Darin Makes the Most of His Financial Data 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 Darin uses PocketSmith’s powerful reporting features to gain transparency of the comings and goings of his money! 

Tell us a little about yourself?

I am a Senior Software Developer of 35 years, a husband of 40 years, with two adult kids and three precious little granddaughters. I love to give my time to others. Mentoring, fundraisers at the school, and being involved in community projects such as building a city center that included a movie theater, a museum and a 24-hour fitness center — all in a small town of about 1,000 amazing people. I love to travel, meet people and try different foods. I’ve been to four continents, 14 countries and 41 states in the US. I also love to learn.

How would you describe your role in your household?

I am the head of the household in certain aspects, while my wife is the head of the household in other aspects. From time to time one of us may get bored and so we trade certain responsibilities. I seem to handle most of the money and finances of our lives. I’ve always had a love of numbers and enjoy tinkering with ways to make the data from our accounts and our expenses more understandable. From time to time, I provide reports to my wife to show her how we are doing and to keep her involved.

What drew you to PocketSmith?

I have a love/hate relationship with Excel. I’ve bent it, twisted it, washed it, dried it but I am never happy with how I have things laid out from our accounts. I’ve downloaded examples from the web to help me, but it just never seemed to be what I was looking for.

On a whim about a year ago, I thought I would check the market for personal finance software. I had used a couple others and they were like Excel, in that I felt like I was squeezing a square peg into a round hole.

I found PocketSmith and it just felt comfortable almost immediately, like a good pair of gloves. Everything felt natural. When I wanted to do X, it was right there. When I wanted to Y, it was there also.  

It also made learning at my own pace very easy. I eased myself into PocketSmith, then challenged myself to rethink how I had done something in the past and PocketSmith made it super simple to make those changes. A great example is setting up accounts. By having a Parent → Child relationship, I could easily rearrange how I had things set up, without losing data.

The reporting is fun and I can see who has been naughty with a macaccino (her), or a smoothie (me). And most importantly, how much we are spending on those adorable granddaughters!

One last feature is the ability to see transactions that you normally might not have noticed in the past. There was a $7.50 amount withdrawn from our account twice a month. I had glossed over it as it was small compared to other amounts such as mortgage payments, but the recurring nature stood out. Using the Query tool, I was able to generate a report that made it easy to ask the wife about, who informed me it was a professional fee for learning that she used for her job.

I would recommend PocketSmith to anyone who needs to gain control of what is being spent and where your money is going. Budgeting helps you think about what you should spend, like buying one smoothie instead of two in a month.

How long have you been with us?

About 11 months. I can’t imagine not using it now.

What do you primarily use PocketSmith for?

Currently, only for home finances. In the future? I have something that I’d like to start that I think PocketSmith would work well for.

How has PocketSmith changed the way you do money?

I am so much more aware of the money we spend, and honestly it’s because it’s so easy to “train” PocketSmith on how to automatically categorize transactions. When I check it, there are occasional transactions that I need to manually review and categorize, but almost all of them are being automatically routed to the correct accounts or sub-accounts. It makes it quick and simple!

What are your favorite features?

It’s being able to see all the transactions for a period of time and, better still, to see the accounts drill down and view the transactions for those accounts if I want to.

I just feel like I am in control, instead of it being a necessary task that I have to do.

Got any tips?

Check out their how-to videos, spend some time with PocketSmith to at least get your accounts to sync and set your categories to make sense. Give it a couple days and do it again. Refine your categories. Give it a week, then jump in and embrace it. It works and it will help you! But only if you take the time to learn about it, and continue to tinker with it to make it perfect for you!

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

Purchasing PocketSmith and using/embracing it to have it help me make my old process of tracking my expenses and income, so much simpler, usable and understandable.

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