The most common financial issue in my interviews and online surveys was overspending. When I asked, “Was there a time you felt your spending was in line with your earning?”, a subject talked about a recent work trip when they had a Per Diem. Determined to not spend any of their own money, they stuck to the $75/day allowance their company offered them for a week. I wanted to explore this idea to see if a user’s own spending money could be structured as a Per Diem.
Problem statement: Could an allowance help users pace their own spending?
The Big Idea: Per Diem as Allowance for Grownups
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To test this idea, I created a spreadsheet on my phone that divided my checking balance by the number of days until payday. Every day I would enter my balance, and it would calculate a daily average or “Per Diem”. While I never spent exactly my Per Diem (or even close), there was a natural feedback look which allowed me to pace my spending. If my Per Diem went down one day, I knew to cool it until it went back up again. I loved this and wanted to incorporate this in the app.
Exploration: What Does a Per Diem Look Like?
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This is an early implementation of three different toggles of the same screen. This is the first time I split the stack apart to show a daily spending amount, a design which carries through to today.
Exploration: Spent vs. Remaining Money
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I got positive feedback from my users for the isometric stacks design I used in the Concierge Version, so I decided to move forward with it. Here are a bunch of different sketches I made of how they could be arranged to show your Spending Per Day. I chose to use gray to denote spent money so the user could tell at a glance what was spent vs. what was remaining.
Exploration: How to Communicate Amount?
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When you look at a bank statement, there’s little visual difference between an $19 expense and a $91 expense. At a glance, the glyphs take up the same amount of space even though there’s a nearly 5x difference in value. So I took the opportunity to show a different stack height for different amounts of money whether it was spent (gray) or remaining (green).
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At the top are different amounts of spent money arranged by day, followed by the remaining Per Diem. At the bottom is the anticipated next paycheck.