learn the ropes, if I could build a business, make it sustainable and possibly scale it up.

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Never play the Russian roulette

Charlie Munger often says, “tell me where I’m going to die, so I will never go there”. Avoidance of terminal risk is of great importance to him (and to Warren Buffett).

That is a very important thing to follow in life.

A Russian roulette is one game that is simply not worth playing at any price, even though the odds are in your favor. (There is a 5/6th chance that you will survive and there is a 1/6th chance that you’ll get the bullet, if the chamber is reset every time.)

Any game that can get you killed is just not worth it! Even if there is a good chance that you might survive and win a hefty prize.

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True financial freedom

“I want to be financially free, so I can pursue whatever I want in life”. I hear this statement often.

A friend and I were discussing money and financial freedom, amongst other things in life.

“How much is enough money to be financially free? How do you decide?” I asked my friend.

Is it a fixed number? The ability to not work for money and have enough of it to pay all your bills through your lifetime? Or is it 30 times your annual expense? 50 times? Having a good part of it in inflation beating investments? Or having a business that has good free cashflow and longevity?

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Track your expenses without sweating it out

For several years, I used to track my expenses religiously – partly because of my interest in personal finance and largely because I have an OCD on maintaining data, esp numbers.

From 2003 until 2007, I used excel sheets to manage my accounts. From 2008 onwards, I used Gnucash. Whichever the system or tool, the data is only as good as the data entry. And that can be time consuming! By 2012, I was pressed for time and it no longer made sense for me to track my expenses so religiously. Especially since I had good control over it and roughly knew my numbers. (I realized its way better to spend time on investments than on expenses.)

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12 things I learned from Jorge Paulo Lemann

A few months ago, while reading Buffett’s annual letter, I came across 3G Capital and its principals, mainly Jorge Paulo Lemann, and got curious.

This article on him that made me more curious.

lemann

Now, Buffett is an astute dealmaker. And fantastic at picking partners in business – nearly all his partners are people with outstanding characteristics. Few examples are Charlie Munger, Tom Murphy, Mrs Blumkin, Albert Ueltschi and Ajit Jain. Even the lesser known people like Ted Weschler and Todd Combs are ones I’ve come to admire a lot.

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A decade of investing

I just realized its been exactly 10 years to the day since I first entered the stock market. Being risk averse and skeptical, I equated stock market to casinos and thought I’d never touch it with a long pole. Little did I know that a large part of my own life would be devoted to studying and investing in that very same treacherous market.

The date was May 17, 2004. A senior colleague looked very pale and I came to know that he had lost a lot of money that day in the crash. I was perplexed as to why people invested in risky things such as the stock market and vowed that I would do no such stupid thing.

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We screwed up – but we will own it up

feedback

Few months ago, we moved to a store model where the place is now run completely by its own people and I manage it from outside.

We’ve had challenges, issues and lessons, tried different things, screwed up few times and learnt from them.

We will continue to make mistakes – that is inevitable, especially in an operations intensive place like ours. The day you stop making mistakes, it only means you are not moving forward. However, we aspire to be a really good customer centric place. And we want to own it up when we screw up. And sincerely try our best to rectify our goof ups.

Also, we want to learn from the mistakes and build internal systems to pre-empt them and prevent them from happening again.

It hurts when a customer says he was not happy with the service, but thats the harsh reality in doing business – there will be times when we will screw up. When that happens, we want to own it up fully and fix it.

Hopefully, we will remain true to that!

The day we don’t, I have told our office folks that the Tapprs name will be taken off.

 

The decision to allocate capital

Last year, in June, I liquidated most of my debt investments thinking that I would invest it in my own company.

outsiders

In that period, I also read this book – “The Outsiders”. I really liked the modus operandi of the entrepreneurs featured in the book. They were all capital allocators and had done very interesting things – many a time going against conventional ‘grow big’ logic. Those guys often would ask themselves,  “which is the best option to put my next Rupee into?”. They would always seek an edge. And got out of businesses with leaky-boat economics. And invested heavily into businesses where they could build more competitive advantage.

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