PocketSmith Initiative That Will Help You Recover Financially
Budgeting is difficult, but it’s become even more important in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has led to major economic changes and caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs.
Knowing how much money you have coming in and where you spend it every month can help you get the most value out of each dollar, only spending on the things that you need or that make you happy.
Perhaps the hardest part of budgeting is tracking your spending. Every tool or guide seems to use a different method. PocketSmith is an app that offers actionable advice that can help you manage your finances, plus a tool to track and analyze your spending.
PocketSmith offers a variety of actionable guides that you can use to learn about your spending or to plan for the future. All you have to do to get started is link your bank accounts and import your balances and transaction data.
Future look lets you forecast your financial position at any point in the future. To start, you’ll create a budget and estimate how much you’ll earn and the schedule where you’ll get paid.
Once PocketSmith has that information, it automatically uses the data to create a spending and income calendar, giving you estimates of how much you’ll have in your bank account on any given day. If you want to make the projection more accurate you can add specific, known transactions, such as paychecks or bill payments to the calendar.
You can check the forecast at any time and update it with additional information as needed. If you know you have a big expense coming up in a month, this can help you find out whether you’ll have enough in the bank to cover it. If you won’t, you’ll know it’s time to try to cut your spending or earn a bit more at work.
Getting to Know Your Spending
Getting to Know Your Spending is all about categorizing the places you spend money to get an idea of where all your hard-earned cash goes.
You’ll start by importing your transactions from your bank account and credit cards. Then, you’ll have to go through each transaction to categorize it. PocketSmith can help, but you’ll want to review each transaction to make sure it’s placed in the correct category.
Once you’ve categorized your spending, PocketSmith produces an easy-to-read dashboard, showing your income, expenses, and where you spend your money. Maybe you’ll find that you spend far more than expected on fast food or less than you thought on utility bills.
You can use this dashboard to build your first budget based on your actual spending habits.
Nothing in life is certain. You could win the lottery tomorrow or fall out of a tree, break a bone, and have to make a trip to the hospital. PocketSmith’s What If feature can help you project how different scenarios will impact your finances.
You’ll start by adding your typical income and expenses to the calendar. Then, create your scenario. For example, how does it affect you if you take on a $1,000 credit card debt to pay an unexpected medical bill? What can you do with a $5,000 windfall?
You can create multiple scenarios at once to test different situations or view them independently.
Who Can Benefit?
Almost anyone can benefit from PocketSmith. Budgeting is an essential part of managing your money and whether you use the PocketSmith app or web portal, the program can help you build and follow a budget.
The people who will get the most benefit from PocketSmith are people who don’t already have a budget or who don’t use financial software to help them track their money.
Why Budgeting is Important
PocketSmith is essentially a budgeting app with extra forecasting and other features thrown in. It’s still worth using for many people because budgeting is so important.
One of the easiest ways for people to fall behind on their finances is to spend more money than they make. Credit cards make it easy to spend more than you have and even debit cards make it easy to overspend because you can’t physically see the cash leaving your wallet.
With a budget, your income is the first thing that you look at. All of your expenses have to be based on your income, making sure that you spend less than you make.
Budgeting also forces you to consider whether spending money benefits you or makes you happy. You can spend $10 on lunch every day at work, but do you really enjoy going out to eat every day? Is there another place you can spend $50 a week that is more useful to you?
Budgeting also makes it much easier to save and build an emergency fund. If you know that you make $4,000 per month and that you want to set aside $200 each month for savings, you can base your budget on an income of $3,800. Set up an automatic saving plan for the first $200 of your monthly income so you never feel the temptation to spend it.
Is It Worth It?
PocketSmith offers three subscription levels.
The basic subscription is free but only lets you import two accounts and set up twelve spending categories.
Costs $9.95 per month or $89.95 per year and bumps your limits to ten accounts and unlimited budget categories. It also lets you automatically import your bank balances and transactions rather than doing so manually. Forecasts can go up to ten years into the future.
Costs $19.95 per month or $169.95 annually and removes limits on accounts and budget categories. It also lets forecasts go up to thirty years into the future.
Currently, there is a promotion offering 50% off your first two months with PocketSmith when you use the code 50OFFPREMIUM-F4RG.
If you don’t have many financial accounts, the free version of PocketSmith is worth trying. Beyond that, you’re paying a monthly fee for the forecasting features PocketSmith offers. There are many free competitors that can do transaction tracking and budgeting, so it’s up to you whether the forecasting tools are worth the cost.
There are many budgeting apps that you can use to help manage your money. If you’re not sure PocketSmith is the right app for you, you may want to consider one of the following.
Personal Capital is a money-tracking tool aimed at people with a reasonable sum of money to their name. While the site has some free budgeting and money tracking tools, one of its hallmarks is its investment tracking tool.
The site offers powerful net worth tracking functions and investment analyzers to make sure your asset allocation reflects your investing goals and risk tolerance. The retirement analyzer can also help you get on track to reach your retirement goals.
Mint is one of the best-known budgeting tools out there automatically importing your bank and transaction data to help you track your spending.
Beyond helping with tracking your spending, Mint can help you pay attention to your bills and keep an eye on your credit score. It also has a goal feature that you can use to track your progress toward specific saving goals.
While Mint might not do any one thing better than the competition, it can do a lot of different things quite well, making it a good all-purpose tool. Best of all, it’s free to use.
CountAbout is another money-tracking app that helps you keep an eye on your finances. The app focuses heavily on reporting, making it great for people who love hard numbers and data. You can run reports for account balances, specific types of transactions, or custom tags you set for specific accounts or stores.
CountAbout’s reporting is very customizable but costs a minimum of $9.99 per year, so it’s up to you if that flexibility is worth the cost.
PocketSmith is a powerful financial tool that you can use for more than tracking your budgeting and spending. Its forecasting tools can help you prepare for the future and see how even small changes to your financial habits could help or hurt your progress toward your goals.