Reminders in Cash Flow report

rahmant's Avatar

rahmant

10 Sep, 2019 10:53 AM

Would it be possible to add an option in Cash Flow reports to "insert" Reminders for upcoming expenses into the report? I've tried using the Money Forecast extension to get at this type of information but I'm finding it difficult to extract what I'd like to know from it.

My goal for the insertion would be to show me, whenever I run the report, the free amount of cash I have left for the current month so I can try to remain cash flow positive, taking into consideration monthly income vs planned/expected monthly expenses. For example, If I "know" that I only have $500 left on the books for the month before I start dipping into negative territory, I can then start tightening my spending in order to keep to my financial goals.

Its the one missing report that still has me doing my monthly expenses in parallel with Moneydance in an Excel sheet :(

Thanks,

Tariq

  1. 1 Posted by Kevin Stembridg... on 14 Sep, 2019 09:09 AM

    Kevin Stembridge's Avatar

    Hi Tariq,
    I'm the developer of the Money Foresight extension.
    Could you tell me what sort of trouble you're having extracting the information you want? I'm hoping I can help.

    Regards,
    Kevin

  2. 2 Posted by rahmant on 14 Sep, 2019 03:21 PM

    rahmant's Avatar

    Hello Kevin,

    Thanks for responding.

    I'd been doing my home finances using Excel for many years and then bought
    Moneydance back in 2016 after getting a Mac. Even with all the default
    features that Moneydance provides, I was never able to learn enough about
    the product to replicate a specific type of report/view that I got from
    using Excel. As a result, I've been doing both (using Moneydance and using
    Excel) for a long while now and I'd like to see if I can stop doing things
    in Excel and just focus on using Moneydance, if possible. I just found out
    about the Foresight extension and bought it, but I can't seem to get it to
    the point of visibility that I need for my cash-flow monthly tracking.

    Some background: when I do my home finance tracking/accounting, I typically
    focus on a per-month expense tracking perspective, with the goal of being
    cash-flow positive each month. The basic idea is that "I earn X every
    month but have to shell out Y in expenses for the month as well and I want
    to end the month with some left over for some kind of savings". Whether
    it's $10 or $1000 in savings, doesn't matter to me.

    I'm paid twice a month (around mid-month and end-of-month) but my bills
    come at their own times of the month. As such, I typically have a couple
    of months savings on hand to have enough in my accounts to cover my
    expenses, regardless of when I'm paid. There are times when I run over and
    dip into negative territory for the month, but I then typically tighten my
    belt in the successive months to ensure that my savings build up again.

    With my Excel sheets, I would keep track of:

    A) The start of month balance in my account
    B) The reception of income (on their specific dates during the month)
    C) The payment of my bills (on their specific dates during the month)
    D) Unfixed expenses like food, kids supplies, gas for my car, etc. that
    vary in amount and date of expenditure

    By keeping close track of the income amounts as well as the expenses that
    come in, I'm always able to keep track of the "remainder" amount of cash I
    have available to spend vs my net income for the month (again, with the
    cash-flow positive goal). For example, if I'm earning $2000 in hand for
    the month, I want to make sure that I'm not spending more than $2000 total
    for the month, regardless of the actual amount that's in my account. So
    long as i spend less than I earn, I'm meeting my goal.

    When I installed the Foresight extension, it seems that the addon makes
    exclusive use of the Moneydance Reminders function. In order to use it, I
    set reminders in Moneydance for both the typical dates and amounts for when
    I get paid as well as the typical dates and amounts for fixed monthly
    expenses (cell phone, mortgage, utility bills, etc.). With the Foresight
    addon run against my main bank account and the setup of Reminders, it's
    able to track through items A, B and C in the list above. What I can't
    seem to get included into the Foresight report is item D - the unfixed
    expenses. I can't figure out how to get the Foresight report to tell me,
    "You're expected to earn $2000 this month, it's the 18th of the month,
    you've already spent $1150 (of both planned and unplanned expenses), you
    have $450 in upcoming expenses. This means you have $1600 already
    accounted for in this month - you have $400 left to spend on before dipping
    into negative territory.

    Is there a way to get the Foresight addon to get at that information? If
    so, can you give me some guidance as to how?

    Thanks,

    T.

  3. 3 Posted by simon on 14 Sep, 2019 03:43 PM

    simon's Avatar

    I am with you on this. For example my groceries or fuel may differ week to week so it would be nice to be able these amount into the forecast manually rather than having to make a reminder for it. Quicken use to do a very good job of this with its forecasting.

    I am a user of Money Foresight too.

  4. 4 Posted by Kevin Stembridg... on 14 Sep, 2019 04:22 PM

    Kevin Stembridge's Avatar

    Hi Tariq,
    I think Money Foresight might be of some use with your current approach but I'd like to start by trying to convince you to change to a better approach.

    A lot of people use a monthly budgeting approach because there are a number of transactions that occur on a monthly basis (paycheque, rent, etc). But this approach has some flaws (not all of these apply to you).
    * Not every month is the same length. * The number of transactions that do not occur monthly far outweigh the number that do. I had 244 transactions last month and only a handful of them were monthly. * You can lose sight of large upcoming transactions that occur less often than once a month. * If focussing on end of month balances you can miss dips below negative during the month.

    So I recommend forgetting about monthly forecasting and setting up transaction reminders that represent your actual spending and income as closely as possible. You'll have some reminders that occur yearly, some monthly, some weekly, some every 3 days, etc. Then Money Foresight will show you what your expected balance will be on any given day in the future.

    A word on irregular expenses such as groceries. All you can do here is create a reminder that represents the average of what you spend or want to spend. Something like grocery spending varies a lot from one transaction to the next. But I find that over the course of a month or year my reminder is bang on. Some expenses are more variable than others but you just have to come up with a reasonable average and your forecast will be pretty accurate.

    One thing that can help with the irregular expenses is the Money Foresight Review dialog. It shows you how your past spending compares with what your reminders predicted it would be. If you've taken a guess at an average, this view will show you how close you were. I think the Review dialog is really important because it will let you know whether or not you can trust your forecast.

    I hope this helps. Happy to answer any more questions you may have.

    Regards,
    Kevin

  5. System closed this discussion on 14 Dec, 2019 04:30 PM.

Comments are currently closed for this discussion. You can start a new one.

Keyboard shortcuts

Generic

? Show this help
ESC Blurs the current field

Comment Form

r Focus the comment reply box
^ + ↩ Submit the comment

You can use Command ⌘ instead of Control ^ on Mac