Can account balances reflect "pending" recurring expenses?

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I'm having trouble finding a good approach to using recurring transactions with my scheduled billpay & autopay transactions. Can I get some thoughts? (FYI: I've got a *Plus* acct.)

Here's an arbitrary, made-up example:

1) Today is 04/06. I receive a bill notification from BigBadPhoneCo (recurring biller) saying a bill is due on 4/15. It's pretty much a fixed amount each month.

2) I establish a future payment in my billpay account (separate from EEBA) to occur on due date of 4/15. Today's date is still 4/6.

3) I pause and wonder how I should use EEBA to help. Even though the transaction hasn't gone through as of 4/6 (today), I've "paid" my bill today. I need to make sure I've got the money in my billpay account when it does post on 4/15 (due date).

Problem:
a) If I enter the transaction in EEBA as recurring on the 15th of each month, it doesn't appear in my transactions on EEBA until later, so my account balance doesn't change. My account balance doesn't reflect "pending" transactions.

b) If I enter the transaction in EEBA as a "normal" transaction (e.g., manually, non-recurrent), the account balance does change. In other words, the difference between cleared and non-cleared balances. BUT, I lose the efficiency of recurring transactions.

Is there a way to "see" pending transactions? Can I flag recurring transactions as being paid so that I can make sure I'm accounting for them?

Thanks for any help. Let me know if any of this doesn't make sense.
-robert
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lingo

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  • confused

Posted 8 years ago

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jwong, Employee

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Hi Robert, thanks for the idea. I can see how this could be useful and I've added it to our tracker.
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Chi-En Yu, Official Rep

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Official Response
On EEBA's website, you're now able to set up recurring transactions and record them as already paid. For each recurring transaction, under Scheduled...edit, at the bottom you will see the next pending transaction. You can either "Record Now" or leave it pending to automatically post on the scheduled date. If you "Record Now," it will show as recorded today, and you can also edit the transaction and choose a future date to coincide with your BillPay. This is available to users like you on Plus or Premium plans.
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Maria

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This is great, except I would like to see the "record now" date be the scheduled date, not the current date.

I know that I can edit the date after I record it, but it would be easier to just have the option to change the date when you hit "record now". I think it should default to the scheduled date.
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Audrey Chau

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Hi Maria, thanks for the suggestion. The option to edit the date field could create a more streamline process for users like you, and I've added your comment to our Feature Request Tracker.
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Jon Morgan

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While I can see that Chi-En Yu's workaround works, it would really nice if the future transactions could reduce the envelope balance, but not the account balance. This would reflect what money I have left to spend during the month (envelope) but not get in the way while importing transactions / doing reconciliation (account) - is there anything like this on the ideas tracker?
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon,

From what I can see, there isn't anything quite like you're suggesting in our features tracker. I've added what you've suggested.

For now, you can track what your future Envelope and Account balance will look like once your scheduled transaction posts by viewing the individual Envelope or Account transaction history on the website. But, those balances won't take affect until the transaction officially posts on the day you specify.

Thanks again!
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Jon Morgan

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Hi Karisa, just going back through posts on the forum and wondered what happened to this one.  Please is it possible to post a link to where you logged it on the features tracker? Many thanks :)
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon, 

Thanks for checking! At this time, we're not working on this enhancement.

Our features tracker is our internal board that we use for tracking requests that have been made - some of which come from GetSat. You can add your vote for any request by clicking the 'Me Too' link at the top of the thread. And, you can see what we're actively working on by checking out our Roadmap

Hope that helps!
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Jon Morgan

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Would this thread count as an idea though given that it was a question originally? I think this is a really important and fundamental idea, given that the idea of budgeting is knowing how much is already spent or allocated and bring clear on what is left each month. I'm amazed it hasn't had more visibility... Please would you consider adding this to the roadmap?
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon, 

You're right that this thread does count as an idea on our tracker even though it was originally posted as a question. 

I agree knowing what's left to spend is a super important concept in budgeting - particularly envelope budgeting.

Right now, your Envelope's current balances do reflect what's left of what you've allocated, and you can see what will be left (after any scheds have posted) by drilling down into the Envelope itself and looking at the running balance. That's true of the Accounts as well. 

Unfortunately, we're not working on changing how scheduled transactions affect current balances at this time. But, we'll update you all if this does make the Roadmap.

Thanks again
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Jon Morgan

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Hi Larisa, now that the wonderful debt feature is implemented, please would this be considered as something to work on next? I feel that the ability to see at a glance which envelopes already have commitments is pretty essential to not going over your envelope budget.
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon, 

Thanks for posting. You're proposing implementing the ability for Goodbudget to have scheduled transactions immediately affect the balance of your Envelope, but not your Account.

