What types of expenses are you tracking with Watchlists?

Coach Natalie
Coach Natalie Administrator, Moderator admin
edited September 2022 in Using Watchlists
We know that everyone uses Watchlists for different reasons. Some may use a Watchlist as a supplement to their budget to make sure they're not overspending in a particular area, some want to keep an eye on certain areas of spending and receive notifications when they're reaching the set limit, and some may use a Watchlist to keep an eye on vacation expenses during their vacation to make sure they're not overspending.

What do you use Watchlists for? Have you found any unique situations where a Watchlist comes in super handy? Do you primarily use Category, Payee, or Tag-based Watchlists, or do you have a variety? Do you typically set a 'Target' for your Watchlists, or do you have some with no target amount?

Also, what are your best practices for keeping an eye on your Watchlists, i.e. receiving notifications, checking the Watchlist tile on the Simplifi Dashboard, etc.?

Please let us know by commenting below!


  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2022
    Right now I’m using Watchlists to track and monitor the 8 top level categories that we use for budgeting.  As a result I primarily, well right now, exclusively use Category based Watchlists.  Each Watchlist has a "Target" based on the percentage of our expected income for the month.

    I am set up to receive notifications when I'm getting close to the target amount I've set but I'll also take a glance at my Watchlists periodically through the month.

    I've noticed several users mention using Watchlists to track expenses for such things as vacation or travel and use a Tag to capture that spending in a Watchlist.  One of our top level categories is "Travel" and I categorize all spending during our monthly getaways with that category and have a Travel Watchlist to monitor our travel related spending.  If I wanted to use a Watchlist with a Tag I'd need to redistribute the funds I now budget for our Travel into various other categories, i.e. Gas & Fuel, Groceries & Household, Eating Out, etc.  For now I'll stick with using the Travel category and Travel watchlist.  :)
    Simplifi user since 01/22
    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • Flopbot
    Flopbot Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2022
    The way I'm using Watchlists has been shifting over time - and it's not done yet.  Currently, I'd say it falls into four broad groupings of stuff.

    • Top Level Budgeted Categories (Categories) - While I don't track all of them, I track the most frequently used ones.  For groceries, for example, I have an "Eating In" watchlist with a lower target amount ($650) than my Spending Plan's "Eating In" budgeted amount ($800).  By setting it up this way, the automated text notifications sent by Simplifi send out a warning, 'shot across the bow' as we spend on Groceries telling us to slow down.
    • Problem Spending Areas (Categories) - Places where in the past we have tended to spend a little too much monthly.
    • FAQ Areas (Categories) - These are the things that I'm either curious about (Milk, Filtered Water, Diapers & Wipes, etc.) or the things I tend to get asked about frequently and don't want to have to track them down over, and over, and over, and over, and...
    • Frequented Stores (Payees) - Out of sheer curiosity, it's kind of fun to see how much money I've spent monthly at Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, Our Local Grocery Store, etc.

    I use common names to help with sorting since Watchlists are in alpha-order...
    • Budget: ____
    • FAQ: ____
    • Payee: ____

    P.S, I really wish Simplifi allowed you to include "Account" as one of the options in Watchlist, in which case I'd show the monthly balance of the spending passing through a Cash Envelope that we use for groceries.
    Quicken Desktop user since 2014.
    New to Simplifi in 2021.
  • TheNigerianPrince
    TheNigerianPrince Member ✭✭✭✭
    I use watchlists to track different combinations of categories - some are clean enough to already be under one top-level category. 

    • Feeding (to compare against a monthly target: Groceries + Kitchen Supplies + Kitchen Appliances + Snacks + Eating Out
    • Car Ownership (to compare against what costs would be if I didn't have a car): Loan Payment + Tolls/Registration Fees + Fuel + Maintenance.
    • Amazon: Any Amazon Transaction. Helps me know how much value I'm getting out of the Prime subscription.

  • Mrsterry
    Mrsterry Member ✭✭
    I've been using it to track spending on seasonal expenses that happen through the year. 
    1. Summer Kid Costs - we save all year for these and deposits for camps are due at various times and there's no one category that covers them all...so we tag them as 'summer kid costs' and can see trends over time. Super excited to use this data to better plan/budget next year.
    2. Vacations - same as above, tagging food, hotels, gas, and other expenses related to vacations helps me better budget and plan for next year (and see where our money goes)!
  • duffythered
    duffythered Member ✭✭
    One of my favorite features.  We use a lot of tags to track across categories.  So watchlists for date night, dog, travel, are a great way to get a sense of spending trends.   

    Also for niche tracking -- e.g., how much the credit card annual fee is offset by specific benefits/offers later on.

    Notifications are helpful.  Watchlist tiles via brower or app is primary.
  • Steve86
    Steve86 Member ✭✭✭
    Currently using watchlist for a couple different things:

    1. Expenses which I find tough to predict:
    Doctor co-pays, perscriptions, tests/etc
    Gifts / Presents - For birthdays / eventss
    Home Improvement - Surprises when repairs are needed

    2. Tracking certain spending:
    Amazon purchases
    Vacation purchases
    Hobby purchases
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