Apply payment directly to expense/pay for individual items
When a payment is made, you should be able to select the associated expense(s) & enter a $ amount to which expense the payment should be applied to.
Applying payments directly to an expense definitely makes sense, and it’s a feature we’ve thought about for years, but unfortunately we haven’t found a great way to do it, even with a lot of thought. It’s difficult to support both rolling balances and item-by-item checklists on the same list of expenses – especially when different people might want to use both “settle up” styles within the same group. We also haven’t been able to find a design for applying payments directly to expenses without adding a lot of complexity, especially if paying for specific expenses is an “optional” feature and not the default.
We do continue to think about this, so hopefully we’ll make a breakthrough at some point, but it hasn’t yet made it on to our official roadmap. We’re really sorry for the inconvenience! For now, one possible solution would be to add comments on expenses, which can help to keep track of which items have been settled up and which items haven’t.
Matthew Gordon commented
I'm part of several Splitwise groups used for traveling with friends. I like a lot of things about Splitwise, but without this feature I'm thinking about demanding that we go back to the old, crappy way of sending each other a bill for each thing.
Without the ability to apply a payemnt directly to an expense, there's no way to answer the question "Why do I owe money?". Many times since I've started using Splitwise, I've signed in to find that I owe money in an old group where I'm confident I was already settled up. Did someone edit an old transaction? Add a new transaction after the trip was over? Am I mis-remembering? Did someone else overpay accidentally?
It's not impossible to find out, it just requires an extraordinary amount of time. Or, I can just pay money that I don't feel I owe. Those are bad, frustrating choices. The reason I wanted to use Splitwise is to save time and still be confident that everyone was paying their fair share.
It sounds like you've been thinking about the best way for this to work for a while, but I'd like to throw my two cents into the mix.
1) Add a checkbox next to each expense
2) Add a selector for expenses to allow: select all, select none, select unpaid
When the settle up button is pressed
3) If expenses are checked, settle up records a payment against those expenses.
4) If expenses are not checked, settle up records a payments against the oldest unpaid expenses moving forward until the amount of payment is exhausted.
It seems like a primary technical point would be handling the issue where the selected expenses require payments to many people. I'd like to vote for starting with the simplest thing that could possibly work: open a paypal tab for each of the checked expenses. Is that sort of crappy? Maybe, but it'll be really easy to do because you've already written that code. That just leaves adding the checkboxes, associating the payment with the expense, and displaying a link to the paypal transaction.
I obviously haven't read your code, so there's probably more to it than that. There always is, but I really want you to add this feature so my problem will go away. If it's an issue of time, I will add the feature myself and send it to you for review. Just give me access to the repo. I'm so serious.
Thanks for reading,
Jonathan Taufer commented
Good to know that this is something still on the table!
Mark Warwick commented
Does Winter 2013 mean early 2013, or the end of 2013?
Grant Payne commented
Yeah, it is confusing that when selecting a bill, the "Who paid what" never changes.
You should be able to "check off" certain payments under specific bills.
The "running tab" could easily still be kept.
Christian Rahn commented
I'm actually going to disagree with this one. Applying payments directly to an expense, when others exist is essentially reversing the (good) abstraction that SplitWise creates. If a person has multiple expenses to pay for, it's only a mental construct that they are "paying for" a specific thing.
This is, of course, completely disregarding all concept of interest/time calculations.
I think that it's especially confusing to see "Bob owes $55.55" in the expanded view of a Group bill when Bob already payed me $55.55 through the Settle Up menu.
it'd also be great to hide/display what you already paid for from the dashboard to sorta clear it up.
Narayanan Kashyap commented
Although paying back specific expenses will be a nice-to-have feature, this can quite easily be solved by paying up a certain amount and reporting just that amount as a pay-back.
on the monthly breakdown, it would show the payments lined up with the correct response and you can see what is still owed for each expense.