Read how Tara uses PocketSmith to track her spending and stay accountable to her budget to meet her savings goals!
I’m Tara. I’m 35 years old and I’m pretty familiar with financial software because I work for NZ-founded cloud business accounting company — Xero! I wouldn’t exactly call myself a ‘numbers person’ though; I work in a global Brand Engagement Manager role and spend my days working on marketing, projects and events. I’m married to Mike and we live near the beach on Auckland’s North Shore with our dog Adi.
I most definitely am not the cook (that’s Mike’s area of expertise), but apart from that we share most of the responsibilities of home life. I’m the chief grocery shopper, holiday organizer and dog walker, and I also manage our spendings and savings budget — which is how I came to spend a fair amount of time in PocketSmith.
We were introduced to PocketSmith through a company called enable.me. We signed up to work with them for a year, to focus on where we could refine how we were spending and saving our money with the goal of increasing savings to purchase a house. We loved using PocketSmith so much that we continued to use it even after our year of working with enable.me had finished.
Nearly three years!
We use PocketSmith to track all of our income and spending and to be able to budget how much surplus we’ll have which we can dedicate to savings. We set up a budget in PocketSmith at the start of the year and allocate budget amounts to all spending categories in our lives. We then track all of our spending and ensure we are tracking within the budget limits we’ve set and agreed upon as a family.
Using PocketSmith has made us SO much more accountable in terms of where our money is being spent. It has really helped me, in particular, to have discipline around setting a budget for certain things *cough* takeaway coffees and treats *cough* and stick to this each week/month — I know that if I go over the allocated spend budget this will have a knock-on effect to our surplus and savings goals.
It has bought so much more structure into how we organize our money and plan for our financial future. Ultimately, using PocketSmith has helped me to be much more conscious about how and where I am spending my money, and makes me think twice and consider the impact of purchases I am making.
It’s also a great tool to use to have discussions about money and spending as a couple. We now have data to back up any discussions around where our money is going and where we might like to agree to cut back. There’s no arguing with the numbers!
Automatic bank feeds make it so easy to track spending, as it’s all in there and linked up to our cards/accounts. I also love being able to automatically assign certain vendors where you shop a lot to certain budget categories e.g. any spending at New World (our local grocery store) goes straight into the ‘Groceries’ category, which saves me a lot of time when I am categorizing our spending in the app.
Spend time upfront creating your overall budget for the year — you can do this on PocketSmith’s Budget page or play around in a spreadsheet first like we did. Refine and perfect it, and then commit to sticking to the amounts you have allocated yourself to spend on certain categories. Keep on top of how each category is tracking on a regular basis too.
Getting on the property ladder! When we originally started to use PocketSmith nearly three years ago, we did so with a goal to track our spending and optimize our savings. In the past year, we’ve been able to use our savings to purchase a house, which has been the best money decision we’ve been able to make. I genuinely believe we wouldn’t be in the position we are with our savings without the accountability of using PocketSmith.