After Craig and I had been using the “budget tracker” for a couple of years, we had a crazy thought. If we were able to use it and save money, would others be able to as well? In January 2012, we started thinking about turning the program that was just for us into an iPhone app that we could put on the App Store. We bought a Mac, Craig got his developer’s license and we got started.
Little did we know that it would be 9 long months before Spense would become a reality. Hours of brainstorming, design sessions, late nights of programming, questions and more questions taught us that developing an app in our basement was not an easy task.
Many of those hours were spent trying to come up with a name for our app. So many finance apps out there already had “expense” or “budget” in their names. We knew we couldn’t use “budget tracker.” We wanted to stand out. We finally came up with Spense, a combination of “spending” and “expense”.
I spent many frustrating days with photo manipulation and graphic design software only to realize that creating a logo and icon were beyond my capabilities. We decided to hire a graphic designer, because we knew that the icon would be the first thing that draws people to our app on the App Store. Amy Ottalagano of Amy Lee Graphic Designs worked tirelessly with us for months on developing something simple but eye catching. We couldn’t be happier with the result!
Craig and I spent many weekends playing around with the design and layout of the app. We wanted it to be simple, straight forward, and user friendly. The easier it is to use, the more likely people will be to use it.
We submitted Spense to the App Store for approval on August 27, 2012 and waited on pins and needles to see if it was approved. Finally, on September 4th, we got the email that said Spense was ready for sale in the App Store. It was an unbelievable feeling!
I did loads of marketing the day that Spense was approved. Within 48 hours we had been featured on 3 local TV news programs and within 2 weeks, Spense had been in 37 newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations around the country. Our hard work had paid off!
Now that Spense is available on the App Store, that doesn’t mean our work is done. I spend hours every day with social media, marketing, maintaining the website, and answering questions about Spense. Craig works nights and weekends on updates to Spense, and we are planning to start work on an Android version within the next few months.