These days, there are few things more valuable than finding your virtual doppelganger—a "friend" who shares many, if not most, of your tastes and traits. On Last.fm, his scrobbles reveal catchy new songs. On Twitter, her tweets reveal interesting new articles. And on personal-finance site Bundle, which launches today, his spending habits reveal invaluable savings tips.
"We've all wondered what our co-workers make, and how in the world our constantly broke friend can afford those three-week vacations," explains founder and CEO Jaidev Shergill. "That's okay. Wanting to know how people like you spend and save isn't simply voyeurism—it's the first step to getting ahead."
Sound vaguely familiar? It should: You can already use FiLife and Thrive to get crowdsourced financial advice, automatically share credit card spending with fellow deal-hunters on "Twitter for credit cards" service Blippy, and compare spending habits to the national average on Mint. What makes Bundle more useful—in some ways, at least—is a feature called "Everybody's Money." Here's how it works:
First, you tell Bundle who you are. You can do this by filling out a few boxes (age, marital status, income, and location), or by taking a fun quiz to find out your "spending type." (Incidentally, I'm a Wired Thing.)
Next, Bundle crawls its massive collection of spending data—gleaned from the U.S. Government and Citibank, who's also a partner—to find your financial doppelgangers: people who live near you, like you, and with a similar paycheck. You can see what they spend, roughly, on shopping, travel, groceries, and more.
Once you select a bubble it splits into more specific categories. "Shopping," for example, yields "hobbies," "office supplies," "electronics," "clothing," and "general shopping." And once you click on those bubbles, the real fun starts: Not only can you see what percentage of your doppelgangers' income they spend on "electronics," but you can also learn what merchants they frequent.
It's the virtual (read: legal) equivalent of opening someone else's credit-card statement, or utility bill: Now that you know how—and where—they're spending their money, you can use that information to better manage your own.
Or, y'know, you could mock your neighbors for spending $536 at CVS.