What I hate about the Spending Plan implementation

Chrobrego Member ✭✭✭
edited November 2023 in Feedback

I gave up on Simplify a few months ago largely because I hated the spending plan setup. 1 — It made zero sense to me to have 'income after bills and savings' in one category then create another tab called 'planned spending.' What I found was that it was too easy to include an expense in BOTH bills and planned spending. 2 — it was hard to use this spending plan feature because the category boxes were so darn big that they took up all the screen space. I have to scroll through three pages of category boxes to see my full list of 'planned spending.' Why not have single register like entries so I can see my whole bunch in a glance? 3 — Simplify made me enter my planned spending categories and didn't offer an option to automatically create it based on prior spending patterns. 4 - I logically think of income then expenses then savings as separate entities. I don't like that my 'income' tab is combined with savings and bills plus transfers; many of these need to be grouped under expenses or separated. I would like to see income, bills, planned spending and then savings.


  • DannyB
    DannyB Superuser ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Chrobrego, thanks for sharing your review of Simplifi.

    What I like about Simplifi's Spending Plan is pretty much everything you dislike.

    1. "Income after bills and savings" allows me to see exactly what I have available to budget for my flexible expenses each month after I have accounted for all my fixed expenses. For me this is a great way to sort out my budget since monthly fixed expenses come out of my income at set times for mostly set amounts. Kind of akin to payroll deductions from my paycheck leaving me my net income. I haven't had the same issue of sorting out fixed and flexible expenses that you did - i.e. not doubling counting. I do use Watchlits to keep track of all spending in a particular.category though some of those expenses may be acconted for either as a bill/subscription or as a Planned Spending expense.
    2. Others have brought up the size of the Planned Spending category boxes being too big. That's not an issue for me... if anything I lean towards liking them and my planned spending data is presented (mayne they're just easier on my old eyes) It's easy enough to click on any particular category box to the details in a register type list.
    3. As for auto creation of Planned Spending goals maybe that could have been a feature request. It seems like you would still have to tell Simplifi what you Planned Spending categories will be before the app could sort out how much you historically spend in that category. But I might be missing your exact point here. Personally, I like setting up my own categories based on my particular way of organizing my flexible spending and.not having either live with pre ordained categories. I love the flexibility of creating and assigning goal amounts.
    4. This is a great assesment of what you are looking for in a personal finance app and gives you a great way to assess the various offerings available. Hopefully as you shop around you will find an app that comes closer to your current more traditional logic. Simplifi helped me by opening up a no logic for personal budgeting and having wrap my head around this logic it makes more sense to me than the more traditional logic. It's simply a different approach and it works for me.

    Simplifi user since 01/22
    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.” ~A.A. Latimer
  • SRC54
    SRC54 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2023


    I could title my post "Dr. Simplifi or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spending Plan" because when I started with Simplifi, it made no sense to me either. I agreed with you then about separating Income from Spending [Bills, then Planned Spending (Budgeting categories) and Ad-Hoc Spending] and then Savings. But over time I have gotten used to it and I see why they do it that way. Danny has pretty much explained why he likes it, and I think he pretty much gets the philosophy behind it. You take your income and bills that you have to pay each month first, and then you budget your spending with what is left over, and then things that crop up are last.

    I've gotten to the point I don't have any of the Other Spending (ad hoc) because if it doesn't fit in the first two, I just make it a one time bill so it moves to Bills (I don't budget rarely used categories). I assume Other is for things that crop up like an emergency vet visit or a water heater that has to be replaced.

    I could see where Savings could be at the end, and that is where mine is because I am a saver and what I have left over at the end is my savings. I could Zero out my monthly plan by entering what is left over as Savings, and I have thought about doing that, but it is kind of fun for me to cycle through the Plans to see how my savings goes up and down.

    Your idea about having Simplifi suggest Category Budgets (Planned Spending) is not bad, and would be nice for people new to Simplifi, but ultimately one has to adjust. When I set up a Category Budget, Simplifi does guestimate what your monthly spending is, but I didn't find that too useful. At the end of the month, not only do I release leftover funds for spending (really for me it amounts to extra savings), but I also adjust any categories that went over to the amount that I spent. I haven't been sure that the Spending Plan was designed to be used that way but I just figure, my budget changed for the month. LOL

    Of course, I am a saver and an older guy. Younger people with children and up and down income are going to have a much harder time staying in budget and saving. The Spending Plan is really designed for them. But I make it work for me.

    It sounds like you are thinking of giving Simplifi another chance. Everyone's situation is unique so it's a matter of finding something one can use. I didn't try Simplifi for the budgeting but for the Cloud and the flexible categories, which reminds me, I think it's time to share category ideas again. But that is for another post. But I DO think that budgeting broad main categories with sub-categories works better for the Spending Plan than lots of categories. Others may disagree with me there.

    Quicken Simplifi Since 2021
    MS Money/Quicken Classic Since 1991

  • wkh
    wkh Member
    edited October 2023

    I absolutely agree with Chrobrego and just gave them feedback in a chat window. I formally requested at least the option of having a traditional budgeting tool like Quicken or Mint Money. The chatter had not even heard about Mint Money. I explained that is their competition. I used Mint for quite some time and if they had the option for a paid version without ads, I'd still be using it. They also need to make the web version and app versions look more alike. I paid for classic Quicken for many years and finally ditched it because it's overkill for me and too expensive. I also didn't like that it requires a computer and the companion app was a nightmare. So, I've been trying Simplifi, which is actually pretty slick EXCEPT for that bizarre Spending Plan rather than a traditional budget. It's too myopic. I can't even look at a yearly view of my budget and get a report of how I'm doing with respect to planned spending say year to date or over last year. I probably won't continue with Simplifi when my subscription is up as a result. I'll just go back to Mint or use the one my credit union offers for free. It's called Money Manager, but the support is somewhat lacking considering it's free. I've offered feedback on some glaring bugs, but they never fix them. You get what you pay for. Well, except with Simplifi. I thought I'd get a budgeting tool. 😉

  • ajbopp
    ajbopp Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    "Simplify made me enter my planned spending categories and didn't offer an option to automatically create it based on prior spending patterns."

    I get suspicious whenever an app tries to suggest something to me. As it is now, When I create an item for Planned Spending currently (even if I select "This month only") it recommends an amount given what I've spent over the last 6 months on the selected category. Well, this month I know I'm only going to spend $9.67 but it suggests I give an amount of over $150.

    Anthony Bopp
    Simplifi User Since July 2022
    Money talks. But all my paycheck ever says is goodbye

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