Right now, Envelopes and Accounts in Goodbudget have to have the same amount of money in them. For example, if you have 1000 in your Account(s), than you have 1000 available between all of the Envelopes you're tracking (including Unallocated). By adjusting the balance of an Envelope and not the Account, there'd be a mismatch -- your Envelopes would have less than your Accounts. We're not working on changing how that works right now. 

I understand you'd like to have the ability to glance at an Envelope and see what you have available (minus scheduled transactions). For now, I think the best workaround would be to post your scheduled now, but with the future date applied. When you do that, both your Envelope and Account balance will be affected, but you'd still be able to reconcile your Account and import transactions. 

Hope this makes sense! 

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Tiffany Kucifer

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If this were ever to gain traction, I hope it would be a user-defined and envelope-specific function, i.e. able to be toggled off.  Having future spending reflected early would negate the point of having an "as of today" line at all, as any envelope consisting of fixed, regular expenses would look empty from the outset. I can see how this might be helpful to some but there are many, many instances where it would be a detriment.
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Jon Morgan

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Thanks for your responses Karisa and Tiffany :)  

I've been thinking this one through a bit more and I think I'm still convinced that it's a good idea and I will try and elaborate my thoughts... 

Tiffany, I really like the idea of an on/off toggle to be able to see the current and future positions separately - I don't think this would be too confusing if implemented clearly. 

I'm really intrigued to understand in which instances you think it would be a detriment?  My understanding of the envelope system is that you allocate the money and try to only spend within the limits you set out for yourself.  If you've got a scheduled expense (I'm not only thinking direct debits and standing orders, but also something like "I know I'm going to have to buy my significant other a present later this month and I'm going to spend £100 this time") then by including these in the balance calculation, I can truly decide whether I can afford that extra take-away this month, or whether I'm going to be eating into my present budget (pun intended)!!

Karisa - thinking it through, this toggle probably should work in the exact same way with Accounts as with Envelopes - we'd get to see whether an account is forecast to go overdrawn during the period which could be worth its weight, especially on an account without a formal overdraft function!! From what I can see, it shouldn't actually break any existing logic either. All you'd need to change is toggling the pending transactions in/out of the envelope/account sum calculation. Pending transactions are already excluded from account reconciliation so you'd not have to change anything there and we'd have the benefit of not having to manually ignore any future transactions that have been added to decrease the balance.

As for envelopes that "would look empty from the outset" Tiffany, to be honest I have specific envelopes set up for these, with scheduled transactions in them, starting with "bills:" so I can minimise them. They basically only serve one purpose, to help me allocate sufficient money to cover my dd/so and to categorise my spending when I download and analyse the data in Excel/PowerBI) so it really doesn't bother me whether they'd show zero or full. What would worry me is if I spotted them forecasting to go into negative, it would flag I messed up some allocations somewhere and I'd have to go back and fix it.

Ok - gone off on one there, but I kind of think this could be super useful so perhaps worth banging on about it a bit? :)

Anyway, I really would love to hear any counter-arguments.
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon, 

Thanks for elaborating a bit more! Adding an optional toggle to both the Envelopes and Accounts is interesting, and I think you're proposing that these toggles operate independently of one another. Meaning, I could turn the toggle on for my Envelopes, but not for my Accounts (in this case, a mismatch happens). Or, I can toggle them both on so my Envelopes and Accounts reflect my pending transactions.

However, in the later example, it sounds like you'd get the same end result by posting a pending transaction early with a future date, i.e. the Envelope and Account balance would reflect those pending transactions. So, that could be a work-around for folks that want to pendings reflected in their balances. 

For now, I've updated the request to include information about having an optional and independent toggle for both the Envelopes and Accounts.

Thanks again,
Karisa
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Jon Morgan

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I think I argued myself round to them not operating separately, the toggle would just include pending transactions without having to post them early :) much simpler :)
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon,

Thanks for that, and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts. However, we've decided we're not going to work on this feature. The ability to see what you have left to spend after your pendings post is something you can already see in Goodbudget. You can post your pendings early, but keep them future dated, or you can check your Envelope running balances.

Thanks again
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sweetlouison

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The problem is when you post your transactions early, you have to manually find the transaction and change the date.   If the transactions are posted too early, then they won't show up when you import the transactions to "clear" them.

For example, we get paid every other week.   For ease, I have all of our bills broken up to be paid half with the first paycheck, the other half with the second paycheck.    Sometimes, the second pay check is as early as the 15th of the month.   So on that fill, I will be paying for things in the first half of the next month.   If the recurring payment is on the 10th of the following month, and I post it on the 15 of this month sometimes it will not show up in the import.  

If I wait to post it until the bill is due, it looks like I have much more in my envelope than I do, because it is getting paid so far in advance.  

For now, I guess I will just keep hunting down the transactions and changing the date.   
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi sweetlouison - Thanks for letting us know why this is important for you. I've added your feedback to our tracker, but we're not moving forward with this at this time. Thanks again