Andrew Digs Deeper Into His Finances With PocketSmith

We asked some of our wonderful users to share how they use PocketSmith to be productive with their money and plan for the future. Their stories are filled with ideas, suggestions and inspiration on how you can start crafting a meaningful relationship with your finances.

Read how Andrew is using PocketSmith’s Budget and Calendar features to get on top his expenses and look towards the future of his money.

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name’s Andrew, I’m 52 and I work in IT for a mid-sized company in Australia as Head of IT. My family enjoys going on holidays to international locations, usually about once a year, when we can. We are buying our own house, and I live with my wife and our 12-year-old son. Our adult daughter has just recently moved out.

How would you describe your role in your household?

I’m the primary breadwinner in the household, working full time. I’m the logical one who asks the question: “Yes, but how are we paying for this?”

What drew you to PocketSmith?

My new year’s resolution was to start managing our money better. We seem to spend what we earn. My wife had talked about a holiday at the end of the year. I really wanted to get a handle on where our money was going and why we weren’t getting ahead.

Being good with computers and Excel I knew I could build a simple spreadsheet to manage it. I’d also used Microsoft Money a long time ago for a similar purpose. At the same time, building something would mean a lot of effort and time spent putting it all together and keeping it working. I wanted to find something inexpensive and “off the shelf” that could do the job.

I started googling “personal money management” and even tried to find Microsoft Money. I looked at a few products (free, paid or “freemium”) and tested some of them with varying results.

Then I stumbled onto PocketSmith and signed up for the trial. It was a good price, compared to the time I would spend building something with even one-tenth of the features it had.

How long have you been with us?

Signed up at the start of January 2023 — now coming up to two full months of “live” transactions and management in PocketSmith.

What do you primarily use PocketSmith for?

Well, it was originally going to answer the question “where does our money go”, but I’ve fallen in love with the Budget and Calendar features. Now I know “when will our money go” as well as where!

How has PocketSmith changed the way you do money?

Rather than spending considerations being “do we have money?” or “can I buy this today?”, the question comes to “is this in the budget and is there budget available?” We have a budget for some of the niceties, but now we at least know how any spending will affect our savings toward a holiday.

A psychological benefit is also now that the whole family is aware that we are tracking our spending. We’re all, as a family, more likely to snack on leftovers than order out. And my “new clothes” habit from last year has been broken.

What are your favorite features?

I have so many things that I didn’t expect to be so time-saving and awesome. With this new “real-time banking” world we live in, I didn’t even realize this could be done. So, favorite features in no particular order:

  • Automatic importing of transactions from various financial institutions. Other systems wanted me to find some common file format to use between them, and then manually download and import those transactions — what a huge time saver the bank feeds feature is.
  • The workflow. Not necessarily a feature, but the workflow of transactions from “uncategorized” to “awaiting confirmation” to “confirmed” gives me exactly the right spots to care about a transaction at.
  • Customized dashboards. I can focus on what I care about most from all that I can look at — “will our operating account overdraw” and “how is our credit card tracking” is all on one dashboard now.
  • Filters. Making categorizing and processing all these transactions much easier!

Got any tips?

  • Skip Category Rules and take a look at Filters first. They’re more powerful and let you set multiple parameters in transaction categorization.
  • Turn off all “Auto-categorize transactions” on all feeds (either temporarily or permanently) — for super-detail-control-freak-oriented people like me, the filters you set up above will work way better and the way you expect. This can be changed for each bank feed under Manage > Feeds.
  • Start your journey with Transaction Confirming set to “I want to confirm all new transactions”, then once you’ve got your Filters refined, slowly turn this off and adjust the confirming to your preferred level. I have “I want to confirm transfers” and “I want to confirm transactions categorized by the bank”. You’ll find this in User Preferences > Transaction Confirming
  • Ask questions of the PocketSmith team if you need help or clarification — they’re great, friendly, courteous and respond really quickly.
  • Get your Tell-a-Friend program set up straight away. You’ll find it in Subscription & upgrade > Tell-a-Friend.

What’s the best money decision you made in the past 12 months?

I’ve got two and they’re wildly different.

  1. Bought a new hybrid car. Servicing is super cheap and consistent. The fuel economy is amazing. So I get to save the planet and save money.
  2. Signed up to PocketSmith. Within a month I’d canceled my debit card as I found my son had signed up for Roblox in too many places. The money we saved in one month from that paid for PocketSmith for the entire year! It also helped to spot those “I’d signed up for but forgotten about” subscriptions to things like Zoom and Adobe Photography plan that we weren’t using anymore.

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