Need a quick and easy system or app to help keep track of small transactions while I'm out.
August 5, 2007 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a good way to use my iPhone, Mac, and/or .mac account to keep track of small amounts of money that my friends and I owe each other. Any suggestions?

Here's a typical scenario:

Friend: Hey, let's go to this concert!
Me: Sure, I'll buy the tickets and you can pay me at the show!
(two weeks later, while shopping)
Me: Crap, I don't have enough cash for this must-have thing
Friend: Oh, I'll buy this for you now; then I'll owe you less at the show
(two weeks later, at the show, trying to figure who still owes whom what)
Me: ?
Friend: ?

This happens a lot. We're not trying to scam each other of course...we're just having a hard time keeping track of and remembering this stuff when we're out.

At home I'm a super organized person...I use Quicken, .mac, iCal religiously. Now with the addition of iPhone I feel like there must be an easy way to organize all the small, on-the-fly money exchanges between me and my friends.

I am looking for either A) a method to keep track of stuff (earlier today I tried to send a text message to myself, so that I wouldn't forget that my friend and I are now evened up on a future event), or B) an app, widget, or calendar thingy that will make sense of these types of transactions.

I know it seems like overkill, but I really am that forgetful (especially when fun and alcohol are involved), and having a quick and easy "system" would help greatly. It'd also be great if the method/app wasn't a PITA elaborate scheme, so that my friends don't start thinking I'm a freakin' tightwad who must bust out her fancy pocket calculator every time a bill shows up. Also, my friends and I help each other out a lot, and that's part of what makes our friendships so fantastic, so suggestions about refusing to lend money or whatnot aren't going to be all that helpful. Thanks!
posted by iamkimiam to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Best answer: I'm thinking that the simplest path would be the easiest. I carry a pen and small spiral pad everywhere.
I set it out with my wallet, my keys, etc.
When something like this takes place, jot it down immediately, THEN transfer it into whatever gadget, widget, thingamabob or whozit you come up with.
This will also be useful when it comes to writing your memoirs, leaving a nasty note on an crappy parker's windshield, practicing your haikus and making really small paper airplanes.
But seriously, the simpler it is, the better.
Simple = easy = useful.
posted by willmize at 3:12 PM on August 5, 2007

posted by rbs at 3:21 PM on August 5, 2007

posted by jak68 at 4:32 PM on August 5, 2007

Not an iphone user, and along the lines of the text message, but is there some sort of voice recorder app? "Note to self: borrowed $8 from Betsy to buy must-have collectible Alf pog."

Also, regarding the "refusing to lend money thing", here's a quote from Knocked Up:

Pete: Just don't ask me to lend you any money.
Ben Stone: Can I just - have some?

posted by IvyMike at 4:37 PM on August 5, 2007

carry a small moleskine? really, simple solutions are usually best when it comes to simple tasks. also, you get the benefits of having a notepad with you.
posted by secret about box at 4:41 PM on August 5, 2007

You could just remember that your friendship is more important that what ever small sums happen to fall by the wayside. Thats easier than always remembering who owes you money.
posted by subtle_squid at 5:12 PM on August 5, 2007

I second the "simplest path" approach, and small packet of index cards works best for me. Alternatively, I heard there's a third party text-editor for iPhone now, here.
posted by ifranzen at 5:46 PM on August 5, 2007

Use the built-in Notes application on the iPhone.
posted by mpls2 at 6:44 PM on August 5, 2007

even better than the built in Notes app...couldn't you set a calendar appointment for the next day with the reminder? and if you aren't in a position to repay the person when the reminder goes off, set another one for a time that you think you could.
posted by mmascolino at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the great ideas people!

I like the billmonk idea...I checked it out and it's great! But unfortunately iPhone doesn't allow you to send SMS text messages to an email address (which is what Billmonk requires). Long story short, Billmonk and iPhone aren't compatible.

However, the pen and paper idea is pure genius. It'll be good to step away from technology every once in a while. It's blinding.

(if I find I can't do it, I'll try notes or creating an iCal appt.)
posted by iamkimiam at 7:39 PM on August 5, 2007

Just read this tip literally 10 mins ago in MacWorld magazine: (I've never used it though)
posted by edjusted at 10:38 PM on August 5, 2007

Umm, couldn't you use the billmonk web app?
posted by rbs at 8:03 AM on August 6, 2007

The paper/pen solution sounds like it'll work for you, but if you then want to enter the items into an online system, this one seems decent to me (in my limited use):
posted by inigo2 at 8:03 AM on August 6, 2007

BillMonk. You can even use the service to pay each other back.
posted by chunking express at 9:56 AM on August 6, 2007

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