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
  • Yes! Great new look. One thing I would really find useful is a feature to reflect that sometimes you're purchasing something on behalf of someone else (e.g. since I'm going to get groceries, a housemate asks if I can buy something for them) and will be reimbursed by that person. Say I spend R500 on groceries (using my bank card) but R50 of that is on things for someone else. So 22seven shows that I've spent R500 on groceries. But that person reimburses me the R50 (either an EFT or cash) for their stuff, so actually I've only spent R450. I know I could put that R50 down as income under the groceries category in 22seven, but the app still thinks I've spent R500 on groceries. Is there any way I could edit the grocery expenditure itself to reflect that R50 should be ignored as spending?

  • It's great that you are constantly innovating. It's looking awesome. I do think that allowing only 5 categories to be tracked is a bit limiting, unless I'm misunderstanding the feature.

    Another fundamental feature that would enhance 22seven is that your budget should be able to accumulate over time i.e. if you only spent R500 on clothes this month, but your budget is R1000, then you should (optionally via a setting) accumulate the extra R500 to the next month i.e. R1500 for the next month.

    Thanks!

     

  • 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!

  • It looks very clean and friendly. Will it allow for unlimited budget items? Can one create subcategories of a budget item? Eg House\maintenance    House\rates    House\improvements etc. Usually very helpful to break a larger category item down into subsets but also be able to look at the parent categories as a summary of expenses.

  • I really like the idea of a push notification when I've spent my allocated budget in a category. Sometimes when life gets busy and I don't check the app for a couple of days I tend to spend in hoping I have it budgeted for. 

  • @Ariella

    Hi!

    It sounds like our transaction splitting feature would work well for you here. All you'd need to do is click on the R500 grocery transaction, select 'Split,' then split it into two parts of R450 and R50.

    You can leave the R450 categorised in your spending group of choice, but you'll want to categorise the R50 split into the 'Transfer' spending group. This will ensure it doesn't count towards your expenditure at all. Once your housemate refunds the R50 to you, you can categorise that transaction into the Transfer spending group too.

    As a result of this, the R50 expenditure split and the R50 income split will effectively cancel each other out, as neither will reflect on your budget and affect your totals :)

    Shout if you have any other questions. 

  • A major reason why I don't really use this app for general use is that I can't assign income (or general transactions) to a particular budget month. We have dual income coming into one account and sometimes payment is made early- but the app doesn't cater for that, it just has a fixed payday date, which makes the budgeting facility unusable.

  • Love the new look. Money left to spend great feature. 

     

    Really cool app guys. 

  • The new design looks great! Under the Category detail view where it's showing ATM and cash, I would like to see the actual spent rand value displayed either in or above the blue bar graphs for each of the months.

    I would also like more fine control over the transactions such as:

    1. Ability to completely delete or hide a transaction, not just forced to label it as a "transfer"

    2. Ability to modify the date of a transaction. Purchases made on credit cards do not reflect the true date as it's always listed a few days later by our banks and some people may want to change the date of a debit order from the last day of the month to the 1st of the following month.

    3. Ability to change the value of a transaction. E.g. if a portion of a purchase was reimbursed as cash.

    4. Ability to add manual transactions for such transactions that occurred in cash like a haircut or donation.

  • These look awesome!
    Way more insightful at a quick glance.

    This is a superb app, glad to see it constantly being improved!

  • Really like the summary page showing actual income/spending vs. budgeted spending. 

    Given that most people do most of their spending in the beginning of the month (debit orders et al.), and then the budgeting really starts. A countdown on the budget page (something saying 8 days left of the month) would be something I would find useful (and perhaps others) when I'm tempted to overspend. If I'm reminded it's only x days, I'm more likely to remind myself that I can wait until the next month. 

  • I really like the tracked categories as there are generally only a few line items in my budget that are variable and I would like to see them at a glance. 

    The spending and left-to-spend views are also great. 

    Please consider the following:

    - allow us to plan our budget for future months (i.e. before the month actually starts)

    - I have challenges where there are transaction reversals on my accounts. I can't post  reversals of an expense to the expense line (as a negative) as the only options available for credit transactions are income or transfers. While I can post offsetting transactions to transfers, this doesn't always solve the problem and your AI will then allocate future transactions with the same description to transfers. Allowing allocations to day-to-day and recurring would mean credits to go to the expense line. This would also allow us to allocate, for example, fuel cashback to the fuel expense line. 

    Thanks for a great app and for getting our input!

  • Looks crisp and clean.

