VanillaUtils – Expense Manager stats so far



2 from Pakistan (my lovely mother in law and my sister) – Both Asus Nexus 7

1 from Canada (maybe my brother in law) – Ruby

Feeling a little disappointed. I was hoping for at least 5 downloads on the first day from friends and family. But the issue is most people I know are using Apples or Nokias.

Another problem is that when you search “Expense Manager” on Google Play from the computer. My app appears on the fourth page. Thats terrible. No random person will go to the fourth page to download a random app. Worse still when you search “Expense Manager” from a mobile device only the first 500 apps appear and my application is not in it! Ofcourse if anyone searches my developer name “vanillautils” on GooglePlay from mobile or computer they will  get my app pronto. But no random person in the world will search vanillautils.

Husband is finding my sad face very entertaining. He is quiet is positive. He is expecting a few downloads from his friends when he goes to work tomorrow. Lets see how it goes.

Going forward, the only solution I can think of is doing some SEO optimization to get my app to appear on the first two pages of GooglePlay. But I have to see how it will be done. A blog I read quoted to tips

1. Using the right keywords in the GooglePlay app listing page

2. Getting Vanillautils and Expense Manager reviewed (I guess that would mean more links to my page) on other sites

Other than that I have to start work on charts and graphs for my Expense Manager. I have already downloaded the aChartEngine library a popular library for making graphs and charts. Going to tweak the demo they have provided to see how to make pie charts, bar charts and line graphs.

So this is the story so far. Looking forward for some comments from the readers:)



Android app on Google Play

An Android app to get a grasp of your expenses and budgets. Makes budget planning so simple anyone can do it. Create a budget plan, add expenses as they occur and analyze your budget performance.

– Create multiple budget plans. Don’t worry about accuracy you can edit your budget later.
– Easy to use expense manager to add, edit or remove expenses.
– Organize expenses by category or by date
– View a summary of your spending
– Analyze how your budget is doing. Have your expenses crossed your budget limit? If not will you cross it before the budget period ends? How much are you spending per day on average? How much you should be spending to avoid a budget overflow.

Follow news on the app on

Twitter: @VanillaUtils

GooglePlus: Vanilla Utils


Domain Name


My mind is boiling right now. I’m sure if you see me now you’ll see steam coming out my ears. I can’t find a good domain name that has not already been taken. Half the day is gone and not one name that has potential. I did come up with one name a few days ago and was quite happy with it. I even made the perfect logo for it last night. But HD rejected it saying it was too long and the acronym version of it was already taken. 

Finding a good domain name isn’t easy. It needs to be meaningful, attractive, memorable and the worst of all unique. 

App Developement:Learning, then Experimenting, then Doing


Just experimented with my blog theme. Found out you can change almost anything. Don’t really need to pay $30 to be allowed to make changes (not that I know much of CSS). Reason why I’m looking into all this is….. drum roll!!

I need to get another blog on board. This one will actually have purpose. This one will have its own domain name! I’m so psyched!

Actually I’ve been working on an application for Android phones and tablets.I started working on it a year ago when I decided to experiment with programming and choose Android as my platform. At that time I never dreamt that I’d manage to develop a complete application let alone get a hang of a completely new programming language. I have a business degree with a bi-major in Finance and IT. I have taken a few programming courses but not enough to make me a professional programmer. But my husband who knows programming said it’s all about aptitude and developing your skill. Obviously he was right.

My application is called Expense Manager (Lite). It will soon be out on GooglePlay as a free app. This app allows you to

1. set up your own budget with a start date, end date and an amount you plan to spend within this time.

2. log expenses as they  occur

3. analyze how your budget is being utilised. (For example are you already over the budget limit, if not based on your average expenditure are you going to cross your budget limit, etc).

4. and finally, you can view a summary of how you are spending your budget by date and by categories.

As life goes we are juggling multiple budgets at one time (college budget, home renovation budget. monthly home expenses etc). So This app allows you to maintain multiple budgets.

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the past one year. Learning, then experimenting, then doing. And now that its done. I have to publish it. I have given my app around to a few people for yet another round of testing. Once that’s done Expense Manager(Lite) will be out for everyone to download.

That bring me back to why I was experimenting with the themes. I have to make a proper website to showcase my app. I’m planning to do it on WordPress. Its going to cost me $19 to have a .com website hosted by WordPress. I’ve already thought of an appropriate name for the site. Now all I need is my husbands credit card. Just kidding I also need the following

1. Some content icon, header, tagline, text

2. A structure for my site. I want to have an about page, blog page and a page about the app and its features, and a page about updates and changes to my app (technically called a change log) and finally a contact us page with my email address. I guess I’ve already brainstormed my structure here

Anyway learning and developing has been great so far. The next step is publishing. I really hope I’ll be posting more often to update about my experience with publishing on GooglePlay.

The forum for Programmers: Stack Overflow


I’m not a forum person. When I’m looking for answers the last thing I want to do is post on a forum and explain my issue to a bunch of strangers. When I do post a question I usually get no reply or replies that are as close to solving my problem as Plato is from Mars. Another issue is getting through all the hassle of signing up and remembering your password. And finally dealing with the junk mail.

