Moneydance provides two ways to do budgeting. Money Foresight offers a third option.
Money Foresight started out with just the forecasting functionality. The Reminder Review feature was added as a way to verify the accuracy of the forecast. If your reminders aren’t in line with your actual spending then you can’t trust the forecast. So the review functionality was intended to show where reminders needed to be adjusted.
However, this feature does an equally good job of showing where your spending needs to be adjusted. And that’s essentially the purpose of a budget. It shows you where your spending needs to be adjusted to keep you on track so the review functionality performs the same function as a budget.
Money Foresight uses your configured Transaction Reminders to generate a forecast or review. Transaction Reminders are similar to budget items that you would set up in a Moneydance budget. They both indicate an amount, a category and a frequency. But that’s about as far as a budget item can take you. Transaction Reminders can take you further.
- They allow you to specify which account the transaction is associated with. This makes it possible to forecast account balances.
- They have a more flexible scheduling feature. For example, maybe you buy groceries every 4 days.
- They can be displayed on a calendar or list on the summary page to see the exact day the transaction will take place.
- They can be entered automatically into the account register at the right time.
Expense and income categories can be arranged in a tree structure. The Reminder Review displays them in this same structure and aggregates totals at each level. This is useful if you don’t care too much about where money is being spent in a given sub-tree as long as you don’t exceed a total.
For example, you may have a Food category with subcategories of Dining Out and Groceries. If you go out to eat more often, you’ll spend less on groceries. You may be over budget on one and under budget on the other but as long as they balance out it makes no difference.
With the mixed interval budget, if you have a budget item that occurs less frequently than the budget period you are viewing, you can choose to treat it as a prorated amount.
Let’s say you have an annual expense but you want to view ‘this month’s’ budget. If this month happens to be the month that the annual expense occurs then it’s going to look like you are way overspending this month. Unless you specify the budget item as prorated. But then for 11 months of the year it will look like you’re underspending a little.
A Transaction Reminder knows exactly which day of the year the expense occurs so it doesn’t suffer from that problem.