Ability to add Planned Spending Items to our Projected Cash Flow [edited] (4 Merged Votes)

Bob1
Bob1 Member ✭✭✭✭
edited August 3 in Feature Requests
I think it would be great if we could add our planned spending categories to our monthly cash flow. I think a lot of people know how much they will spend per week on groceries and gas etc. and it would greatly help us understand our weekly and monthly cash flow better. Thanks for considering.
65 votes

In Review · Last Updated

This Idea has been submitted for review!

Comments

  • sbhill
    sbhill Member
    I'm new to Simplifi and was curious why my cash flow was getting high and then I realized my planned spending wasn't in the cash flow to start.  I know I'm planning to spend money so it needs to show on my cash flow.  Or maybe I'm missing something.
  • I'm new as well. This weekend I found the projected cash flow and was thrilled to see how well I'd be doing over the next 3 months. Only to find later that there was about $3000 a month in planned spending missing from the chart. Planned spending clearly comes out of cash flow. Are there any plans to implement this?
  • Yes please! This would be super helpful. The ability to take that planned spending category and tell it to split it every week, 2 weeks, or twice a month would be great. Similar to how the recurring transactions are done, but with the place holder from the spending plan. If it could manage to update the amount based on what has been spent out of the category so far that would be even better. 
  • sno.seakin
    sno.seakin Member
    this is something I vote for enthusiasticly.  It should also include you savings goals too.  Your cash flow is not accurate with out planned spending and savings goals being included
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
  • Mrsterry
    Mrsterry Member
    PLEASE do this. New user here and so disappointed I can’t make cash flow more useful to include planned recurring spending (groceries, etc). OR make it easier to create a ‘bill’ that tracks multiple transactions. Thanks. 
  • CharlieP
    CharlieP Member
    I completely agree with the need to add this capability. I'm quite hesitant to add an expense to Planned Spending, knowing that it won't get included in the projected cash flow. 
  • Jasik
    Jasik Member
    I also agree, and I'm not sure why this is already included in the cash flow already.  Anything that you plan to spend should affect future projections for cashflow.  That is the definition of cashflow.  
  • Yes - I heartily agree that adding planned spending to cashflow would be a great benefit. Perhaps this could be accomplished easily by setting up our planned spending with a recurring option such as 1, 2, 3, or 4 times a month. Example: I spend $ 1,000 / month on restaurants and set up my planned spending as 4 times a month. Then in the cashflow it would put 1/4 of the monthly total spend in each week. Just a thought...
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 25
    If/when this idea is considered by Simplifi, I hope they take one thing into consideration.

    Please don't make it a blanket on/off setting that affects EVERY account!  Instead, please make it an on/off setting that can be adjusted for each individual account.

    My reasoning:
    • For my CHECKING, I really like the way Simplifi is set up right now (click here) because it gives me a really tangible predicted amount that - based on reality - my bank account will drop to +$12 in a week and a half.  So far, when situations like this occur, I've found Simplifi to be a surprisingly reliable estimate...unlike Quicken Desktop.  One important factor that I suspect contributes to this is that I don't have many transactions passing through my CHECKING account in any given week (0-2 transactions).  My main spending occurs on a CC and that - usually - gets paid off monthly.
    • With that said, I do see the value in having my other accounts (CC & SAVINGS) take into account planned spending and I voted accordingly above.  I could see that change maing those projected cashflow graphs more useful.  Right now, I pretty much ignore them because they always flatline out into the future.
    See this post for related info (click here).
    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.
  • Jeff P
    Jeff P Member
    Adding my vote to the pile! Really the projected "cash flow" view isn't really accurate until *all* income and *all* expenses are reflected in what it's showing! Please add this to your roadmap! 
  • Charles Collins
    Charles Collins Member
    edited April 21
    It is important to provide this feature so a planned expense gets included in the cash flow charts for the account that will be used to pay the expense. As it is now, the cash flow report and perhaps others are completely inaccurate as a planning tool for being sure accounts maintain the necessary funding to pay all scheduled expenses.  It is therefore now basically window dressing and not an accurate financial planning tool.
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    Hello @Charles Collins,

    Thanks for posting your suggestion to the Community!

