We want your feedback on the Spending Plan!

Coach Natalie
Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
As our Team works hard to continue growing and improving the Spending Plan, we'd like your feedback!
  1. How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan?
  2. How would having rollover abilities benefit you?
  3. What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan?
Please be as specific as possible. We look forward to your feedback! 

«13

Comments

  • RobWilk
    RobWilk Member ✭✭✭✭
    1. I wouldn't use it, i would ideally 'roll over' what's unused into savings each month, and keep it aside there if i needed to dip into it.
    2. Rollover abilities wouldn't benefit me.
    3. I would like to see -- other than 1st to last of month -- perhaps scheduled income to next scheduled income, though again different recurring frequencies would be good here.   For me, 3rd wednesday to day before next 3rd wednesday would be a good 'monthly' picture.
    --
    Robert D. Wilkens
    robwilkens.net
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I thought of one additional thing for #3.

    (C) When you have something in your Spending Plan that is a Category represented under Subscriptions and ALSO in Planned Spending, make a way to include or display it accurately in Planned Spending.  Essentially, don't exclude it from Planned Spending or it causes confusion.  Click here to see a more detailed description of the problem.


    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.
  • brandon
    brandon Member
    Rolling over would help with categories that don't have a regular amount each month. For example I fill up with gas about every three weeks which causes me to spend more on gas in alternating months.

    Also, to second what @Flopbot said, it would be nice if there was an "Other" category for recurring transactions in addition to Bills and Subscriptions. I have weekly automatic savings contributions that need to be accounted for in the spending plan, but are lumped in with Bills which is not ideal.
  • Jake
    Jake Member ✭✭
    • How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan?
    • I'd like to use rollover for categories like gifts. It would be nice to contribute through out the year and have many months where I don't use all my allocation, but it keeps growing for times like the Christmas when there is a big spike in spending as compared to other times of year.

    • How would having rollover abilities benefit you?
    • I would benefit by being able to budget better for categories that don't fall in a typical monthly spending pattern

    • What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan?
    • As others have mentioned, it would be nice to carry over both surplus and deficits in a category
  • bbertchie
    bbertchie Member ✭✭✭
    I want to be able to exclude categories from the spending plan. This way all of my work related travel is excluded without me have to go transaction by transaction. 

    I also want the ability to move dollars around from categories in planned spending. Not release total available but take a portion from say groceries and put it towards restaurants if I’m over in one category
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Hi @bbertchie your second request is covered by a current feature request here.  You can add your vote to move this feature forward.
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • MattB
    MattB Member
    edited July 23
    I think I would personally prefer to see unspent money applied to one or move savings goal.  I'd also like to see more integration between spending planning and spending out of savings goal.  Maybe using a savings goal like an alternate spending category for some transactions.  

    However if roll over spending categories were available then I might just use them in stead of savings goals to build up balances for periodic expenses or longer term planned spending.

    If this is possible now I'd be glad to understand better, or if helpful describe further what I would find helpful.
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I love the idea of being able to move unspent money into a Savings Goal.  Great idea @MattB!  I would want to make this an either or thing.  You could select EITHER another Spending Goal item OR a Savings Goal to transfer unspent money into.
    Chris
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    Brand new to Simplifi in 2021.
  • kwimmer
    kwimmer Member ✭✭
    edited July 25
    DannyB said:
    1. I would use rollover in the spending plan to include my nonmonthly recurring living expenses.  First example:  I pay quarterly estimated taxes. I would set up a monthly recurring bill for 1/3 of what I need to make that payment when due.  Another example: I would average out my utility bills for the year and allow that money to roll over month to month so that in low months I have money left over that I will use in the high months.  Third example: I pay things like auto insurance, home insurance, property taxes annually.  I would set up a monthly recurring bill for 1/12 of the total due and let it rollover from month to month until it's time to pay a particular expense.  
    2. Right now I'm using savings goals to prepare for these expenses.  Having rollover abilities in the spending plan would make this process more streamlined... more Simlified! :smile:  With rollover abilities in the spending plan I could keep nonmonthly but planned spending more accurately accounted for and displayed in reports since I'm not hiding those expenses when paid due to having been prepared for through Savings goals.  By the same token, my Savings goals would consist only of items that will never be part of recurring living expenses like auto replacement, buying a new appliance, remodeling some aspect of our home, etc.  All-in-all rollover abilities in the spending plan would be a more elegant way to address my overall annual budget breaking it down to monthly bites.
    Basically this! Roll overs is honestly the most basic thing that every other budgeting software I have used has. It seems a bit weird that it hasn't been implemented here.

