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.