    To clarify, are you just looking to have Planned Spending Items included in your Projected Cash Flow as requested here? Or are you specifically looking for Planned Spending Items to link to the payment account for additional purposes/functions? If the latter, would you mind outlining the additional scenario(s) that you would use this ability for? 

    Please let us know, thank you!

    -Coach Natalie
  • Thanks Natalie. Yes some of the comments in the discussion board Ability to add Planned Spending Items to our Projected Cash Flow (edited) are related. 

    However, my recommendation is to add the cash/credit accounts drop down list on the input/edit window box for a planned expense so as to associate the spend with a specific account and leave it blank if not required.

    The result of relating the planned expense to a spending account would be visible/accessible from the top level transaction menu where the account list menu appears on the left column.

    Thus, if I were to select a specific account (checking for example) it would display the cash flow graph at the top of the page as it does now AND the planned expense item in that account would also appear as a (blue dot) expense along with all other scheduled Bills and Subscriptions, and also as a tile below the graph as do all other expense item currently. 

    As it stands now, planned expense items are not accounted for in an account view which does not present an accurate cash plan.
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    edited April 25
    Thanks for confirming @Charles Collins!

    I have gone ahead and merged your Idea post and vote count accordingly, as it sounds like you are ultimately looking to see your Planned Spending Items included in your Projected Cash Flow, which has already been requested here. Also, I wanted to make sure that your specific suggestion was included here so that our Team can review all options/ideas for this particular functionality when the time comes. 

    With that being said, I agree that this request would most likely need to be accomplished by associating Planned Spending Items with a specific account, as this is how you'd see them in the Projected Cash Flow alongside Bills and Income, so we definitely appreciate your suggestion on that! :blush:

    -Coach Natalie
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 6
     I added my yes vote for this feature.  I've glanced at cash flow for various accounts and in Upcoming, but it's not seemed helpful.  As I looked and it and thought about it I realized it's because the data these cash flow charts are based on is incomplete as my actual budget goes.  By not including planned spending the cash flow graph in Upcoming is not useful for what, in my mind, a cash flow graph is used for... all of this is a repeat of the above conversation.

    However, when I consider the idea of adding planned spending to the cash flow data set, I can of think some reasons why this would take some thought and planning.

    1. Bills and subscriptions (and for most people, paydays) have set monthly amounts and payment dates (exceptions for set amount of course are such things a n gas, electric and water; but with bill connect these can be automatically updated month to month).  
    2. Planned spending by nature (in the Simplifi eco-system) are pools/pots/envelopes of money set aside for specific, necessary spending during the month with no set date or amount for any given expenditure.
    3. To add planned spending to cash flow it seems I would need to set some dates and amounts so Simplifi would know when to predict those expenditures out into the month/months.  As @Bob1 observes, "a lot of people know how much they will spend per week on groceries and gas etc." so this would not be a difficult task. 
    4. I would also need to be able to indicate which account to assign the planned spending expense to - a checking account, a credit card account, a savings account - so that Simplifi can sort it all out.
    5. Thus one could either break down the planned spending into weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly amounts and then assign the desired day of the month that money will be spent.  Adjustments to the actual amount would need to be made when an expenditure takes place but that is necessary for some bills also.
    6. Further, @Flopbot 's insight is valid, "...don't make it a blanket on/off setting that affects EVERY account!  Instead, please make it an on/off setting that can be adjusted for each individual account."
    Be-that-as-it-may, I would also like to see the cash flow graphs upgraded to include planned spending but I can see where this will take some logical thinking through to get it right.

    (Note: Some kind of glitch cropped up with predictive text for the @xxxx feature and so I ended up with double @ for Bob1 and Flobot.)

    [corrected user tags]
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    OK, this is one of those "the more I think about it..." kind of things and for me to think it helps to have other voices (besides the those already in my head!) and conversation partners to bounce ideas around a bit, you know, brain storming!

    Here is an idea based on my last comment in this thread:  To get planned spending to show up in cash flow NOW, I can manually create recurring "bills" for each of my planned spending categories, or at least some of them.  Using @Bob1 's observation that most of us know how much we will spend on groceries or gas not just monthly, but even from week to week.