    As for features to be added (and I know its already been requested) but the ability to ignore parts of a transaction from the spending plan. Right now I would have to create a dummy transaction for that amount and edit the original transaction, or deal with my spending plan being off.... the first option is an 'ok' work around, but is a little annoying, second option really defeats the purpose of using the program so it isnt acceptable.... 
  • Here are three minor items for Question 3:

    I would like to see the ability to customize the frequency bills are due. For example, I have some subscriptions that are every six weeks. Others are three weeks, for example.

    ==

    Another small wishlist item ...  It would be great to see some kind of custom note for recurring subscriptions. Here’s a use case: I have multiple recurring subscriptions from Amazon. The only way I can distinguish these in the spending plan is to put the note in the payee field (e.g. Amazon - Toothpaste). Then each month I have to go in and rename the payee as Amazon and add toothpaste in the notes section of the transition.

    ==

    It would be great to add one-time bills to the spending plan now that you can view the spending plan for multiple months in advance. If I understand it correctly, I have to add a one-time payment as a future transaction. Being able to add it from the spending plan would make it a little easier and efficient to manage.

  • mverbree
    mverbree Member ✭✭✭
    I have used it for about a year and I think it is great, it works for me better than all of the other banking applications I have used.  Only feature that I would love to have with it is I consider specific transfers as spending, like to brokerages.  It would be nice to have a tab for that also.  I usually have to trick them as bills by creating a transfer category that is not a transfer to get this done.
  • leviautumn
    leviautumn Member ✭✭
    Hi!
    Rollover is essential to us when budgeting. My husband gets paid every other month (paid for 4 weeks in a row, then nothing for 4 weeks) so showing rollover amounts in our budget is really important. Some months we looks destitute on the app, but that isn’t the reality since there is still money in the account. Having a starting balance/rollover would be helpful for me to see the whole picture. 😊
  • n2it
    n2it Member ✭✭
    edited July 28
    1. Rollovers could be used to track variable type expenses (for me things like travel and gifts - where they are too small/variable to track in a savings goal), balance seasonal expense (in Texas, bills like electricity is 2x higher in summer, than winter), and balance quarterly, semi-annual or annual payments (property tax, hoa, estimated income tax)
    2. The value allows me to better understand how I am doing over time in keeping within the budget for those expenses.  Spending plan allows me a great monthly view, but with the variable, seasonal and non-monthly expenses there is really no easy way to watch (and I shouldn't have to create a duplicate set of watchlists to monitor what I am monitoring in a spending list)
    3. Additional ideas
    • Better integrate spending plans, savings goals and transactions - it should be seamless to save money for purpose (e.g. a big vacation or yearly taxes) (either as part of a routine transfer into a savings account or a recurring savings goal) .  Then when I spend, it should automatically and easily remove it from the savings goal and apply it to my spending plan.  Right now only the deposits into the savings goals are deducted from the spending plan - when I take money out of the savings goal it doesn't add it to my input to my spending plan (so I have to exclude the transactions from showing up in my spending plan - even though they were planned)
    • Better integrate cash flow with spending plans - be able to look in future months (ideally the whole year) of cash flow by including planned spending together with all planned income and recurring bills/subscriptions - give me an overall picture of all scheduled, planned spen, recurring ins and outs, month by month for this calendar year and next calendar year.  
    • Allow for something to be both a recurring bill and planned spending without double counting.  E.g. my electrical bill is 2x or more in the summer than the winter - so while I want to treat it as a recurring bill (partly so I can look at cash flow), but I also want it on the planned spending tab (with rollover) so I can see if I am budgeting the right amount over the year.  At first I thought if better future months cash flow/spending plan reporting is integrated better with spending plans, I might be able to get away with just using a spending plan (and not bill/subscription), but than my daily cash flow projections would be off - and I would risk over-drawing my account.
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 30
    I'm reviewing the Planned spending section of my July Spending Plan. In a couple of days it will be time to close out July and go through the delightful process of releasing any unused funds from Planned Spending categories back to Available.

    This brings me back to thinking about the idea of adding rollover abilities in the Spending plan.

    Reading through the input on this topic so far, it becomes apparent that this is NOT something that can be easily implemented or at least not implemented without a great deal of thought on the part of the development team because of the way Simplifi is set up and works.

    It seems to me that an effective implementation might actually require a section of it's own separate from the existing sections in the Spending Plan under Income after bills & saving and some kind of hybrid category for the Planned spending section.  Here is my thinking on this... as always open to interaction, comment, pointing out missteps or other ways to approach it.

