Real Life: The Gen-Y Money Tracker

Think it's hard keeping track of your spending? 25 year old Shan from the Klang Valley did more. He tracked every ringgit and created an awesome infographic with the data! How's that for a Gen-Y twist on money management?

How many times have you heard about the bad money habits of youths today? They don’t budget, they don’t save, they spend recklessly; you get the idea. But that isn’t always the case and we found one guy who proves it.

MindValley Motion Graphic Artist, Shan Vellu is 25 and works in the more affluent part of the Klang Valley – Bangsar. At a glance, you wouldn’t think him different from his gen-y peers (and he is a lot less intimidating than his photo looks!). He likes travelling, eating out and attending concerts. But whilst enjoying his youth, Shan knows the value of money. For the past three years, he tracked every ringgit he spent and created cool infographics as photographic proof of where his money has gone in those years.

For many, even those much older, tracking money to this minute detail isn’t high on their list of priorities so we had to ask the question; what made you do it?

“Why did I start doing this? My dad. He often told me even, during my university days, to keep track of how much I was spending to see where my money goes. This would help me be smarter about how I spent it but I was never disciplined enough to do it back then. That changed when I started working. I did it for a year, and found the data interesting enough that I continued doing it the following year and the year after (it was also when I decided to start tracking the number of useless things I did with my money).”

Shan tracked his spending from the years 2011 to 2013, publishing his numbers in a lively graphic which shows his spending clearly. Being a graphic artist; the tools to make it were at his fingertips.

“Based on what I gathered last year, for this year I've basically decided to cut down on three things - clubbing, eating out and my phone bills and perhaps also look into investment options. Travel and concert tickets are the only two things I wouldn't enforce any strict budgeting on, mainly because it's the two things that I value the most in terms of experience - and you can't put a price on that.”

Not only does the graphics communicate Shan’s spending, it’s also engaging and entertaining in layout and copy with sections dedicated to regular spending, big purchases and even dating! Now, how many times have you taken a girl out only to look into your wallet with dismay at the end of the day?

Despite not having any personal finance training, Shan has done what any advisor would tell someone to do if they wanted to turn their finances around. He kept close track of his spending, created a visual for impact and used this to reassess his spending habits.

If Shan’s amazing money tracking is anything to go by; Gen-y could teach us a thing or two about innovative money management!

All graphics have been compressed for website bandwidth optimisation. To see Shan's graphics in full high-resolution glory, check his DeviantArt post.


Agree or disagree with this post? Questions? You also have your word!

  • Matt Ferguson


    • Blair Daly

      What a great inspiration for me to start keeping track of my expenses in detail too. This is beautiful, and really smart. Shan, tell us about your tattoo.

      • fashionlover

        A lot of people might have higher grocery and toll spending depending on where they livel But anyway good to track down, not easy to do for whole year!

        • Rae Zalani


          • Selva

            How do you keep track of these? Any app or software that you'd like to recommend?

            • Diana @ RinggitPlus

              Hi Selva, you should take a look at this great new locally made personal finance app:

              • Song


                • Shan

                  Blair Daly, sorry for the late reply - there isn't that much of a story behind the tattoo, but I'd like to think the lady on my arm bearing a rose as my lady luck. :)

                  Selva, for the most part I either note them down on my phone (as it's the one thing I almost always carry with me), save receipts (especially on bar nights), or simply remember them, in certain instances a combination of all three throughout the day. However, for this year, I'm trying two apps - the exact one Diana recommended above, Saved, and onetouchexpenser. And as a back up, an Excel spreadsheet on my computer and hosted online. Just to be safe, with all these pesky data crashes...

                  • Azri

                    Great One ! :D

                    • JayTee

                      What about rent?