    So lets use groceries.  One could set up a recurring "bill" with a frequency of weekly and assign the amount you typically spend for groceries for one week.  We do our grocery shopping at two stores and always pay out of the same account, in this case we use a particular cc.  I think I would have to make a recurring "bill" for each store in the amount we typically spend at each store.  Of course, there's always that time when you have to run to the grocery store for something you ran out of or forgot to get last visit or you discover you are out of and need.  Maybe leave a little bit of funds in a Planned spending category for those extra trips or let that spending go to "Other Spending."  In any case, your planned grocery spending will now show up in the cash flow graph for whatever account you assigned it to.

    As I look at my Planned spending categories, I can see this working for groceries and gasoline purchases since those are usually predictable weekly or bi-weekly expenses.  Not so much for my other Planned spending categories. For instance, when I look at my Eating Out category this becomes a problem, or so it seems to me, since eating out is much more "random."  Historically I know how much we spend on eating out each month and I'm able to plan for that amount. But the way we spend that money is, as I said more random and thus doesn't seem to me to be conducive to setting up a recurring "bill" that would make sense.

    Anyway, what do you think?
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Here is an example of a cash flow graph that I find helpful.  In this cf graph I am able to select the accounts I want to include and all data from each selected account is merged to show in a single line on the graph.  The dotted line is last months cash flow and the solid line is this month.  Unlike Simplifi, this service doesn’t project cash flow out to some future date.  Instead it compares the current month with the previous month in the This Month and Last Month date range.  Having cash flow for individual accounts can be useful, but I would love to see this cash flow report in Simplifi too.  It would be great to see the whole picture as it unfolds through the month.


    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Here is an example of a cash flow graph that I find helpful.  In this cash flow graph I am able to select the accounts I want to pull data from (checking, savings, credit cards, etc)  then amalgamates that data to show in a single line on the graph.  This is a comprehensive approach and gives me the best understanding of how I'm doing.

    I love the comparison with last months cash flow via the dotted line.  This service doesn’t have or provide the means to project cash flow out to some future date the way Simplifi does (and we all know the problems inherent in that kind of projection) but this is a very clean and helpful graph and it's simplicity would fit nicely with Simplifi.

    Having cash flow for individual accounts can be useful, but I would love to see this cash flow report in Simplifi too.  It would be great to see the whole picture as it unfolds through the month.


    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • BruceInCola
    BruceInCola Member
    edited July 5
    Flopbot said:
    If/when this idea is considered by Simplifi, I hope they take one thing into consideration.

    Please don't make it a blanket on/off setting that affects EVERY account!  Instead, please make it an on/off setting that can be adjusted for each individual account.

    My reasoning:
    • For my CHECKING, I really like the way Simplifi is set up right now (click here) because it gives me a really tangible predicted amount that - based on reality - my bank account will drop to +$12 in a week and a half.  So far, when situations like this occur, I've found Simplifi to be a surprisingly reliable estimate...unlike Quicken Desktop.  One important factor that I suspect contributes to this is that I don't have many transactions passing through my CHECKING account in any given week (0-2 transactions).  My main spending occurs on a CC and that - usually - gets paid off monthly.
    • With that said, I do see the value in having my other accounts (CC & SAVINGS) take into account planned spending and I voted accordingly above.  I could see that change maing those projected cashflow graphs more useful.  Right now, I pretty much ignore them because they always flatline out into the future.
    See this post for related info (click here).
    This, so much this.  So much so that I can't understand what in the world other people are doing so differently from me (and apparently Flopbot).  

    Surely it can't be an unusual situation to use a checking account as the central depository where income is deposited, and debt is paid?  Currently Simplifi does not seem to be set up for that scenario. 

    I have many credit cards, most of which are store cards that I pay off every month, but also a couple of cards where I put 90% of my spending (and unfortunately has pre-existing debt on there).  

    The most important thing (for me) is to not get close to zero in my checking account.  Maybe leave a $400 buffer or something.  

