Using PocketSmith to forecast your bills

Jayson talks to us about how he uses PocketSmith’s forecasting so he’s never caught short

We asked staff members how they use PocketSmith to manage their different budgeting needs. They’re short reads, and we hope they give you ideas about how you could use PocketSmith too. Feel free to ask any questions, and we’ll be sure to answer.

Meet Jayson! As our Product Coordinator, he informs our development roadmap by keeping tabs on user feedback and requests. He keeps his ear to the ground and meets with key members of our teams to ensure that our projects are constantly moving forward.

What do you primarily use PocketSmith for?

I started using PocketSmith when it was just the calendar for forecasting, and this is still the main reason I use PocketSmith.

How has PocketSmith changed the way you do money?

PocketSmith has given me more confidence in the way I manage my different bank accounts. I can ensure each bank account will always have enough money to cover my expenses.

For example, I have a bank account just for bills. I have multiple direct debits and automatic payments coming out of this account. These bills are for different periods, amounts and dates so I add them all as budgets to my bill account.

I then have a transfer budget set from my main bank account to my bills account on the day I get paid which shows as income into my bills account. I’ll adjust the amount of my transfer budget to ensure the forecasted account balance never drops below $0 for the next year or two. Usually, I’ll add a little more than I need to provide a bit of a buffer.

Once I have everything forecasting as I want within PocketSmith, I can set up an automatic transfer with my bank that matches the transfer budget, letting me rest easy knowing that all my bills are being paid!

If the amount of a bill changes at a later time, I adjust the budget for that bill and see if my transfer amount still covers it. If it doesn’t cover the change, I test again what budgeted transfer amount will cover it and then make the change to the automatic transfer.

What pages/ features in PocketSmith do you use most?

I use the Calendar a lot for the account balance forecasting, I also enable Safe Balance on my accounts to ensure that the current and forecasted balances are more accurate.

Safe Balance is important because I set weekly and monthly budgets for things like groceries and entertainment. Safe Balance includes unspent amounts for these budgets in the current balance, ensuring that my forecast will stay accurate.

I also use a lot of Filters to rename and categorise transactions. I like my transactions to be named nicely, but the names that came from the bank feed can be pretty ugly. My renaming Filters cover the majority of my transactions, keeping my data prettier and easier to understand.

How often do you log in?

I try to check my PocketSmith account at least a couple of times a week so I can categorise any new transactions that aren’t covered by my Filters and Category Rules, as well as a quick check on how I am doing with certain budgets.

Then about once a month, I will have a deep dive into PocketSmith to make sure my income and expenses are on track and make adjustments if necessary. I also use this time to think about my future and how I can adjust my spending to get the financial forecast I want.

Any tips?

Yep, I have a couple of tips to make your PocketSmith experience more useful and enjoyable.

Firstly, if you use PocketSmith on your own device or log in, I recommend ticking the Remember me for two weeks checkbox, so you don’t have to login to PocketSmith every time you use it. Just make sure you enable this only on a password protected device so no one else can access your PocketSmith account.

Secondly, if you are using PocketSmith in a desktop browser, I recommend opening different pages in new tabs — this makes it easier to dig further into the numbers within a report while still having access to the original report for comparison.

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