Ex-Mint User Miranda Finds Her Perfect Budgeting Software in 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 PocketSmith’s customizability and focus on detail allows Miranda a degree of control and insight into her personal finances she’s never had until now.

Tell us a little about yourself?

After several years in the public accounting industry, my career path is evolving; I am currently a graduate student working towards a master’s degree in data science.

Making technical topics approachable and understandable has always been at the heart of my career, and I’m excited to take that into the world of data science. When I’m not doing taxes, statistics, or coding, you can usually find me reading, gaming, banking, or playing with our two dogs.

How would you describe your role in your household?

I manage our family’s personal finances and help with the bookkeeping for my fiancé’s business.

What drew you to PocketSmith?

I was a long-time Mint user, but always felt like there were limitations that required me to maintain a system of spreadsheets to budget the way that I wanted to.

When Intuit announced that they were discontinuing Mint, I researched and tried out other budgeting apps but found similar limitations. For example, one alternative offered a lot of flexibility in categorization, but it didn’t include our bank for automatic bank feeds, and it only offered month-based budgeting.

When I stumbled upon PocketSmith, it ticked off every box I had on my imaginary “perfect” budgeting software wish list. The customizability and attention to detail allows a lot of control and insight into your personal finances.

How long have you been with us?

I have been with PocketSmith since December 2023. Once I had our accounts linked and our budget created, I was so excited that I signed up for an annual subscription before the trial period was over.

What do you primarily use PocketSmith for?

I use PocketSmith for our family budget planning and review. To start off, I entered our budgeted income and expenses. I did most of this within my first couple of days using PocketSmith, so the budget is mostly set-and-forget, with an occasional update. Every two weeks, I categorize our transactions and compare the budgeted amounts to what actually happened.

How has PocketSmith changed the way you do money?

I previously had a system of spreadsheets to supplement features that Mint didn’t have. One of my primary complaints was that Mint was centered around monthly budgeting and lacked sufficient flexibility to create or view budgets and reports with different budgeting periods.

I prefer to have more flexibility because income and expenses don’t always occur on a perfect monthly basis, and PocketSmith provides users with several features to budget with these different timetables. You have the option to specify whether each income or expense category repeats and how often (in days, weekdays, weeks, fortnights, months, and years).

In addition, the reports and dashboards allow you to view your financial status over all kinds of custom periods. That flexibility has provided a fantastic way to streamline my budgeting process, reduce manual data entry, and delete some spreadsheets.

What are your favorite features?

I already talked about how much I love the flexibility of time periods for both budgets and reports, so I won’t make you read more here.

A second feature I love is how customizable the income and expense categories are. You can make a category as broad or specific as you want, color code it, and nest categories under a parent category.

For example, our “Auto Expense” parent category has subcategories for gas, insurance, vehicle registration, maintenance, and supplies. This allows me to be specific (i.e. insurance is paid on a certain day, but gas expense is spread out over time), while monitoring the overall trend of all auto expenses.

Similarly, some weeks we go over on our grocery spending, but I can see that we spent less on restaurants and are on track for our overall food budget.

A third feature I love is using merchant keywords for auto-categorizing transactions. In my opinion, it works more accurately than the categorization in most personal budgeting apps and bookkeeping software.

Got any tips?

1. Take advantage of the customizable periods for budgets, reports, and your dashboard

PocketSmith holds a wealth of information about what your income and expenses look like and seeing that information for short (weekly/biweekly) and long (monthly/annual) time periods can hold valuable insights.

For example, most of our recurring bills happen during the same two weeks every month. Budgeting accordingly, I keep more cash available to pay bills during those weeks and emphasize savings goals during the other half of each month.

2. Plan for treats

While a key part of budgeting is being able to focus on necessary expenses first and maintaining a level of restraint when spending on leisure or luxury, I think that building “treats” (big or small) into your budget up front helps you take care of yourself and your finances at the same time.

Whether you love ice cream, books, video games, or something else, budgeting for that gives you a reasonable expectation of how much you have available to spend while reminding you that you can (and should) do nice things for yourself.

3. PocketSmith can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be

PocketSmith caters to an infinite number of budgeting styles. If you feel constrained by over-simplified and inflexible budgeting apps that don’t allow customization, there’s a lot of freedom to set up your budget with every subcategory you desire on the precise timeline that each item occurs.

If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of budgeting, you can quickly set up your budget and categorize transactions. When you want to review how you’re doing, you can focus on the report(s) and dashboard(s) that you like and ignore the rest. When in doubt, the support team is always extremely kind and eager to assist.

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

When I decided to go back to school, I started saving money to serve as income-replacement and pay for tuition. By prioritizing savings goals before my program started, I made it possible to put more energy and attention into my future.


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