However, while doing development for my Android app I came across the ultimate forum For what SEO is worth, StackOverflow is usually on top of the results to my programming related queries on Google. Thats the reason I ended up signing up. I almost always get answers to my queries on the forum from the already posted discussions. Only thrice  have i needed to post a question and all three times I got the answer within two days. Its a haven for developers.

Another awesome thing about the forum is that signing up is easy. You can use your Google, Yahoo or Facebook account to signup to the forum or you can register yourself  for “StackExchange” id if you don’t want to use your email/social network accounts. In fact, you can use the previously uploaded globally recognized avatar from for your avatar on the forum. Perfect isn’t it.

As for unwanted emails. I have none in my inbox. No emails from StackOverflow except maybe to notify me that I signed up. No email to tell me I have posted a question or gotten a reply or how much I’m missed or my reputation has advanced or this or that topic would interest me. I’m inbox is safe and empty and I’m content and satisfied.

So to all developers especially newbies like me you’ll most probably find an answer at StackOverflow.

What I didn’t do on NYE


Here Iam with an extremely belated post about what I did on New Years Eve rather what I wished I did and didn’t manage to do. I place reason for this ten day delay on my ambitious onenhalf year old and the fact that I live in joint family where I’m busy in some house chore ALL DAY LONG!

Anyway I still deserve to tell what happened on my new year. This is my third new year since I got married. I was pregnant on my first new year and I don’t even remember what it was like so it was definitely not memorable. On the next 31/12 I was at my mums place to spend the weekend their with a six month Nabiha. That night H and I both fell asleep without even wishing HNY to each other on the phone. That year I had decided that DH and I would really make the next NY very special.

And this is what happened. I got early on 31 dec 2011 like really early and tried my level best to get every one through breakfast and lunch early (which is 6 people including myself, since my inlaws live with us) so that DH and I could sit quietly in our veranda on the cold winter morning and look at some 2011 pictures and discuss the NY reslutions in the afternoon. Somehow the chores dragged on and on and when I came back to the room after wrapping up everything both H and Nabiha were far into a blissful afternoon nap.

But I wasn’t giving up this easily so I dolled up and changed into a new dress around 5. DH and I finally managed to exchange a few pleasantries over tea when he woke up. Soon he had to rush of for Maghrib prayer as dusk began to fall and do some grocery shopping. By the time he got back it was time for Isha and some other errands he had to run. So he rushed back out just as he came in. He returned around 8 only half hour before dinner.I unceremoniously shoved Nabiha’s dinner at him and requested him to feed her while I set out the dinner for the family. I was feeling pretty low and irritated by now. Whats the fun in marriage if you can’t even have a quiet moment with your husband to talk on the last day of the year. But H brightened me up when he proposed he to share a cup of coffee and KitKat Chuncky (which he slyly produced from his pocket) over a game of scrabble when Nabiha falls asleep.

H was as bent on making this day special as I! I felt so grateful and in love. But Nabiha had other plans. I haven’t seen her so active and demanding physical exercise as that night. She wanted wrestle, jump on her parents, climb and tumble of the pillows, pushed around in her play box, climb up and down the bed. An hour of constant play time and H and I were ready to call it a day. But Nabiha was all set to see the next year with her own eyes before going to sleep.

The funny thing is H and I can’t really talk when Nabiha’s in the room. she creates enough ding to drown out a bomb blast if  we share a conversation longer than 10 words. She either begin a mantra of “Ami” (mother) or “Abu”( (father) with a pitch that can make the ear drums ache. So all we could share were a few words and a lot of consoling glances. By 11:30 Nabiha was having a hysterical chatter with herself. Obviously, was very excited about the new year and was adamant to see the 2012 with her own eyes.

At 12 we listened to the crackers and gunfire and watched nabiha’s eyes widen with wonder. She came close to me and gripped my arm while the sounds of the celebrations lasted. And when it was over she smiled at me and said “ahaaa” (which means wow in our language). H and I cuddled Nabiha tightly and wished each other and our little charmer (still in silent awe over what she had heard) best for the next year. Exhausted with all the playtime we promptly laid down to go to sleep. H was the first to doze off, than Nabiha and finally me:)

Interesting novel – Housewife in Trouble


Found a very nice book finally. Something not serious but not completely benign. ok actually its quiet benign but the writing is crisp and upbeat so the novel’s turning out fun to read. The books titled “Housewife in Trouble” and is fifth in the Housewife series by Alison Penton Harper. I haven’t read the first four in the series yet and I’ll get around to reading all of them when I’m done with this one.

This book finds the main character a widow recently remarried to a very rich and charming dude, but still coming to grips with the notion that marriage would destroy her independence. Her last marriage had been such a bad experience that she has decided to use her brains instead of her heart dealing with her second husband.

what i love about this book is the interesting characterization of this “housewife” . She is actually one warm person at heart but her bad experience has left her suspicious and nervous. she has gotten into the marriage but she is very uncomfortable about sharing her private space and changing her lifestyle once again with another person who may or may not turn out to be the right person for her afterall.