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What would you want from a Camino finances app?

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
I'm looking at making an app for tracking your finances as you go along the Camino. In the past I've done this with a mobile spreadsheet, but I realise that having a dedicated app for it would be a lot more practical. I wanted to ask the forum what sort of features they'd want from a Camino-focussed finance app.

I'm currently thinking of including:
  • Tracking ATM withdrawals (also with GPS)
  • Average per day spend
  • Projecting the cost for whole camino based on hiking speed and location
  • Calculating per-week and per-month projections
  • Allowing one-off costs to be excluded from daily spending calculations
  • Allowing break days to be excluded from distance-based calculations
Has anyone any thoughtful input on what they'd like in such an app?
Thanks!
 
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alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I tried keeping track of expenses on our Camino and gave up after day 2. I thought it would be helpful for people who asked me later. I end up just going off what I had spent from my dedicated Schwab Travel ATM card.
From an app I’d like ease of entry. Open the app and that day shows up. No selecting of days. Make a one click to enter breakfast, snack 1, snack 2, lunch, dinner, pharmacy, lodging, etc.
At the end of the day just click end day and have it open the next time to the following day.
GPS tracking is a nice feature, easier than typing in a location.
I’d try it out.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
For meals allow for a second breakfast. Allow for how meal was taken (at lodging, restaurant, bar, pilgrim meal, self cooked, shared cooked, groceries, etc.) Type of lodging (outdoors, free, donativo, municipal, parish, hotel, parador, b&b) Allow marking something as a credit card purchase?? Transportation by taxi, bus, etc. Pack transport. Donations to people or churches. For common items have an "includes" option such as coffee for breakfast, beer for lunch, wine for dinner.

I realize that all this might be more than some will want to use so maybe have a setting on installation for complexity.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Thanks for the input, everyone.

I was thinking that the first version of the app wouldn't actually track things in different categories of spending, just how much you were spending in total. As you say, Rick, I think this level of complexity might be overkill for some people. When I'm on the Camino I really just need to know how much I'm spending in total, rather than breaking it down into albergues, coffees, food, laundry etc. Only then if I find out I'm way over my budget, I'd be interested in a finer breakdown to see where the problem area was.

There are many good finance apps already, like the one Lissie mentioned, so I don't want to replicate this functionality. However, I was thinking there might be room in the market for one which tracks total expenditure over each stage, maybe combined with GPS, and projects costs into the future for you, based on knowledge of the trail. For instance, if you're averaging 22 km a day and spending 30 euros a day and the app knows you've made it to Burgos, it can project how many days more your camino will take at the same pace and what the total cost would be. There could be a separate category for incidental costs, such as replacing lost items or medicines, that wouldn't be factored into the normal daily costs of food, laundry and accommodation.
Your point about the credit card purchase is brilliant, Rick. There also needs to be a separate category for these items, as it's easy to overlook these.

Just thinking out loud here really... keen to hear other perspectives on this :) ...
 
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Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Another thought. Allow for a comma (or other character) separated file dump of the data so spreadsheets can be used. Commas may not be good because they are sometimes used as decimal points.

This may not be useful at first but keep it in mind when you design the app so it can be easy to add in a later release.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
This is a good idea. I would be interested in the final product. I will be doing my 2019 Camino from May 1.

Don't overlook the costs of getting to and from the Camino. this should include:
  • ground transportation to and from planes, trains or buses.
  • point-to-point transportation, air or ground
  • transfers from these stations or airports
  • enroute ground transportation, like if you skipped and rode part way in a taxi or bus
  • lodging before you started, after you ended, etc.
  • sustenance on the terminal ends, but I think you have that in the daily spend screen.
Don't forget souvenir purchases...as a separate category from sustenance purchases (food, snacks, water, beer...)

I liked the suggestion to have one screen per day. I also think it might be helpful to have two categories of screens, "off camino" and "on camino." My thought is that you do not need to ask questions about airplanes and airport or train station shuttles or taxis every day - it saves screen real estate. You could make it conditional or put it on screen #2...

I have done this using a Excel spreadsheet on my iPhone. But it is a pain in the butt... A dedicated app might be better. If you want it to be even more flexible, you could make it a generic "holiday / vacation" app, and have a configuration setting to change the focus from regular holidays ' vacation to Camino.

Just some thoughts.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
If you want it to be even more flexible, you could make it a generic "holiday / vacation" app, and have a configuration setting to change the focus from regular holidays ' vacation to Camino.
Excellent idea. At least keep it mind during the design phase.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Excellent idea. At least keep it mind during the design phase.
Yes, the only really Camino-specific parts will be the tracking of how far you've hiked, and projections for the whole camino. For this it needs to know at least how long your trail is, where you are on it, and your average distance per day.

I'm not so interested in having hundreds of tiny categories for expenses. It is my guess is that only a few users would bother actually filling them in. You don't really need to log every individual coffee IMHO. It should be enough to say:
At the start of the day I had 50 euros in my pocket, at the end I had 13 and didn't use my credit card, so I've spent 37 euros today. That's 2 euros over my budget, so I'll try to spend 2 euros less tomorrow.


Putting together what people have said here, I can really only see three big categories:
  • daily spend (albergue, food, drink, laundry)
  • travel there and back (flight, bus, train, hotels on the way)
  • incidental one-off purchases (medicine, new shoes, souvenirs, etc)
And I would subdivide these into cash purchases and card-purchases, as these need to be tracked separately.

