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On a side note, I thought it would be a good idea to review this one because I remember the time when I had a meetup in Paris with some internet acquaintances. I purposely did not order liquor (for two reasons, one…not a big fan and secondly, I was watching my budget). Imagine my surprise after they had singlehandedly inhaled the contents of the establishment’s liquor cabinet that they announced to the waiter that we would split the bill six ways. Oh, not so fast, grasshopper…..I was only paying for what I actually ate. I wasn’t there to subsidize their drinking habits. So, I paid my portion and bid them farewell. I suppose some would say be a good sport and pay….you wouldn’t want them to think poorly of you, right? I figured that there was a reasonably good chance I’d never lay eyes on them again, so I thought more about not being taken advantage of than popular opinion. There, now that I’ve had a chance to vent…David…take it away!
Sharing expenses and working out who paid what is a chore that can become painful if it runs out of control.
Never is this true than on a trip when there are a lot of other much more interesting things to capture your interest.
What is the best way to stay on top of this? Should one keep the receipts to sort through later? What about those occasions when you don’t get a receipt? Should you scribble the amounts down in a small book as you go along?
I know that my Moleskine notebook used to get a lot of use that way.
Whichever method you use to record expenses, eventually you have to add everything up and work out who has to pay whom.
My Expenses Nirvana
My wife and I run separate bank accounts and we try to be fair to each other with expenses.
However, sometimes we stare at an entry and wonder whether the amount I scribbled down refers to the groceries one of us bought or some other purchase that remains a mystery.
Of course, if I made a careful record of each purchase it would be different. But scribbling notes ‘on the run’ and keeping careful records don’t always go hand in hand.
So when I saw an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPod that made the whole process easy, it didn’t take me more than a minute to decide to get it.
How It Works
To start a new trip, type in the names of the participants. Up to six people can be accommodated, as you can see here in screen one.
You only do this step once unless you start a new trip or change the participants.
Now the trip is set up.
Next time, when you click the icon to open the app, you will see screen two. Click the blue ‘+’ button at the top of the screen. That brings up screen three.
Choose the kind of entry you want to make (you can change the section names at any time), and that takes you to screen four where you enter the amount and the details of the payment.
Click for who paid, and click for who is going to share the cost.
It takes longer to explain than to do it!
Who Owes Who
When you want to see who owes who and what amount, turn the device sideways at any time and you will see the amount.
And if you want another record of your expenses, just email yourself a file straight from the app. Then at your convenience, you can open that file in Excel on your home computer.
It really could not be easier. All the arithmetic is done for you and because it is so easy to enter amounts and type in what the entry is for, it has turned a chore into a pleasure.
I highly recommend it!
When not exploring the world of iPhone applications, David Bennett is a photographer and designer who together with his wife Tamara runs Quillcards – a travel, photography and card site.