We want your feedback on the Spending Plan!

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  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2022
    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! 


    OK, more thoughts about the Simplifi Spending Plan!

    Above I posted my answers to @Coach Natalie 's original questions and then followed up with some streaming thoughts about how to incorporate rollover abilities in the Spending Plan/Savings Goals.

    This third post is the result of some recent research (casual not extensive... not going for a master's degree or PhD here! B) ) and a couple of things I came across seemed applicable to this conversation.

    1. I discovered that there are multiple ways to organize a budget (Surprise, surprise!) Here are three I came across in a video posted on YouTube by another money management app producer.
    • The first method seems to be the most common and the one I have used through the years and can be described as the thematic model: top level categories include Housing, Transportation, Food, Household, Medical, Entertainment, Charitable Giving, etc. with subcategories that are all related to the "theme" of the top category and atomized to the level of detail desired by each individual.
    • Another method would be a frequency model: top level categories would be Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually. Subcategories would be those expenses you incur, well, daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
    • A third organizational method can be be called a fixed and flexible model.  Fixed expenses recur regularly in more or less fixed amounts and must be paid "or else", i.e., mortgage or rent, utility bills, insurance, subscriptions, etc. (you know, everything we currently list in Income after bills & savings section of the Spending Plan under Bills and Subscriptions). Flexible expenses are more "forgiving," occur throughout the month, and can be fudged one way or another, i.e., Groceries, Eating out, Gasoline, Entertainment, etc. (you know, everything we currently list in our Planned Spending section of the SP.)
    As noted, it seems to me that Fixed and Flexible most closely fits Simplifi's underlying Spending Plan organizational structure while allowing for the thematic with the inclusion of the Watch List module and the use of Tags. :)

    (Of course, as is always the case, not everything will fit neatly into any one of these organizational models and will need some kind of special treatment.)

    2. If fixed and flexible is an appropriate way to think about how Simplifi organizes the Spending Plan, and I LIKE the way the Spending Plan works overall, then perhaps attempting to build in "rollover" abilities in the SP is not the best way forward.  Rather than try to modify or add a rollover ability to the Spending Plan, it might be better to focus on making Savings Goals more robust and powerful by creating different types of SGs with different and more flexible ways to use them. Making the SGs more robust and powerful is NOT an original idea with me (I rarely if ever rise to the level of an original thinker!). I got it from other sources, but it sounded like a more useful way to think about and address the ideas shared so far in this discussion.

    For me the issue is preparing for and handling those non-monthly annual FIXED expenses in a more elegant manner and how to incorporate them more effectively into Simplifi's structure, making Simplifi an even more robust tool and satisfying experience.
    Danny
    Simplifi user since 01/22
    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • Debbied
    Debbied Member
    Everything DannyB said on the 15th. Rollover helps in all these ways. 
  • lframme
    lframme Member
    I am new to Simplifi so do not yet have all the detailed knowledge of all the commenters but have read them all. It seems from the comments and my personal experience that rollover and ability to track over and under is a no brained. The comments seem clear on the need. It is time for Simplify to get this done and make the program really useful. As is, it is of limited helpfulness, albeit better than having to handle all the transactions manually. Thanks. 
  • sNashville
    sNashville Member ✭✭
    1. How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan? - Given the lack of an annual spending feature, I would use this feature to compensate for that. For instance, naturally one spends more on shopping/recreation over the summer than over the winter months. So it would be nice to have this feature because it would effectively allow me to set an annual budget, by rolling over the previous month's balance. Furthermore, it would allow me to account for subscriptions that aren't just monthly (annual, quarterly, etc), by prorating the amount to a single month.
    2. How would having rollover abilities benefit you? - Nothing to add.
    3. What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan? - Allowing the user to set frequency of subscriptions and prorating them automatically per month. 
    1. How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan?
    Depends. Can Simplifi look for specific data points where its users happen to rollover funds on certain months with a certain frequency? If so, Simplifi could recommend ways to roll over that money, like, to get out of debt. Most Americans are in debt. Simplify could partner with companies who help customers get out of debt. Could be a making money possibility for Intuit and help Simplifi users get out of debt. Win win. :)

    2. How would having rollover abilities benefit you?
    Personally, I would take that extra cash and apply it to outstanding debt unless there is something urgent coming up that I can't otherwise use on removing debt, like maybe buying some new shoes for my two kids, Monique and Unique.

