That’s how much money I’ve spent online since December 2007. How do I know that? A handy-dandy web and iPhone (and Android, if that’s your thing) app called Slice.
Slice allows you to link you your Gmail or Yahoo mail email accounts to the service so that it can monitor your online shopping activity. After you click the “buy” button on a merchant’s site and a confirmation email is sent to your linked email account, Slice processes the email and creates a record of that purchase. Thereafter, additional emails received from the merchant updating the status of the order or providing shipping/tracking information are processed and linked to that purchase’s record in Slice; enabling you to go to the app for the latest and greatest information about all of your online shopping activity. Slice even brings in tracking information and can display the current status of your shipments on a map.
The available iPhone and Android apps really take advantage of this functionality. The mobile apps send push notifications about the shipping status of your order. On the day that your order is out for delivery by the carrier, you get a “heads up” alert pushed to your phone – so you know to expect that box on your doorstep when you get home. And anyone who has tried to track a shipment from a mobile device before will appreciate the simplicity of opening up the Slice app, clicking on the tracking status of an order, and having the current information display for you complete with a map view with just those few clicks.
Where Slice really got me hooked, though, was its ability to track and display your purchase history and then “Slice and Dice” that information into easily digestible charts that help you to see where you’re spending your money and what you’re spending it on. The Purchase History tab is where you can view your purchases by order or item and use filters to easily find things you’ve bought by Status, Merchant, or Item Type. Slice stores all of your receipts, so you can delete receipts out of your email in-box without worrying about needing to find them again in the future. If you need to return an item or contact a merchant’s customer service department about something you’ve purchased, Slice provides all of the information you need in one secure location. Slice will even monitor your purchases for price drops and help you request a refund if applicable.
On the “Slice and Dice” tab, I was easily able to select just the last twelve months and produce a series of charts to help me analyze my spending.
The charts enable you to easily drill down into categories or merchants to provide further detail. I could see, for example, that I’d spent $1,230.87 on Amazon.com in the last 12 months, and by drilling down into that piece of the pie, I was provided with a monthly spending trend and summarization of how much I’ve spent broken down into categories at Amazon during that time.
I already had all of this information in my email in-box, of course, but the power of Slice lies in its presentation. I’d love to see the app help me take the next step, though, and provide me with some context for my data. Is my spending above or below average? Could I have potentially saved money on my purchases by buying at a different time of the year, when that type of item is typically on sale?
I’ve really enjoyed using Slice and have come to rely on the app for tracking my online spending. I’d recommend it to anyone who shops online, though you have to be comfortable with the idea of another company having access to all of your spending habits and history. Slice is free to use and their website doesn’t say how they plan to monetize their service. Your user data is secure and encrypted at the item level, so items can’t be associated with individuals. But it’s pretty safe to assume that in some way your data is being aggregated and sold – just as with any social network or other “free” service online. For me, the pros of using the service outweigh the potential cons and I’ll continue to use the service. Check it out for yourself at slice.com or by downloading the Slice app from the iTunes App Store or Android Marketplace.