Planned Spending vs Spending Watchlist

cfoxcvg
cfoxcvg Member ✭✭✭
edited April 29 in Using Watchlists
I guess I am looking for the official Simplifi definition or purpose of these 2 features. I am trying to figure out in what situation I would use one over the other.
I currently use the "Spending Plan>Planned Spending" to track multiple things. Example I usually spending about $1000 per month on Dinning and Drinks so I entered $1000 as planned spending. I do the same for Gas as I spend roughly $450 per month on gas.
I have categories for Groceries, Entertainment and others. 

In what situation was the Watchlist meant to cover that planned spending does not or how do they differ?

Best Answers

  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    edited March 7 Answer ✓
    Hello @cfoxcvg,

    Thanks for posting your inquiry to the Community!

    Hopefully some other Users come along with feedback on how they use these two features in Simplifi, however, the technical purpose of Planned Spending is to budget for items that aren't necessarily bills, such as 'Dining & Drinks' as you mentioned above, or groceries, gas, etc. You can also budget for one-time expenses, such as birthdays and holidays.

    Watchlists are intended to watch specific areas of spending, and you can also receive Notifications for them. For example, if you also wanted to watch your 'Dining & Drinks' spending outside of your budget, or to make sure that you're not going over that particular area of your budget, you can create a Watchlist for it and then enable Notifications. 

    More details on using the Spending Plan can be found here and more details on using Watchlists can be found here. Please let us know if you have any additional questions! :smile:

    -Coach Natalie
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 30 Answer ✓
    @cfoxcvg

    Agree, the two features can be a bit confusing at first.  I’ll share how I use them and, hopefully, it doesn’t make you even more confused.

    Spending Plan
    • Think of this as your budget.
    • Any record of prior spending disappears/resets on the first of each month.
    • To see prior months spending, you scroll through multiple pages comparing one month at a time.


    Watchlist
    • Think of this as a mini, easy to access historical report.
    • Displays a record of 6 months worth of spending on the dashboard so you can see trends.
    • As a bonus, you get to add icons to each watchlist…I find that part strangely satisfying.

    Personally, I’ve found it useful having these two as separate features in Simplifi.  For example, I set up my official monthly budget ($800) for the “Groceries” category under Spending Plan.  Then, I set up an unofficial monthly amount ($650) as a Target in my Watchlist for the same exact category of “Groceries”.  Then, over the course of the month, Simplifi sends me - and my wife - a push notification when we hit each amount.  Picture the first notification at $650 as a shot across the bow warning us to slow down.

    The Watchlist has also proved useful to help answer those random, spur-of-the-moment type questions I get asked about like “Are we paying more for gas?”.

    I have 12 Watchlists created so far and my general criteria for what justifies its own Watchlist outside of the normal budget (Spending Plan) would be:

    1. Categories that I want to see month over month trends in.
    2. Categories that I tend to get asked frequent questions about.
    3. Categories that we tend to spend over in or that I really want to control our monthly spending in.  For these, I set up amounts in both places.
    4. Groups of things that I don’t budget for, but still want to keep an eye on (ex. Bills & Utilities).
    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.

Answers

  • cfoxcvg
    cfoxcvg Member ✭✭✭
    I am probably over thinking it but maybe i'm missing something useful in its functionality.
  • FWIW, these functions appear redundant and could easily be combined with a watchlist that had the option to include in the Spending Plan. If anything it is confusing, as there could be both a Spending Plan for ""Groceries" and a Watchlist for "Groceries" both with identical data but different spending goals.
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    @Flopbot, I initially set up my Watchlist using the same categories I use for my Spending Plan.  I am just now coming back to look more closely at how to differentiate between my use of the Spending Plan and Watchlist.  Your outline above is very helpful, thanks for taking the time to post this.
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
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