    3. What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan?

    It's pretty rad already. Deeper integration into the Calendar where your customer can see the entire Calendar when bills and subscriptions are coming out; Allow for the customer to start anticipating a rollover. If a customer anticipates a rollover, he/she can maybe start making more accurate predictions of what his/her upcoming months should look like going forward, thus impacting better budgeting and more judicious spending.

    That then opens up more accurate budget analysis and enhances overall Big Data AI accuracy in the customer dataset for Simplifi to offer other innovative big data prediction models to assist their customers. ;)
  • jstrez
    jstrez Member
    Why not just have it create another income. Like it'll ask you if you want to use your rollover to add to your income and then if you say yes, it just adds a row to you income called rollover or something like that. I see you can add income manually now but it wants you to pick a frequency. It could be a 'just once' type of income. I'd rather that then the custom income, cause I can see how much exactly is 'rollover'
  • Hi @Coach Natalie
    How is the product team responding to this feedback? Is it on the map yet? I truly, truly love simplifi but the I need a rollover feature to account for more spending in some months that others. This could be travel in the summer, shopping for winter wear or changing tires. And a rollover feature would allow me to effectively set an annual budget for the general categories here (travel, auto, shopping, etc) so that I know when I need to save and when I can spend. It's too fundamental to not have in a personal finance app.

    And unfortunately if I (and many other users from what I've read above and here https://community.simplifimoney.com/discussion/114/rollover-unused-spending-plan-money-edited-10-merged-votes) don't see this on the map and out soon I'll have to start looking at other apps :-( 
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    Thank you for the feedback, @KK_swifty!

    As far as I'm aware, our Product Team is monitoring this thread and reviewing the feedback posted as a means to get a better idea of how rollover abilities would be beneficial in the Spending Plan with all of the recent Spending Plan upgrades. 

    Once they've received enough feedback, they'll let us know accordingly, and we will update/close this post accordingly. Also, if any further info is needed from you, you will be contacted directly. :smile:

    -Coach Natalie
  • RobWilk
    RobWilk Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Don't know if I've communicated this before, but I would like if the spending plan was over a date-range rather than 1st to last of month.  A person could set a spending plan jan. 1 to Dec. 31 if they want, or some of us might like a 3rd Wednesday to day before the next 3rd Wednesday (payday to payday)- since that's essentially a 'spending month' for people in my circumstance.  1st to last of month is meaningless.

    -Rob


    Rob Wilkens

  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    Thank you, @RobWilk!

    Please feel free to also add your vote and feedback here for the ability to customize the budget cycle. :smile:

    -Coach Natalie
  • justRick
    justRick Member
    Rollover in spending plan would function almost as an automatic savings goals feature for me.  If my electric bill varies season to season, but I've budgeted at least enough to cover it on the average, then my budget should stay balanced.  Same thing for bills that hit every 3 months, like HOA dues and water bills.  If I have a $60/mo budget and a $180 bill every 3 months, everything should just be balanced.  

    Another option would be to be able to have a savings goal automatically save money each month and have spending in a category pull from the savings goal each month vs. hitting the current month's budget.  Having to mark a transaction as hidden from the budget while also withdrawing from a savings goal is enough manual steps that you're competing with a spreadsheet auto-updating from one of your competitors.

    Annual vs. Monthly budgets would also do it; maybe you could have your HR go poach some of the developers from Mint :smile:  .

    I like most things about Simplifi, but not handling quarterly/annual/irregular expenses well is a major hole.  Savings goals will help, but only with extra manual steps.


  • papermuffins
    papermuffins Member ✭✭✭
    Make navigating between spending plan categories fast.

    On Desktop (can't use Mobile because it's wicked slow), when you load a category to make sure transactions are accurately categorized you have to:
    • Click into a Category
    • Review
    • Back to Category List
    • Click New Category
    • Repeat endlessly

    I have 10 Categories and check this regularly (transaction list is an alternative, yes, however doesn't allow me to look at the spending report for the category), and navigating back & forth is cumbersome. A button to navigate me to the next sequentially listed category with a label of what category I'm navigating to would make things more efficient. 
  • What I would like to have is what my credit union discontinued.  A monthly calendar with the projected future total on each day, according to my planned spending. Plus the amount on each day for each planned income and planned expenses. Then I can move to any month in the future.  
  • RobWilk
    RobWilk Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    @zjtrins -- Isn't that what the cash flow chart is? 

    on the web, pick an account, and the cash flow chart is on top, you can forecast up to 6 months out, and slide your cursor over to any date and get a balance on that date (projected).

    on the mobile app, select the account, then click "See projected cash flow" and by date you'll get a projected balance on the days the balance changes.


    Rob Wilkens

  • YES!!!!! For all of the previously stated reasons, rollover is so important!!! I'm not sure I feel comfortable using as many exclamation points as I feel about this...
  • WeWo
    WeWo Member
    Please add rollover!!!
  • madtown88
    madtown88 Member
    Late to the party!

    A ticker to show the progress through the month vs. actual spending would be helpful. Example: I spent about 40% of a budget and its 2.5 weeks into the month, how is the related? 

    I know it's called "spending plan" but a dedicated way to represent investments would be great.

    Thanks!
  • 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! 


    I'd love the ability to put two categories/subcategories in the same Spending Plan.  That way we can budget for "either this or this, but not both".
  • alyssah90
    alyssah90 Member
    How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan?
    Something to act like "sinking funds" where i can add to it each month but also see what has been allocated there but not spent over time. Good for things that aren't really goals but more rolling expenses; ex. clothing. I know about how much a year i'm going to spend on clothing, but I don't know when. A goal doesn't make sense because I will probably never have the total just sitting there waiting, it's going to be spent throughout the year. 
    How would having rollover abilities benefit you?
    Easier to keep track of planned spending categories that happen over time rather than within a particular month. Not goals, not bills, but build and spend categories like clothing or medical that i want to keep a little separate.
    What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan?
    • Bill accruals; be able to set a non-monthly bill to accrue in the time between payments while still showing as a "bill" 
    • Set planned spending balances to show up on cash flow; possibly on a specified date. Ex. If I have a $500 category in planned spending for Food; I've spent $300 of it by the 15th, I want to set it to show the other $200 (or whatever the current* balance is) being "gone" by the 30th as a cash flow adjustment without* having to enter a temporary transaction. I'd want this to be a check box somewhere so it doesn't globally apply to all planned spending, only where I want it to. This would allow the cash flow to be more realistic. I'd imagine common planned spending include gas and groceries; those expenses aren't showing up on the cash flow forecast and skew it by thousands of dollars over 6 months even though we know that money is definitely going to be gone. Currently; the only way around this is to have bills only in one bank account, and planned spending/other spending in another so that the cash flow can be ignored on those accounts. 
  • alyssah90
    alyssah90 Member
    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.


    #2 here - planned, actual, and over/under. YES. I appreciate that the spending plan wants you to go over it each month and release extra funds and all that jazz. However; the over spending in planned isn't really dealt with productively and you don't see if bills went up or down at all since it just shows the actual.

    I agree I would like to be able to set a "budgeted" column and then see what the actuals are each month and what the difference is.

