Credit Cards & The Spending Plan

Flopbot
Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭
edited April 8 in Share your Success!
Hey,

Just wanted to share a small success.  While I still have much to learn about the Spending Plan, I found something that works for me...for now.  Maybe it will work for others.

All our monthly spending runs through CC's which get paid off monthly.  Ultimately, there are around 5 CC's most of which rarely if ever get used.  To keep things simple in Simplifi, I don't have any of them connected to a biller...for now. 

It took a few months of trial and error, but I finally found that this setup seems to work best in my situation.   Each CC - event the ones that don't get used - has this set up as a  Recurring Series (Settings > Recurring).
  • The Account field is the checking account that pays off the CC.
  • The Category field represents a "Transfer To" the corresponding CC.
  • Both boxes are checked under Visibility.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, the Recurring Amount is a +$1.00.



This setup, causes these two lines (two for each CC) to show up in the Spending Plan under the Bills section, monthly.  Each line represents a different end of the transfer to pay down/off the CC; from CHECKING (-) to CC (+).  Note the + & - under the two lines.



It's important to note that changing either of these lines in the Spending Plan does not change the original Recurring Series.

Then, when I get the bill for the CC, I simply click the three dots on either of the above lines and enter the amount of the CC payment - KEY STEP - making sure the + / - symbols match.



If I did everything correctly, the "Projected Cash Flow" and the line of boxes immediately underneath the chart will adjust themselves and display correctly in both my CHECKING account and my CC account.

For any CC's without a balance, I simply click Delete reminder on one of the two lines at the end of the month when the Spending Plan automatically prompts me to "Wrap Up" last month.  Don't worry, you're not deleting the original Recurring Series; a new pair of transactions will automatically show up next month in your Spending Plan.



Fun!
Chris
Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.

Comments

  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    Very nice @Flopbot -- thanks for sharing! :smiley:

    -Coach Natalie
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for sharing @Flopbot!  I started using Simplifi more or less in January this year and mid February made the transition from Quicken to Simplifi so I'm still on the lower end of the, admittedly less than difficult, learning curve.

    A question: What is your goal for setting up your cc payments in this way? What is the benefit you gain from this way of handling your cc accounts?

    We do pretty much the same as you, most of our monthly spending is via cc but I pay my balance pretty much weekly instead of at the end of the billing cycle.  (This helps lower my wife's stress level when she takes a look at our overall financial picture as our cc balance remains low throughout the month.)

    I'm just curious as to how setting up cc payments as recurring bill is beneficial.

    Thanks

    PS Congratulations on becoming a Superuser!
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 9
    Hi @Danny

    Good question, honestly, I've never considered paying off the CC weekly although I can certainly see the benefits of this approach in reducing everyone's stress levels.  My main reason for setting it up monthly as a "Recurring Bill" is for efficiency sake.  With a FT job, a new Small Business, and four kids, I want to spend as little time managing my personal finances as possible; which is why I switched from Quicken to Simplifi in September 2021.

    This monthly approach seems to be the most automated way I could find in Simplifi and - based on limited observations - it seems to work well.  By adding to to the Spending Plan, the CC Payments end up appearing in the projected balance graph at the top of my checking account register so I know when I've spent too much and if I'll have enough money to cover the payment.  Also, I'd hate having to log into the bank's website to scheduled 4 separate payments a month...if these could be scheduled on the banks end, this would certainly be interesting to consider.

    I don't see why you wouldn't be able to replicate my approach, but tweak it by creating a Weekly Series instead of a Monthly Series, like this...



    I'd be curious if you ended up doing this and found it to be a success.
    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks @Flopbot... ah yes those busy years... I remember them well... or at least I get a kick out of watching my kids in their busy years, raising their kids and working and all that other stuff!  But now I am fully retired and have a much more relaxed schedule.

    We have activity on 3 of our cards in a month.  Two of our cards with low activity are set up to pay the balance automatically.  I don't give much thought to those two since the balances are never more than $200 on either one and we keep a pretty good cushion in our checking account.  The third card is the one that we use for just about everything we spend money on as long as we don't have to pay a biller for the privilege of using a credit card.  This is the one I typically pay off each week (there is also a small credit score advantage to keeping this balance low), and we LOVE getting that big ol' cash back check every February!

    Since my credit card payments are handled as transfers in Simplifi and don't show up as an expense and since I have a rule in place for each cc that automatically categorizes these transactions, I simply mark them as reviewed when they show up and move on.

    Then again, my situation is a lot less complicated then yours for sure... fully retired, no more side gigs, our 5 kids are fully launched and hanging out with the grandkids is a whole different ballgame!
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
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