    1. One of the uses for a rollover ability is to accumulate funds for those non-monthly expenses which I currently do through Savings Goals.  However, as others have mentioned, doing it this way makes it feel like I'm not being honest with my spending plan in the months these expenses come due since I have to ignore them from my spending plan. I might need a bit more education on the implementation and use of SGs and further adjustment mentally to the idea that I've already been "spending" this money via SGs on a monthly basis.
    2. On the other hand, I can see where it would be difficult to add the rollover ability in the Income after bills and savings section since this section works best with those month-to-month recurring billed expenses, monthly subscription and savings contributions.
    3. BUT, Simplifi DOES give me the ability to "Set aside" funds monthly for my goals and right now I am capturing the monthly portion of non-monthly recurring expenses through Savings Goals AND, as noted in 2., those Savings goal contributions show up in my Spending Plan thus giving me a monthly accounting for these non-monthly expenses.
    4. So, in essence, Simplifi already has rollover abilities via Savings Goals.
    5. Still, there is some awkwardness in using Savings Goals in this manner when it comes time to spend the accumulated funds for a planned recurring bill.
    6. Therefore, is there a way to take the basic idea behind Savings Goals, perhaps renamed as Rollover Expense, or Irregular Bills/Subscriptions, or some such, then allow the user to create a new hybrid recurring bill/subscription that can be contributed to monthly like a savings goal but also with the ability to mark it "Paid" when that bill is actually paid thus zeroing out the current balance but keeping the recurring bill intact and ready to start receiving monthly contributions moving forward.  
    7. This hybrid "Rollover Expense" would automatically be excluded from the spending report when paid  for the same reason we now exclude such an expense when paid out of a Savings goal - it's already been accounted for in our monthly spending plan.
    8. But, what about such irregular spending as gifting for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc.?  In this case there would need to be a hybrid category in the Planned spending section that would allow one to rollover unused funds from month to month to be available for spending when needed.
    What do you think?
    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • RobWilk
    RobWilk Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 30
    @DannyB You're on the right track.  Using savings goals 'kind of ' works but only if when you 'spend' from that 'savings goal' you mark the transaction 'ignore form spending plan'.  But if one wants to rollover into 'general spending funds' then again that complicates matters (what happens when your rollover pays for 80% of an expense and 20% comes from that month's funds?).   I think being able to apply it 'as needed, but consciously' like income on the spending plan might be better.  i.e. if this month i want to take $300 from rollover funds, it would apply like income to this month (forecasting ahead to future month's might be difficult).  Even worse, if rollover is just based on what's left-over, how far back in time do you go with respect to how old your simplifi data is, and do you want to rollover old amounts (?).
    --
    Robert D. Wilkens
    robwilkens.net
  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    Hi @RobWilk, thanks for taking time to read and respond to my ideas.  As far as "ignore from spending plan" goes, you will have to mark the actual payment for non-monthly recurring expenses this way wherever your accumulated funds are tracked since you have been "paying" your non-monthly expense in monthly increments already. Those funds are already accounted for and "spent" as far as Simplifi and my budget is concerned. If there is some kind of hybrid recurring expense ability it will accumulate whatever you designate your monthly contributions to be and if you make the payment before you have all the accumulated funds it will show a negative until you make another contribution to that hybrid rollover bill. 

    One application where this would be the case is what @n2it 's no. 1 is about - a monthly recurring variable bill.  I pay more for natural gas during the winter months then I do in the summer months.  With a hybrid rollover I could average out my annual costs so that I make the same payment each month - this has advantages for budgeting and accounting purposes.  In the summer months I'm putting more then a spend toward the gas bill and from month to month will show a growing surplus that will be used up during the winter months when my actual payments are higher then my monthly contribution.  Due to the amount we keep available in our cash accounts this variability is not a great concern for us but there was a time when this was a much more important to keep track of.

    I'm not at all worried about historical data prior to when I started using Simplifi.  When I first started using Simplifi I set things up as best I could and for the past 6 months going on 7 now  :D I have made adjustments to where I account for various expenses and spending.

    The way I'm thinking when the non-monthly bill is paid it would be charged directly to the hybrid rollover bill and not have to pass through my income accounts a second time.




    Danny 
    Simplifi user since 01/22
     Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • RobWilk
    RobWilk Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 30
    @DannyB : I see what you are saying about a per-category 'rollover fund', as opposed to (what i originally thought this was about) an 'unused expense general rollover'.

    My 2 cents:  If this could be configured on/off per-category, i'm all for it (not that it matters what I think).

    I could ask more questions, but ultimately, someone else will design and implement this (in other words i'm a user not an employee), so i think I'm the wrong person to be asking questions.  I just wanted to understand better, and now i think i do.