    Pay off all store specific credit cards every month (Target, Gap, etc), and pay AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE on the two "main" 'generic' credit cards where I put all my other purchases. 

    To be able to do this, you have to really configure Simplifi in a way in which it was not designed (which means a LOT of manual tinkering every month, which is the exact opposite of "Simplifi". 

    [removed - no soliciting]
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @DannyB,

     Sorry for a silly question, but where are you finding that ‘Cash Flow’ graph?
    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    @Flopbot

    That is my cash flow graph from Personal Capital.  I’d like to see this in Simplifi.  The PC graph is an aggregation of our checking, savings and cc accounts. PC doesn’t do any future casting with it’s cash flow graph, instead they simply report cash flow in the current month compared to cash flow from previous month.
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • JeremyP
    JeremyP Member
    Hey all! A few questions to pose to you guys
    1. How would you expect this feature to work across multiple accounts?
    2. How would you expect credit card spending to work? Credit cards don't necessarily get paid for in the month someone is spending money, for example. 
    3. Would you also want the ability to edit planned spending expenses from the projected cash flow graph? 

  • As far as I can tell, the projected cash flow does not account for the Planned Spending category of each month's Spending Plan. I have worked the plan out 12 months and would really like to be able to see where my account balances would be if I adhere to the plan.
  • Rvkdn49
    Rvkdn49 Member
    edited August 17
    Please Please Please prioritize this feature/change to be done and soon. Cash flow is THE BIG REASON I use Simplifi and without considering planned spending it's essentially non-functional, and it forces user to make bills out of things that definitely aren't bills just to get close to an accurate analysis: nanny & babysitter pay (it's hourly), groceries, restaurants, etc, etc, etc. These huge chunks of our budget are predictable for the month* but they don't get spent in lump sums on predictable dates.

    As for the difficulty cited by a coach in another thread on this: "cash flow calculations is a bit of a challenge since planned spending items tend to be spread out through the month and not like a bill that shows up at predictable times during the month." That's a ok with me. I just want it to be accurate at the end of the month and then series of months. Because that's the essential question: how much money will I have after this month, after 3 months, after 6 months...

    * Planned spending also needs an upgrade to handle things that don't fit neatly in one month or that don't happen every month — like vacations and travel, car repairs and fuel, gift buying, etc. And while we're on this topic, some accommodations needs to be made for utility bills, too; unless you live in, say, San Diego, there's no way one can plan for electricity and natural gas bills to be the same every month.
  • JeremyP said:
    Hey all! A few questions to pose to you guys
    1. How would you expect this feature to work across multiple accounts?
    2. How would you expect credit card spending to work? Credit cards don't necessarily get paid for in the month someone is spending money, for example. 
    3. Would you also want the ability to edit planned spending expenses from the projected cash flow graph? 

    1. Not sure I understand the question. I want it to consider all income and ALL spending (bills + planned spending) and show me the bottom line number: at the end of the month what's my net income or loss, and plot that for each month into the future.

    2. I don't care about when the CC payoff would be, I would want it to go by transaction dates. But I really don't care about intra-month flow at all. I just want to know end of month bottom line income or loss, and then be able to see how that compounds for months ahead (and of course this net income/loss will change per month due to differing planned spending/bills [electricity, gas] and paycheck frequencies where some months have more checks that others)

    3. I'm not sure. I don't think so. Are there any scenarios you can think of?
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 18
    JeremyP said:
    Hey all! A few questions to pose to you guys
    1. How would you expect this feature to work across multiple accounts?
    2. How would you expect credit card spending to work? Credit cards don't necessarily get paid for in the month someone is spending money, for example. 
    3. Would you also want the ability to edit planned spending expenses from the projected cash flow graph? 
    Hi @JeremyP

    1. Like @Rvkdn49 not sure what you are asking.  I want to see cash flow including all income and all expenses/spending. You can already select individual accounts or multiple accounts.
    2. Credit card spending is not actually relevant for cash flow since actual expenditures are what matter.  I use my credit card as if it was my checking account.  Paying it off is simply transferring funds between accounts and doesn’t affect cash flow per se. 
    3. Not sure.

    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer