We want your feedback on the Spending Plan!

1457910

Comments

  • Hi, there! I am brand new to Simplifi, and looking forward to incorporating it into my family's financial wellness plan. We are new to the app, and have been impressed with how quickly the development team has addressed functionality/performance issues.

    Regarding your Spending Plan questions:

    1. I would use rollover ability in the Spending Plan to make a decision regarding what to do with leftover funds at the end of the month - transfer to savings? Add to next month's budget? Invest?
    2. Rollover capability would benefit me, because it would remind me to put extra funds to work for me in whatever way I choose. An option for a "rollover decision reminder" prompt at the end of the month would be great.
    3. Another feature I'd like to see added to the Spending Plan would be to customize income allocation for cashflow purposes. For example, we'll have a direct deposit on the 29th. Simplifi is allocating those funds to the current month. However, from a cashflow perspective, that check would technically be used to cover the bills for the first half of the following month. It would be great to have an option to allocate recurring income to the following month's budget. I am new to Simplifi (literally started yesterday), and I am already mulling workarounds for this issue, but it would be nice to have the option built-in.

    Thank you!

  • I wish it could stop being glitchy and wrong, as it has been off and one for a few weeks now, but especially the last few days. Hope you guys fix this soon, I already paid for a year and I tried so many different budgeting apps. I'd much rather not have to switch to another one.

  • Since I just completed my first month with Simplify, I really like the spending plan for the most part.

    I don't understand the release funds option under planned spending or at lease have the option to automatically release the funds at the end of the month since this is normally a rough budgeted amount for some categories (food, groceries, gas, etc.). Similarly if I have a bill that doesn't get spent that month it seems to just go away instead of showing as unpaid, which seems backwards from the planned spending release standpoint. I would prefer any unspent planned spending dollars get auto released and unpaid bills remain and/or have an option to release those bills. I like the idea of using the bills section to be able to track if there is ever an error with automatic payments for certain bills.

    Thanks,

  • Spending plan is great, when it works. This issue makes it unusable.

  • Wedo778
    Wedo778 Member ✭✭✭
    1. This would work best in tandem, in my mind, with the Planned Spending categories. Many planned expenses are not necessarily static throughout the year. For example, gasoline. I fill my car up when it needs gas. I may "average" $100 a month, but depending on which specific days I need to fill up I may get 4 tanks of gas this month and 2 next month. I'd like those overages and underages of my Planned Spending of monthly gasoline to roll over and impact what my plan is for the following month. Similarly this could work for bills that are not the same every month like electricity.
    2. I'd have a more accurate picture of what I expect to spend each month. I am currently not putting a ton into the Planned Spending categories because so many things are sporadic. I'm not buying furniture every month. But I do want to be able to budget $X a year on furnishing my house. I cannot realistically put that in my spending plan unless I am retroactively adding an item to the plan after I have already decided on a specific purchase that individual month. The result is that every month I just have this big bucket of $2500 to spend throughout the month without any indication of where I planned to spend some of that and how much discretionary spending I can actually do.
    3. I'm not sure how I am "supposed" to be managing credit card payments in the Spending Plan. It seems that if I include them in the plan I wind up double-counting my spending. I pay a $1000 CC bill (which is what I charged last month) and then I spend $1000. I actually only spent $1000 this month but if I were to include the CC transfer then it thinks I have spent $2000. Also, and maybe this is more of an recurring items thing, but the upcoming CC payments are just my guestimate as to my monthly average CC bill. You have a link to my actual bank records. You can pull my actual balance. Why can't you update my next CC bill to be its actual statement balance automatically?

  • ajbopp
    ajbopp Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    "if I were to include the CC transfer..."

     When setting up CC transfers (or payments) you generally want to check the "Exclude from Spending Plan" and "Exclude from Reports" checkboxes. Those boxes specifically exist for not double counting CC expenses.

    Anthony Bopp
    Simplifi User Since July 2022, not an employee, not an influencer

  • Wedo778
    Wedo778 Member ✭✭✭

    Yea thats what I do. I guess I'm just confused as to why including them would even be an option in the first place is all.

  • I'm coming from Mint and have been using simplifi for about a month. I don't really have a use for rollovers. I use the savings plan feature for those infrequent purchases. That also allows me to see how much money I actually have to spend on those items.

    I would like to see a progress bar under the "Planned Spending" text box. This would allow me to see how much I had left in my planned spending as the month progresses.

    Contrary to others on this thread, I actually like the separation of income, bills and subscriptions, and savings goals from planned spending. It allows me to see all of the expenses I have committed to each month and separates that from optional spending. I don't actually see how you would incorporate rollover budgets with the way the system is set up now, but maybe I just haven't thought about it enough.

    I think integrating savings goals more into transactions and beefing up its functionality (along the lines of other suggestions) would be great.

  • I would love to see a spending line graph for the month showing if current spending level for the month and a comparison of my current spending to previous months spending as well as current spending to budgeted spending for the month. Simplifi seems to be the only finance app I’ve seen without a monthly spending graph. Thanks!!!

  • I really like the spending plan, but I see two gaps.

    First I'd like to be able to switch back and forth between monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual views of budgeting.

    Second, since I'm locked into only budgeting monthly, I've found no option to set aside money on a monthly basis for annual or semi-annual bills. This basically makes it useless as a budgeting tool, unless I manually calculate the monthly average for these non-monthly bills and mentally do the math each month. My discretionary monthly income is about $800. Some of these bills are $1k. Am I supposed to just not spend any money when the bill is due and magic up an extra $200? It's impossible and therefore worthless without this feature.

  • You can create a savings goal for your annual, semi-annual or otherwise non-monthly expenses. Mine is called 2024 Expected. I know the total amount I'll need for these for the year. Start the goal Jan 2024 to end Dec 2024 and divide the total amount by 12. You'll see the contribution to this savings goal in your Spending Plan beginning Jan 2024.

  • I agree with most of the previous posters. I would use rollover a ton. My shopping habits are variable and seasonal. For example, I might spend very little in October, but do Christmas shopping in November. I would like to roll the unused funds from previous months into the current month so that the average balnces out.

    Second, I would VERY MUCH like the ability to change the dates of the spending plan. 1st to 31st is not ideal for us, considering when the credit card autopays (most of our spending there), and when we get paid.

  • UrsulaA
    UrsulaA Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    Rollover abilities: I will not use these and I am aware many other users will. For me to consider using these, I will need to be able to set a yearly budget for a category (example $5000 in groceries). In that way, if I roll over a budget I can get a warning message if the rolling will cause me to go over my yearly allotment to the category, which I can configure.

    Other features:

    Ability to have a table view option in addition to the tiles to fit everything in one page.

    View more than one month at a time and the sum of a yearly spending plan. Compare actual versus spending plan on a yearly basis.

    Simplifi User Since Nov 2023

    Minter 2014-2023

    Questionable Excel before 2014

  • UrsulaA
    UrsulaA Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    I will like this by @JDNYUS.

    Also, add an option to have a table view of planned spending that shows categories/groups without the need to scroll. See item B by @ijac. I like the cards, specially in the mobile app, so an option to toggle the display between table view and card view will work.

    Simplifi User Since Nov 2023

    Minter 2014-2023

    Questionable Excel before 2014

  • Max1223
    Max1223 Member ✭✭✭

    Please add the ability to rollover categories and see an annual or 12 month view of spending. Thanks

  • Archie
    Archie Member ✭✭
    edited December 2023

    Category Rolling up to Spending Plan is a pain.

    Lets say I want to allocate $700 for Dining and Drinks a month, and I allocate into Restaurant which is a child of Dining and Drinks.

    If I create the Planned Spending under Restaurant, I see $226.39. If I create the Planned Spending under the parent (Dining and Drinks), it shows $0.00

    [removed]

  • Wedo778
    Wedo778 Member ✭✭✭

    Agreed I think rollups might even be more important than rollovers. And food is a great example.

    I have a budget for food. This can be eating/ordering out or it can be groceries. if I eat out more, I need to buy less groceries and vice versa. But I still want to know and track how much I am spending each way. The spending plan doesn't let me do this. Neither does a watchlist (or three separate watchlists with a massive tile card each). This is the biggest thing I miss coming over from Mint.

  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2023

    Hi @Wedo778

    If you want to keep track of your grocery spending separate from your eating/ordering out spending, you can set up a Planned Spending category for each designating the category or subcategory where you track those expenses. As far as adjusting one down if the other goes up that well need to be done by adjusting the amount you have designated for each for the current month. I have a category for groceries and household and a separate category for eating out. You will be able to see your MTD spending in each category as the month proceeds.

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

    Hi @Archie the Planned Spending will only count the expenses assigned to the designated spending category. If your don't categorize anything using the top category "Restaurant" then a Planned Spending category set to capture spending in "Restaurant" won't have any amounts to capture. Since you categorize expenses as "Dining and Drings" then those expenses will be captured by Planned Spending for "Dining and Drinks". Planned Expenses are category or sub-category specific but will only report expenses categorized by the category or sub-category. Watch Lists can capture all sub-category expenses rolled up into a top category.

    Danny
    Simplifi user since 01/22
    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • Max1223
    Max1223 Member ✭✭✭

    When I exclude transactions from the plan for a given month, I was expecting that the following months would follow suit, but I have to re-exclude them. Can I find a way to not do that?

  • UrsulaA
    UrsulaA Superuser ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2023

    I created a planned spending with dining and drinks as a parent. As the month goes by, the planned spending section captures transactions under the parent category, dining and drinks, and the child categories.

    For those migrating from Mint, ensure that your restaurant and other Mint specific categories are moved to Dining & Drinks as a parent category. Otherwise, the planned spending title with dining & drinks will not show those transactions.

    Simplifi User Since Nov 2023

    Minter 2014-2023

    Questionable Excel before 2014

  • ajbopp
    ajbopp Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    @Max1223 The trick is to edit the series, rather than the individual transaction. You can find "Edit Series" in the lower left corner of the Edit Transaction dialog, or you can choose "View Series" from the bill's three dot menu, choose Options from the upper right corner, and then choose Edit from that menu (I rarely go that route because it's a lot more clicks).

    Anthony Bopp
    Simplifi User Since July 2022, not an employee, not an influencer

  • Wedo778
    Wedo778 Member ✭✭✭

    Yes I am aware I can make two separate items and then manually move them up and down each month as I spend more or less. The point is, with rollups you don't need all that manual intervention. You also have one nice, easy spot to see "money spent on food" without losing the tracking of where your food money is going.

  • UrsulaA
    UrsulaA Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    For those of you wanting the rollover budget, vote for it here. The idea is in progress and has 276 votes.

    Simplifi User Since Nov 2023

    Minter 2014-2023

    Questionable Excel before 2014

  • markv
    markv Member

    Thanks for asking.

    Former Mint user here, and I generally used their budgeting functionality to track only incidental spending like restaurants, groceries, gas, coffee shops, etc with specific amounts allotted to each. But the spending plan doesn't seem to do what I need. I don't want monthly income, credit card bills, or other fixed costs to be factored into my spending plan. since they generally don't change, and don't have any bearing on my incidental budget.

    I think the spending plan would be much more practical if I could just:

    1. Set a monthly custom spending target (rather than just having the spending target be my total income minus my savings goal).
    2. See the progress I'm making on my planned spending categories all in one view (as others have noted, a more compact view would be great—see Mint screen capture attached).
    3. Be able to hide the "Income after bills & saving" section entirely, since it's not useful to me.

    Thanks for all you do for your subscribers!

