Budget improvements: feedback & ideas

Hey Test Pilots,

22seven is on a mission to give you a financial companion that makes managing your money easy. One of the first steps in that process is making the Budget screen work better for you.

It's no secret that managing your spend can be hard. Keeping track of what you've spent can be overwhelming. So we did some brainstorming here at 22seven HQ and invited some customers round for a chat to find out how we can make this process simpler.

We've been playing around with some new designs for the Budget screen since then and we'd love to hear your thoughts on them.

Remember that:

  • These ideas are very basic and lack the styling bells and whistles the final version will have
  • We want to focus on the functionality and content
  • The concept won't be implemented as is and won't reflect the final outcome

Please comment with your thoughts and questions, or general budget ideas you really think we should touch on.

Budget overview:

 

Category detail view:

Editing tracked categories:

Income view:

Spending view:

'Left to spend' view:

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Comments

74 comments
  • Hi There,

    I love the app and have recruited many friends who now love it too! The one thing we have found to be lacking on the budget side of the app is the limitation of having to specify an amount for one month. We have found that many budget items are actually thought of over the year (or more) and not per month.

    e.g. We all budget for car maintenance/services on a yearly basis (e.g. R5000 per year) and can not capture this on the app. We could divide it by 12 (and enter R420 as a monthly budget) but when we send our car for a service in August, the app shows that we have vastly overspent. If we just capture R5000 as the budgeted amount then the app would not warn us if we ended up spending R5000 every month that year.

    This feature would be useful for so many "non-monthly" expenses:

    - Holidays, Clothes, Vehicle Expenses, Schooling, Stationary, Home Maintenance (to name a few).

    I have thought about it quite a bit and feel that the easiest way to implement it would be by the addition of a "overflowing" flag that can be set on a budgeted item. I could then take my "Exception - Vehicle Expense" and set the budget at R5000 (but mark it as an "overflowing" budget). When selecting the "overflowing" flag I would then have to also capture a "start month" and the "total months". (The "start month" could be defaulted to January and the "total months" could be defaulted to 12).

    The behavior would be as follows:

    - Budget periods would be calculated by taking the time-frame between the "start month" and the end month (found using the "total months").
    - Expenses for that category would be totaled and grouped by each consecutive period.
    - This would be shown just as a normal monthly budget item but would need a small extra description indicating which time-frame is currently being totaled.
    - The budget would "roll-over" (and start again) when the "total months" had been passed (since the "start month").

    e.g. I would then be able look at "Exception - Vehicle Expense" and see that R1000 has been spent out of the budgeted R5000. And that this applies to the period of Jan '18 - Dec '18.

    I hope that makes sense. I really think it could be so helpful.

    Thanks. Once again - Love the app!

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  • Looks amazing. Can't wait for this to become live.
    It would also be cool being able to see a three month average of income earned versus expenditure. My income and expenses vary greatly from month to month so it would be great to see if I'm heading towards rags or riches.

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  • Definitely some good improvements! I especially like the budget overview screens, which will be helpful to see where I am at any stage in the month.

    One other feature that would be useful to me would be to somehow split the budget items into discretionary and non-discretionary spend. For example, rent is one of my highest spend items but it only comes off once a month and it's essentially the same every month - non-discretionary spend. I don't need to see this near the top of any lists. Groceries, on the other hand, have a set budget amount but how and when I spend is obviously discretionary and I would like to see this at the top of my list so that I can manage my spend every month.

    Discretionary items at the top, non-discretionary further down. 

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  • Spending view will allow me to track how much I've spent on my expenses so i can track easier the following month for the previous month. Mix this with the "left to spend" view and I know exactly how much I've got left to spend without being careless and overspending. These will be my favourite features if introduced.

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  • I love the "tracked categories", the use of a circle to measure makes it so easy to understand, the 'left to spend feature' is not my favorite it feels too cluttered make it more simple. 

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  • Looks awesome!!! Love the fact that it tracks spend, and can warn you if you spent to much. 

     

    Great work!!

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  • A linguistic comment... I think "left of budget" would be a healthier way of expressing this, rather than saying that the money is "to spend". In light of the country's poor saving culture it is best not to assume the unspent is for spending.

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  • Really like what you guys are doing - I recommend you to everyone! Keep it up. Like the tracking feature that helps me see what I have left.

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  • Will tracked categories mean we lose detailed views of other categories? Please don't! I budget everything, and use 22seven as a measure of when I must stop or slow down spending in ANY category.

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  • The overall view of income vs. expenditure is very helpful as well the"left to spend" view. The category that I think may need to be added is Annual expenditure - i.e. those items that are paid for regularly once a year e.g. Vehicle licensing disc, post office fee, vehicle servicing etc and then have an annual view that can be used especially at the tax year end for consolidation of expenditure that can summarise it all with the regular monthly expenditure.

