"Social money comparison site" aims to change the way we spend

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A new site is aiming to help US households manage their money by providing data from their neighbors.

Bundle, a joint venture between Citi, Microsoft, and analyst MorningStar, can show consumers what people in their neighborhood are spending on and where. The concept is designed to allow users to compare their spending to people in similar circumstances or compare the general living costs of different areas, by graphically displaying what money is being spent on.

The site aggregates, geographically tags and categorizes spending data from the US Government, Citi and third-party providers, providing a searchable database on average household expenditure across the US. Users can then specify which household type and age bracket they want to display, in which area, to be shown a graphic summary of how much people spend on everyday outgoings such as clothes, groceries, holidays or hobbies. They can also dig deeper to see average and median household spending in their area, along with a breakdown of stores, restaurants and businesses where people are spending.

For users considering a move elsewhere, or simply curious about their friends, Bundle allows comparison with a second location - confirming, for example, that New Yorkers spent an average of $602 on "Travel and Leisure" in October 2009, whilst residents of Austin, Texas spent only $296. Visitors can also share their insights with contacts on Facebook or Twitter.

"We've all wondered what our co-workers make, and how in the world our constantly broke friend can afford those three-week vacations," said site founder and CEO Jaidev 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, and the answers can be quite an education."

The company has not announced any plans to take Bundle outside of the US, but is planning several new products throughout 2010.

www.bundle.com

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