🧠 Track your spending habits: from Gmail to Google Drive

Hey Makers :wave:

:bulb: Keeping track of online purchases can get messy. Even if you keep your mailbox neatly organised, it is hard to get a clear overview of all your purchases without having to re-open individual emails. Unsurprisingly, many of these templated emails are well-structured. It is simple enough to extract valuable information, such as total price, product name, delivery status, etc. Attachments are precious too. They are typically invoices or order confirmations.

:thinking: The problem cannot be resolved by just keeping your mailbox organised. An expense tracker won’t help either as it solves a slightly different problem. I simply wanted to keep a single overview of all my purchases for the past quarter or so.

:make: Make provides an excellent integration with Google platform as well as tools for text processing. This, along with well-structured automated email replies, creates an opportunity to reduce time waste. Instead of maintaining a spreadsheet by hand, new rows can be appended automatically as soon as emails arrive in my inbox.

My solution is a fairly straightforward scenario that does the following:

  • watches for new emails and filters them by the sender
  • extracts useful information from the email subject and the body
  • downloads all attachments and bundles them into a single archive file
  • streams the parsed information into a spreadsheet
  • uploads the archive onto Google Drive and updates the relevant row in the spreadsheet by a link to the archive

It is a simple solution that has a lot of space for improvements. Nevertheless, I tweaked it for my needs and it saves me about five to ten minutes a week. It doesn’t seem like much, but think of cost per transaction - e.g. opening an email message, gathering all the information by hand and manually downloading and saving attachments. Imagine how much time would it save if you are a small business.

Curious to learn more? Check details in my blog post or watch this tutorial I created.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know below!


Brilliant stuff @zezutom :clap:

Thank you so much for creating the tutorial and for sharing it with us. I’m sure this is gonna be super helpful to many!

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Thank you @Michaela for your all your help!

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You missed the more important data, the amount! :sweat_smile:

Hi @EliasGomez , you are right and thanks for watching my video. I focused more on the data flow, but it’s a fair point. I will provide an updated scenario which also captures the amount. However, it’s just an example.

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