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  • In the first screenshot, we've got Income vs Expenses and Budget vs Expenses, which are not quite comparing the same things.

     

    The first compares a Incoming budget vs an Outgoing budget, while the second compares a budget to an actual. So, it's a bit confusing to use the same visualisation for both, on the same screen. It would make sense if the second bar in each pair was always a tracking of actual against a budget.

     

    Income vs Expense is obviously a crucial visual, but just not in the same context as this other graph.

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  • Really looking forward to this it looks really exciting, good job! If you don't mind my 2cents, here they are in order of page appearance.

    On Budget overview:
    'Expenses so far this month' and 'Spent on you budget' is the same, maybe combine these two blocks.
    The pie charts in 'Your tracked categories' are nice, but uses too much real estate. Smaller icons would ensure a better fit while keeping ergonomics and creates an opportunity to have more than 5 tracked categories in the future.

    Category detail overview:
    The bar chart would be more of value if a scale is present on the y-axis

    Editing tracked categories:
    Why only five? :P Only one per Recurring, Day-to-day etc.?

    Income overview:
    IMOH this might be an overkill if most of us only have 1 or 2 sources of income? Perhaps it could get more complex, then this would make sense.

    Spending view & Left to spend view
    Combine these two pages i.e. {Recurring - R4000 left / R6000 spent / R10000}
    Technically the Groceries example should show that only R500 is overspent, but R3500 spent of R3000, not R3500 overspent.

    Keep up the good work and support that you are continuously delivering! We really do appreciate it!

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  • Love the look and detailed spending alerts...maybe also have an option to actually set the amount to recieve the first notification.EG if limit is R500 is it possible to recieve one 17 maybe 250 and another at 0?)

    Is it possible maybe to also keep track of cash withdrawals, a bit of a drag if you don't know which category to add them.

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  • Really like the highlight on specific tracked categories (airtime (data) is a big one!) 

    Also love the left to spend option and that overspends are now in red.

    - Budgeting for future months would be a good option, if I know my car licence is due for renewal etc. then those exceptions can be budgeted for. 

    - Not having all subcategories listed under "Day to Day" or "Exceptions" is also a nice change, what was used for a singe month may not be in the next but it still sits there with a 0

    - Anual tracking of a budget would also be nice. eg Home & Garden

    - Somehow tracking time left on the day to day budget would be useful for knowing how long that money has to last. 

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  • Please add the ability to delete/hide budget lines (eg: If you reduce a budget to R0 it shouldn't display on the list).

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  • I really like the Left to spend page. I prefer the bars for spending on the individual items in the budget such as on rent etc.

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  • A) One thing I would like when budgeting is to see how much I have spent on average over:
    - 3 months
    - 6 months
    - 12 months
    for the category, I am on. Then to make those figures buttons, which the user can just click, to set that category budget to the specific average spent (3, 6, 12 months).
    B) I would also like to "transfer" money from one budget category to another. As the month goes on and one section has R500 left and another needs R200, you could just drag the category with R500 onto the one with -R200, it could then ask "Are you sure you want to move R200 budget from X to Y.
    C) I would also like to see budgets being carried over from one month to the next if not used. Might be a different name though... budget left from previous months... or something?

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    1. I mainly use the web version (more space to see more information at once) so would be keen to see the web screen version
    2. Love, love, love the summary overview that gives you a view of income vs expense at a glance (income vs expenses was a key missing feature for me)
    3. Would prefer having the uncategorised button at the very bottom of the screen (across the board) and much smaller - more as an FYI rather something key to draw your attention to, as I deal with that on the transactions and not budget screen
    4. The wheels at the bottom with a per preferred tracking category is great
    5. Think the per category detail view looks pretty much the same to me at first glance
    6. Editing tracked categories looks simple enough to use
    7. Love the fields that shows you what is left of income and budget
    8. Not sure I'd use the left to spend detail view on the budget screen at all - I'd mainly look at the spent so far per category and only the overall left to spend total
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  • I really like the feature that tells me what's left over in the budget overview section, and the comparison screen with income and how much has been spent so far so you know what's left over. 

    A feature that would be nice is the ability to change the beginning and end of the current month without affecting the past months' dates or transactions. Payday changes for me as well.

    It would be nice if I can compare the past month and current month. Just an overview without having to go back and only see last month. 

    Someone suggested the ability to accumulate the budget amount if you don't spend the money (e.g clothing). I agree that would be nice as something like clothes you don't buy every single month and if you do overspend it would be nice minus that money from your next month's  budget so you can see where you need to cut back on.