It seems to me the value of such an app is just to keep you on track for your daily spend, not to have minute breakdowns of every cent that passes through your hands.

Does anyone fundamentally disagree with this approach?
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It is not a fundamental disagreement, more of a refinement really:

Daily expenses might be better broken down to:

Accomodation Cost
Food Cost
Health Care and Supplies
Non-Food provisions / supplies (e.g. stuff you need to buy along the way)
Luxuries (gifts, souvenirs, etc)
Laundry Cost
Transportation Cost
Transportation type (A = air, B = Bus, C = taxi/coach, S = boat, T = Train)

All entries would have a cash or credit modifier.... Cash includes debit card use...

That provides a more robust analytical capability. If you can, provide an export capability of the data to a standard worksheet format. Examples include XSLS, CSV, etc. Ideally, I would like to move this into Excel to slice, dice and analyze where my funds go.

Just ideas really...the added effort is slight but the utility is much greater...

Hope this helps.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Thanks for the input, everyone.

I was thinking that the first version of the app wouldn't actually track things in different categories of spending, just how much you were spending in total. As you say, Rick, I think this level of complexity might be overkill for some people. When I'm on the Camino I really just need to know how much I'm spending in total, rather than breaking it down into albergues, coffees, food, laundry etc. Only then if I find out I'm way over my budget, I'd be interested in a finer breakdown to see where the problem area was.

There are many good finance apps already, like the one Lissie mentioned, so I don't want to replicate this functionality. However, I was thinking there might be room in the market for one which tracks total expenditure over each stage, maybe combined with GPS, and projects costs into the future for you, based on knowledge of the trail. For instance, if you're averaging 22 km a day and spending 30 euros a day and the app knows you've made it to Burgos, it can project how many days more your camino will take at the same pace and what the total cost would be. There could be a separate category for incidental costs, such as replacing lost items or medicines, that wouldn't be factored into the normal daily costs of food, laundry and accommodation.

I agree. Just being able to easily track daily expenses and project out is good. Keep it simple for Pilgrims. Like you said, there are other apps that do the rest of detailed tracking.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Thanks! I see that the fine-level tracking is what you're after, @t2andreo, but I think there's probably already apps that do this really well already. @lissie45 mentioned Trail Wallet, and it's hard for me to see how I could compete with something like that. Are there things you'd want from an app like this which don't exist already?

I'm seeing my crowd as being more the sort of people who don't want to have to enter into their app every time they spend 1,20 on a coffee, but still want to have an overview of how much they're spending daily. There's not much point in me reinventing the wheel. Without a unique Camino-specific approach, I'd say you'd be better off with something like Trail Wallet.
 
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JonWhiten

Frustrated :)
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances - 24.07.2017 - 21.08.2017
Next?
I'm looking at making an app for tracking your finances as you go along the Camino.

<SNIP>

Has anyone any thoughtful input on what they'd like in such an app?
Thanks!
Store photo of the receipt (if available)?
 
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www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
Brilliant thread. I hope you get some good answers here, H Richards. When we did the Camino in 2013 we didn't take any notice of the cost, simply forked out as we went along and went seriously over-budget. We found things very cheap, which I think is half the problem because then you tend to spend more! We did find ourselves using the dreaded Card near the end, which we had hoped to avoid.

We are thinking of cycling the Norte this year and will be more astute when it comes to expenses - right now, we haven't a clue what even a cup of coffee costs. So an app might be a good way of keeping track of our daily spend, although I have an android smartphone.
 

Ungawawa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017-20: Francés, Norte, Francés, Portuguese Lisbon Coastal, Portuguese central
Brilliant thread. I hope you get some good answers here, H Richards. When we did the Camino in 2013 we didn't take any notice of the cost, simply forked out as we went along and went seriously over-budget. We found things very cheap, which I think is half the problem because then you tend to spend more! We did find ourselves using the dreaded Card near the end, which we had hoped to avoid.

We are thinking of cycling the Norte this year and will be more astute when it comes to expenses - right now, we haven't a clue what even a cup of coffee costs. So an app might be a good way of keeping track of our daily spend, although I have an android smartphone.

Yes, I've picked up a couple of priceless ideas from this thread. I'm now onto the design phase, scribbling out the User Interface on graph paper!

I too went way over budget on my first camino. A large part of this was all the snacks, coffees, bottled waters and beers that were non-essential. It's my idea for the app, that if we know how much we spent in a day, cash and card, we can probably get a sense there and then how that money was split up into food / albergue / luxuries / etc. Namely, merely the act of tracking the total amount should make you aware enough to stay on budget, without having to note down everything individually. We'll see if this bears out in real life...

Regarding the Norte, you'll need to plan your accommodation carefully to stay on budget. When I did it last summer I ended up staying in hotels several times because there was no albergue within 10km of where I wanted to stop. This is to some extent offset by the prices of food, which are generally a little cheaper and of better quality, being priced for locals and not large numbers of pilgrims like the Frances.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
www.cyclingsofties.blog
Camino de Santiago, 2013
Good tip. Although we'll be on bikes - once a cyclist and all that - so the criteria of finding a place that isn't too far to get to won't be so bad as long as it's not mega miles, of course. The holiday shouldn't cost as much as we spent last year in France (2018) - when we ended up paying on average 100 euros for a night in a hotel because it was too hot to use the tent we had carried with us (it was July after all and during one of the hottest Julys on record). We need to remember to stay away from any coastal areas during the summer months too because everybody else will be there, so this means we won't be riding the Norte in July or August!
 

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