  • DMcWetty
    DMcWetty Member
    edited December 2023
    1. How would you use rollover abilities in the Spending Plan?
      1. I would use Rollover in very specific instances, namely "Shopping" and "Groceries" and the like. So it would have to be a category specific toggle to be useful to me. Things that are beyond my control, like how much water or electricity is consumed would not be subject to rollover because they are seasonal.
    2. How would having rollover abilities benefit you?
      1. Pushing overages into the next month would serve as a reminder that I need to pull back a bit on spending as deficits rollover.
    3. What other features/abilities would you like to see added to the Spending Plan?
      1. It's not specific to the Spending Plan but it is related… rules that take into account amount spent. I posted elsewhere that it would be useful to have transactions from Venmo that go into different buckets be auto-categorized based on amount spent. i.e: Our tutor gets $XXX per transaction so it goes to Education while our sitter gets $YYY per transaction therefore it goes to Childcare. This rule parameter would help with the Spending plan so I'm not constantly sorting transactions.
      2. More granular graphs that I can pick categories to show correlation. "Coffee" vs "Bars" can show me where I need to control spending within my plan.

    EDIT: Small complaint… it took me about an hour to figure out that my "planned spending" items were already taken into account under "bills" in my income available. I could not figure out why my TMO bill wasn't showing up in Planned Spending (I found it under bills). A little onboarding hint might have saved me that hour.

  • Max1223
    Max1223 Member ✭✭✭

    As I attempt to learn how to use the Spending Plan as implemented, I've noticed that you cannot make a "withdraw from goal" if you don't have the funds (manual add to "contribute to goal"). While conceptually, I understand why that might be as in the case of a real bank account, this might throw a wrench into automated "take from" actions. If you don't have the fund, it might not let you "take".

    I'll have to say, as is, to make the Spending Plan work for me, I'm doing work arounds and they are not ideal:

    • not being able to select multiple categories in a given Planned Spending group forces me to not include bills and subscriptions. So why even have that "automated" or part of my "income after bills and savings". As implemented, it would be more simple and clear to just state "Income" as all my bills and subscriptions are built into my "Planned Spending" categories.
    • not having roll over features in Planned Spending. So now I cannot include things like having a monthly contribution toward Gifts that rollover each month. So I create Gifts as a Savings Goals but the lack of automated "take" makes this a difficult, manual entry experience.
    • Strict Savings goal rules around "withdraw.." and "contribute" as mentioned above, which forces me to artificially manipulate contributions if I want to track all contributions and withdrawals. The workaround is I just create a Watchlist to track gift spending and hope my average monthly matches my goal. Watchlists are great but in this case have no impact or calculations relative to the Spending plan or Saving goals.

    Which in the end, I think I'll abandon Saving Goals, "exclude" all subscriptions and bills in the income section and use watchlist to track expenses.

  • ajbopp
    ajbopp Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    There's a reason goals are goals, and not plans. Goals are things you hope to achieve, but cannot ensure you will achieve. Plans are things you absolutely must achieve.

    If you can't make your mortgage payment you lose your home. If you can't contribute to your Gifts Savings Goal, someone has to be content with a less expensive gift.

    It would be horrible to automate goals as if they were plans.

    Currently Q-Simplifi reminds you to contribute to Savings Goals, which is what it should do.

    Anthony Bopp
    Simplifi User Since July 2022, not an employee, not an influencer

  • Max1223
    Max1223 Member ✭✭✭

    So Simplifi uses both Plans and Goals together and I agree about needing flexibility since its unsure. With that, I still don't see why the SW can't offer a check box to "take" out of your savings and what you spend against it vs needing to create a watchlist to add up what you've spent, then go in a subtract, finding after its too late that you over spent and now need to make adjustments. Maybe you can actually manage through a couple of "minus" months and make up for it, which rolling spend achieves. Flexibility for things that are uncertain.

    As of now the Spending Plan tab could be much more simple.

  • UrsulaA
    UrsulaA Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    I just experimented with the Other Spending projection on the spending plan. I added a number there in the January 2024 month and it uses such number to project forward.

    https://help.simplifimoney.com/en/articles/4212702-using-the-quicken-simplifi-spending-plan#h_656df4b253

    For users who want to budget with more discretion and less categories, this is a good option. My main concern is to end the month with positive cash flow, not necessarily to watch every penny.

    Simplifi User Since Nov 2023

    Minter 2014-2023

    Questionable Excel before 2014