    Big fan of the 'Left to spend' feature! This will definitely help manage financial decision making in future. 

    Keep it up, guys! This App is great!

  • Great new features!!!! Love them. Suggestion: Could you guys look into an additional feature to the over spend side of things... I like that's its highlighted but maybe a prompt to redistribute ("re-budget") what's left so your budget still stays on course...

  • I use my credit card for most of my expenses. It would be great of I could mark those transactions so that I can see an actual cash flow for the current month. In the next month it would be great if we could then put a credit card payment transaction to reflect the cash flow for the current month again.

  • I love the new look.

     

    One thing that I normally do is scroll back in time (say April 2017) in the "Category detail view", and then click "view transactions" I am still at the most recent transaction (May 2018) instead of the month (April 2017) I have scrolled back to. It would be awesome if the "view transactions" took you back to the month you scrolled back to (April 2017) in the bar graph view.

     

    I would also like it, if each bar graph had a label, showing that months spend. It is hard to guage the amount spent from only the average amount line.

  • Love the new look!

    On the budget overview would like to see it in the below order

    income
    budget
    Expenses
    spent of budget

  • Looks lean & mean! Well done guys :)

  • This is definitely a step in the right direction!

    It's not super easy for me to see what the functionality of these screens is without them being interactive or linked together, but this linear approach to comparing income and expenses makes much more sense than the "spend o meter" which is a pretty but largely meaningless graph to me. "projected spending" has also always been confusing as it seems to just be an arbitrarily large number I can't control.

    I've been exporting numbers out to an Excel spreadsheet so that I can actually track categories over time - this has two forms:

    1) spending categories such as "Clothing and Shoes" where I don't spend any money some months, and then loads every few months. Having a monthly budget for this doesn't make much sense so I track it annually/quarterly instead

    2) Monitoring categories - eg "Eating Out" or worse, my own category "Lunch" - and trying to spend less each month. 

    This looks like both of these may get easier?

    In response to the earlier comment about shared expenses - when you are being paid back for some part of an expense - I too use the split workaround described, but the UI for splitting a transaction is slow and painful. If you could address that also I'd have a much better view of my household spending.

    Restricting to only 5 tracked categories seems like a step backwards. I like the idea of focusing on only a few, but I hope there will be a click-through to see all of them as we currently have - and even better if it's easy to compare months!

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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 

  • 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! 

  • I like the firs view with the little pie charts, showing how much spent and balance for the month.

    I have scrolled thought the other comments, and agree with a lot of the suggestions here!

    I still don't use the 227 app exclusively (still use excel) because of all the little tweeks that I can't make as per the above suggestions from other users.

    One more thing, my wife doesn't work, so its just my income and we share a credit card for spending. Is it possible for her to login under the same user account i'm using on her phone/pc to see the budget? (Since she spends more than i do ! lol)

    IE one account with 2 users?

     

  • I would like budget, income and expenses to be shown simultaneously somewhere. It seems its only two of the three paired for any one of the screens.

    I also struggle with the "annual expenses" such as memberships, car services etc.If you take it into account in the monthly budget (ie spread the cost) then you need to collect/save the portion required so the cost is covered in the month it is due. Hoping I'm not alone in spending my entire paycheck each month. Covering bond and all costs but no spare pennies for the goals...which is a different topic but I'm going to mention that here.

    The concept of goals is very sound. BUT you have only given "investment" options, as far as I can see. What about "reduce your overdraft" - where is tracks your balance on a consistent day (eg immediately after you are paid) so you have a frame of reference.

  • Awesome! Not knowing how to reflect that sort of mixed expenditure was really muddling up my budget, so thank you for the super quick response and how-to!

  • Great app that is looking even better . The subcategory idea would be really useful as well as splitting an amount mentioned in earlier posts. Like the notion of literally going into the "red" in the overspend category.

    BTW, the "nudges" have been quite inspiring but now having used the app for a while, they tend to repeat and for someone who is not a financial wizz would be great if they freshened up more regularly ... but that is less directly related to this topic. 

  • Question: If the amount being budgeted differs from month to month - must one change this each month or can you apply this to the necessary months in advance.  (i.e.) Rental budget 4 weeks per month versus 5 weeks per month.  

    My Salary also often reflects as Transfers and not income - how can I amend this to always reflect as Income ?

     

     

  • Can the transactions on different Cards be linked to different Budgets? I have extra Credit Card that my brother uses and I don't want his transactions to be linked to my budget.  I want only my Credit Card and Bank Account transactions to be linked to my budget.

    Thanx for the efforts.

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