    I also liked the idea of a countdown on how many days leftover for the month or the ability to say how much per day you have left over say you can spend R50 a day on groceries for you to not overspend 

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  • Hi 

    I like the "left of income" and "left of budget" options very much. Should prove to be a very useful new feature.

     

    The tracking feature also intrigues me and I would like to play with live data on that one to see how she works in the real world usage.

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  • Its looking great. it will make things much easier

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  • I like the clean look.  Screens are not so busy (overcrowded) with info.  Easy on the eye, quick glance on your budget.  Love it!

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  • I like it, especially the left to spend tracker.  

    Could a similar tracker also be done for achieving saving goals?  For example couldI set a goal to save R20k.  It could then show me that even though  so far I have managed to save R8k it could also state "only R12k to go"  For some strange reason I find it more encouraging to know how much I still have to go, as opposed to how much I've already saved.  :)

     

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  • Hi

    Would there be any way to reflect cash purchases (enter values manually as an income)?

    Some of my earnings I get in hard cash we I use to pay normal budgeted monthly expenses?

    Regards

    The Legend

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  • Hi

    Would there be a way to link the new goals function to budget, so for eg. you save per month in your budget for a holiday, and it offsets against the goal, so you can track how you are doing budget vs actual within the time frame you have allowed?

     

    Kind regards
    The Legend 

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  • I think it is pretty good for those who use the budget facility.  I would like to easily see a history of 6 months ( for example) of the various categories in graph form - pretty much like I can see at the moment. 

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  • Budget Feedback: I'd like to differentiate between an annual, quarterly or monthly expense. I find that if I have an expense that is quite large which occurs in one month I'm over budget for the whole month, even if I've saved for it over a period of time.
    This would also fit in nicely with the savings for goals concept, where a person can save for a large upcoming expense. I also note that the savings for goals options didn't cater for savings periods of say 12 months and only offered savings options that performed well over medium to long term periods.

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  • Looks like everything has been said already =P. Just to give my 5c worth;

    The 'what is left' additions are very welcome. 

    On the budget overview, the income vs expenses & expenses vs budget are a bit confusing. It didn't distinguish at a glance. Can they be squished in, or does that become worst? The options are nice to have, but not if I keep on looking at the wrong one... 

    I use the overviews mostly, but I do often go into the categories in detail. Although the tracking option would help to highlight the categories I mostly look at, it does feel a tad limiting. 

    The ideas bouncing around for budgets that stretch longer than a month would be nice (annual subscriptions etc). I know the goals function that is being piloted sort of fits the bill here, but then again this is less of a desired outcome, and more of a requirement. 

    The projected spending will not really be missed, I know it takes a while to stabilize, but it never really does (partially my fault =D). 

    Then since there are more stuff to highlight. I don't quite find the investments category useful at all (or I'm just using it incorrectly). This is not to say that I do not save / invest. But that inevitably when money goes out of one account meant for this category, it goes into another. The investment category only really works for something like buying shares, because the money actually leaves my accounts. But for short term saving (which I would also like to track), or for repaying debts, the money eventually goes into the account also tracked by my account, and I am forced to make use of the transfers option to accurately reflect this. 

    The boxed in categories are nice, but I miss the visual representation. It might make the options a bit complex to give us the option to customize, but I would miss seeing it. 

    But awesome app. Makes my life a lot easier... 

     

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  • Hey there, Svens

    The mockup look great. I can see that many of them will improve my experience with the application. The graphical representation will speed up my daily quick-scan of my budget status.

    Keep up the innovation.

    David

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  • Finally getting rid of that "speed o merer" occupying 3/4 of the screen!)))

    I voted up some of the comments like "annual budget/planning few month ahead"

    I'd love to see this feature:

    Labeling the transactions as "undesirable", "unhealthy", "unnecessary" etc.
    I want the summary of all my impulse shopping/extra coffes/KFC meals and other undesired things, shown on the main screen separately. 
    Just putting them under exceptions with some notes or under own category is inefficient, as it normally gets lost amongst the other exceptional yet justified things. No, I want this total Rand value to stare at me from the main screen in bold red font with an "unhappy" red face next to it, reminding me how much money I could have actually saved. So, I think the easiest way is to add a "Potential saving" check box on the "Edit transaction" screen or something like this...

     

    And one more thing guys

    This auto budgeting based on the previous 3-month expenditures... I truly hate it! :) If I spent 3000 on car service in Jan, and put it under exceptional vehicle expenses, 22seven will auto budget additional expenditure for Feb, Mar and Apr... No, no, no. I decide. I know I won't have any expenditures under this category for the next 6-12 month. And even if I will have, I will adjust the budget. Myself. Please give me at least an option to disable this feature, as I'm tired to set the budget to 0 for the categories with a one-off transactions... 

    Otherwise, truly enjoy the app! Thanks! 

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