This paper describes the design and implementation of a portable, inexpensive and cost effective spectrophotometer. The device combines the use of compact disc (CD) media as diffraction grid and 60 watt bulb as a light source. Moreover it employs a moving slit along with stepper motor for obtaining a monochromatic light, photocell with spectral sensitivity in visible region to determine the intensity of light and an amplifier with a very high gain as well as an advanced virtual RISC (AVR) microcontroller ATmega32 as a control unit. The device was successfully applied to determine the absorbance and transmittance of KMnO4 and the unknown concentration of KMnO4 with the help of calibration curve. For comparison purpose a commercial spectrophotometer was used. There are not significant differences between the absorbance and transmittance values estimated by the two instruments. Furthermore, good results are obtained at all visible wavelengths of light. Therefore, the designed instrument offers an economically feasible alternative for spectrophotometric sample analysis in small routine, research and teaching laboratories, because the components used in the designing of the device are cheap and of easy acquisition.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.