    I do** like the current set up of the series being able to be a long term setup then go in by month and edit specific amounts without it changing everything and wouldn't want that functionality to change. 
  • papermuffins
    papermuffins Member ✭✭✭
    This may be suggested already, however the Spending Plan I think could use a couple of improvements:

    There should be a chart (horizontal bar chart or something) of the high level categories, vs actual for each month. ie:

    Expected Income 
    Actual Income Received to date

    Expected Bills & Subscriptions
    Actual Bills and Subscriptions spent to date

    Expected Planned Spending
    Actual Planned Spending spent to date

    Other Spending

    * All above should include a mark denoting the last 6mo avg at those top levels

    The need here is that it is to segmented and thus hard to tell as a whole, how much over or under you are going. 

    If you're like me, I try to get very accurate to the budget spend. However I know that spending categories ebb & flow depending on events of the month and times of the year. Being able to see how overall the budget is vs individual categories, and nothing for bills would be very helpful in allowing me to quickly expectation set and make adjustments if needed.

    Also, this would be a helpful breakdown for a month to month look. Right now the spending report breaks them down by transaction category, but not by budget category (bills, subscriptions, planned spending). For the budget, improving our ability to accurately plan and predict requires a seeing it from a higher level at times than a granular one. I can't easily ask myself the question, "How are we doing with staying in budget over time?"
  • djcrawford
    djcrawford Member
    edited October 2022
    What I really want is a way to allow planned spending to be expressed in the Projected Cash Flow report so that the projection could actually be close to accurate. I would imagine all you would need to do is allow a user to select the account that the expense would come from, have the user specify a decay rate and then update the report
  • alyssah90
    alyssah90 Member
    Stop having it adjust backwards!!! If I make changes to my spending plan this month I do NOT want it to change that same plan for last month. It does this on any that are recurring and it makes reviewing past months plans impossible. 
  • Coach Natalie
    Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
    edited October 2022
    Hello @alyssah90,

    What you're reporting sounds more like a bug than feedback. Making changes to the current month's Spending Plan should not impact any other month unless you're editing the associated Recurring Series, at which point, future months could be impacted. 

    I'd suggest creating a bug report post outlining exactly what you're experiencing and providing specific examples so we can take a closer look. 

    https://community.simplifimoney.com/categories/bug-reports

    -Coach Natalie
  • Kav77
    Kav77 Member
    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! 


    I like it.
  • s4ntos3
    s4ntos3 Member
    Rollover is necessary for budgeting of expenses that occur less frequently than monthly (gifts, vacation, car registration, veterinarian expenses, etc.). The fact that this is not supported is a real problem.  

    Everyone is trying to shoe horn Savings Goals to fill this need, but it doesn't work without a great deal of attention from the user.  For me, there is no distinction between a "saving goal" and any other category in my budget.

    The ability to rollover raises a few other questions:
    • If rollover is implemented, how should excess accumulation be dealt with? I personally would like to move money between categories.
    • Or, should rollover subtract from the next month's contribution, lowering the amount of money that must be contributed.  I think having this option would be nice.
    • Should the user be allowed to prevent excess accumulation by setting an upper limit on any category? Once the limit is hit, no additional money can be added to the category (rollover or direct contribution) and only the money actually contributed would be reflected in the Planned Spending.  If money is spent from that category, then on the next month money would contributed as dictated by my spending plan.  I would really like to see this as it would it completely negate the need for Savings Goals.
    • If categories can accumulate, how will I be able to verify that my cash accounts cover all of my expenses?
    • I would like to be able to enable/disable rollover on any expense category.
    Lastly, I put my vote on removing Subscriptions.  They are superfluous.
  • mverbree
    mverbree Member ✭✭✭
    The spending plan is excellent, only thing I would like to see is a way of adding a Transfer section for example a re-occurring transfer to a brokerage.  I track these as bills now, just would like these separated into its own section.  I also do a number of re-occurring transfers to and from family members, putting money into savings accounts, etc...