    One afterthought: If someone "released avialable for spending" then that money shouldn't roll-over because it was allocated to other funds.
    --
    Robert D. Wilkens
    robwilkens.net
  • n2it
    n2it Member ✭✭
    edited August 1
    @DannyB - I think your suggestions make sense.  I would like to amplify a few things.
    • Savings goals are awfully complicated right now for use as routine spending plans for things like annual payments. Whatever the solution, it need to be automated.  Right now there is a recurring transaction to transfer the money, a manual transfer to the saving goal, a manual transfer out of the saving goal, and no way to automatically tie the expense to the savings goal.  I think this is generally covered in your point 7, but I want to emphasize the automation
    • There needs to be appropriate reporting to compare actual expenses vs that saving goal (or spending plan) - (and needs to be automated :smile:
    • Cash flow still need to be taken into account for saving goals - i.e. do I have enough in my checking to cover the expense - or how much do I need to transfer out of my account/savings goal to cover the expense that is due next week. The recurring bill does cover this, but is not tied in at all to the savings goal,
    • As mentioned in your point 8 - there still needs to be someway to deal with variable routine and non routine expenses (e.g. gifts, travel, seasonal variations of routine)

    The monthly spending plan does a great job at helping me optimized month to month spending ... but it is the year to year that I need to see to help save even more or make sure that I am over time spending (or saving) in the right areas.  
  • rayhooker
    rayhooker Member ✭✭
    Yes rollover would be a game changer for me.  I basically would be able to set aside an average amount for many of my spending categories. I don't use savings goals really since I don't keep my savings in my main account.  Also unless I actually transfer money from an account, it is not realized in my spending plan funds.  OTOH rollover would allow me to say set aside 30 a month for a quarterly bill.  Every three months, there would be enough money.

    A nice feature might be to transfer excess to another category as per some of the classic budgeting but for me I might use but not as often.  Mostly it is just trying to track to an average spending whether for categories for food or periodic bills or even for vacation and travel or Christmas.
  • JDNYUS
    JDNYUS Member
    I definitely want rollover, and for a few reasons.   

    I want a good way to handle expenses that are recurring, but don't quite fit the "monthly" categories. For example, if I pay $80 per week for someone to clean my apartment, that's $4160 per year, or $346.67 per month. But, if I create planned spending with $346.67 per month, it will not match up.  So, if there is a way to do it using rollover, that would be great.   In fact, I have that issue with a few things ... homeowners insurance where the only option is annual or quarterly billing etc.  Currently I can create a planned expense for "set aside for insurance" etc...but there has to be a better way. 

    Or just for typical expenses like entertainment.  Say I know I will be buying tickets for a concert next month that cost more than my monthly allotment.  I can spend less this month knowing it will roll over to next. 
  • JDNYUS
    JDNYUS Member
    Adding one more thing.  I agree with comments about the Subscriptions category that appears under Bills.  I don't quite understand the reasoning for it.  Is the intention to include them as recurring expenses, but without tagging them as recurring and have them appear in Bills?  It's an awkward place for the grouping, because it seems more logical to me to set up a budget for them in Planned Spending.  Some of your competitors advertise their ability to monitor subscriptions because people generally have a lot more than they are aware of.  They are right - so allowing for them as a Planned Expense item would emphasize controlling the amount spent each month, as opposed to other bills that we can't control month to month (mortgage, rent, etc)
  • JDNYUS
    JDNYUS Member
    Ohhhh one more BIG one.  Right now, I can set up all the groupings of planned expenses that I want, but there is no way to change the order of them in the app.   I was just on with your customer service folks and was told that there is no way to re-order them, and my only option is to delete them all and start over. That's crazy.  
  • 1. I would love to see rollover available for certain specific categories, as others have said, like auto maintenance, travel, gifts. Essentially these would become "envelopes."

    2. I need a Spending Plan that would show me the Plan, Actual, and Over/Under (actual amounts, not just graphs), and show ALL of the Spending categories (Bills, Subscriptions, Planned Spending). This could be a .csv download or a report--I don't care--but I need to be able to print and/or download it to my records.

    I have used Quicken, Mint, and now Simplifi, and I really like some aspects of Simplifi, but #2 is absolutely essential. I can't use it otherwise.


  • One more thing: is there some way to have the Spending Plan include Account Balances at the beginning of the month (as part of what is available to spend)?
  • TVee54
    TVee54 Member ✭✭
    I would use a rollover spending plan to better reflect large purchases or groups of purchases like vacation, please add it! With a biweekly paycheck, there are always 2 months each year with an "extra" paycheck that is really money I'll next the following month. Rollover makes it easier for me to track if I'm really over spending or not. Another way to do this is a year to date sum on the spending plan page, it shows the current month but allows you to see maybe the next over 6 or 12 months for long term planning. 

    A nice feature would be to alert you at the end of the month, and give you the option... Do you want your excess to be applied to a savings goal or rolled over into the next months plan
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    edited August 22
    Hello @PuzzledInNM,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Simplifi uses actual transactions, both received and expected, to build the Spending Plan, meaning that it does not consider account balances. More details on using the Spending Plan can be found here

    With that said, I'd suggest adding your vote and feedback to an existing Idea post requesting that account balances be used in the Spending Plan each month: https://community.simplifimoney.com/discussion/1114/rollover-checking-account-balance-to-spending-plan

    I hope this helps!

    -Coach Natalie