Week 2 – Methodology and Reflection

In the past years, I have tried different ways of documenting my personal data. The three most common methodologies I tried were: hand wrote things down on a dairy;  wrote things on a digital blog with sounds and pictures; used an app to help me document.

I found that I tracked the most when using the app.  I guess that is because it is more time efficient and easier to persist. So this time, since I really want to be able to keep a continuing personal data. I decided to use an app to help.

I decided to track my daily expenses (amount, category as well as the proportion of the expenses) by using a money tracking app.

The app I used is a Chinese app called Soonbook. (松鼠记账)

This app basically allows the users to set a monthly expense goal and track every deal of bill they spend every day. The users can choose a category, the method of payment (credit card/debit card/cash. etc), notes and pictures when they document one payment. More interestingly, you can not only to document the money you consume but also the money you earn and transactions among friends. The results will be shown in different ways that you can view: a note list, a chart, and a pie chart. You are also able to choose a different currency and set a timer to remind you every day.

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I started to use this app since 1.30 and have been tracking my daily expenses for a week. I definitely think this app has helped me significantly in terms of unferstading how much I have spent each day and what did I do. I also like the way it presents my expense record. I feel like it also has helped to reduce some unnecessary expense by asking me to set a monthly expense goal. So far I am quite satisfied with the tracking process.

2 thoughts on “Week 2 – Methodology and Reflection”

  1. General comments:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. When discussing your methodology, in the future, you should be aware of and try to explain the following aspects:

    1. Why are you tracking these aspects in the first place/What is your motivation? –> what is your central question
    2. How many times a day you track or what prompts your tracking
    3. How you plan to stay on track
    4. How your plan to filter your data if necessary
    5. what are similar projects which support your tracking behavior / how are you diverging in your own methodology?
    6. why you believe your tracking method will lead to greater understanding of X, Y, or Z.
    7. How/if you plan to self-experiment or change your behavior in any way / discuss the method of doing testing such as A/B/A/B testing, etc.
    8. What is the temporal dimension of the phenomenon you’re tracking (e.g. after how long do you believe you can use your data to characterize your behavior)

    I hope this helps!


  2. +1 to Joey’s comments. I didn’t know about this app but I’m excited to learn about it through your project :). I wonder what the export options are for these data. I know services like Mint (https://help.mint.com/Accounts-and-Transactions/888960591/How-do-you-export-transaction-data.htm) in the US let you export your data into csv formats which is then machine readable and flexibly ports to a visualization of your choice. You might look into a few apps to simultaneously track your transactions and try to compare them/assess accuracy over the next few months 🙂 Good luck!


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