Rolling budgets - Feedback

I assumed that rolling budgets would enable me to set some categories (such as Holidays) with an annual budget, and others (such as Groceries) with a monthly budget. If I spend my whole holiday budget for the year in January, I obviously don’t want it to appear as being over budget for the whole year until it finally ‘catches up’.

It’s hugely disappointing, I had been waiting for the is feature for so long and now it looks like it is basically useless for the way I manage my budget.

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Hey @badger,

hope you are well and thanks for the feedback! :slight_smile:

Rolling budgets by definition roll over, so if you set £50 in April for Groceries and spend £25, the next month budget would be £75. This, of course, can be adjusted month to month.

I think what you are looking for is a different feature? Like a way to budget yearly.

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I feel the exact same way and came to express my grief. Although the rolling budget implementation is per its namesake I can’t help but feel it is not that useful. Say i underspent in the takeout category one month, for the sake of being a savvy consumer i shouldnt overspend the next month to ‘compensate’. A budget, annual or a set date, is infinitely more helpful. Its the only thing keeping from using emma exclusively but for now i juggle an excel spreadsheet

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Hmmm not sure why you guys were confused about that - that’s not what a rolling budget means. I’ve tried 3 or so budget apps and it usually means what it does here, when you underspend in one month you can overspend into the next. Maybe they weren’t clear on its meaning when they advertised it but what you’re describing is something different.

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In my opinion, the main reason to have a rolling budget is that a particular category spans across multiple months, like holidays, car maintenance, shopping.

Let’s say car expenses. I pay insurance, MOT and service every year and want to have a fixed amount set aside every month so that when the time comes for these expenses, I can afford it without touching my savings. I currently use pots in my bank account for this, but Emma tells me I’ve gone over budget when making any of these expenses and expected to fix it with rolling budgets and maybe even get rid of the pots.

I’m in the same situation that the other users commenting here. I’ve been waiting patiently for ages for this feature, and it turns out I can’t actually use it, as making every category roll to the next month is not appropriate.

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@yela, yes you are right, that a strict interpretation of the term ‘rolling budget’ means just that - that unused money against a budget simply rolls over into the next period.

But I do think that it goes hand in hand with having the ability to set a budget period for each category (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) and without being able to do that the rolling budget feature offers very little value.

What I want more than anything is to be able to set a budget at the beginning of the year (for example, Clothing) and then track how much of the budget I have remaining as the year progresses. It is hopeless managing these kind of spends on a monthly basis because a big splurge in the January sales does not necessarily mean I have gone over budget, but it does mean I need to keep an eye on it when buying a winter coat in October.

@edoardomoreni this just seems such a basic thing to be able to do I am a bit incredulous that this isn’t in the plan. I’m a premium user but if there is no sign of this feature coming then I won’t be renewing.

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Yes, this is the functionality implemented.

If you spend £25 out of £50, the budget will be £75.

This is an annual budget, not a rolling.

It’s a different feature that we can definitely build. :slight_smile:

To put some context in this and wrap things up.

Rolling Budgets: this is a feature implemented by many budgeting apps that make budgets roll month by month. This means if the budget is £50 and I spend £25, the next month it will be £75.

What other users need: it’s a way to budget annually on some expenses.

On a historic basis, the way we have thought budgets is to set spending limits, not to allocate money. That’s why we never built this feature. As of now, this would mean adding £10 on Holiday every month even without having a transaction in the app.

On the other hand, I think pots/pockets can be extremely useful for allocation of money. This is something that we are definitely building and will be soon available in Emma.

What do you think? Happy to discuss both options. :slight_smile:

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There are at least a couple of existing threads on annual budgeting/tracking

I agree it would be useful to have this (or even custom time periods) for certain categories. But it does seem conceptually different to rolling budget.

I’m not particularly bothered about predefined budgets/allocations. I dont use them personally. But I world be interested in a way to track annual expenditure on specific (or perhaps all) categories.

I’m not sure I fully understand the differentiation here. I still see a yearly budget as a spending limit - for example, my spending limit for Holidays is XXX per year.

I think the difficulty stems from the fact that there may be two fundamentally different ways people want to manage their budget. Some people want to be able to carefully manage their expenditure month-to-month, so ensure they don’t literally run out of money. I think Emma is good for this group.

However, there is another type of user who have a sizable enough running buffer to be less concerned about balancing their actual budget on a monthly basis, but do want to be able to keep track of their spending over the long term. This is where flexible budget periods become important. For example, it wouldn’t send me into the red if I spent £5000 on a holiday in January, even though my regular monthly budget might only he £2500. So I would not want it to show up as -£2500 against my January budget. However, clearly I would not be able to then spend £5000 on another holiday in February, and March, and every month for the rest of the year (sadly). Hence I need to be able to track certain things outside of my monthly budget.

This may well be where ‘pots’ come in, I’m not sure, I have only used Emma so cannot compare.

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Would being able to toggle between a month view and a year view when entering the analytics tab be a simple solution?

A third custom view might also be useful for things like holidays

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@o99 , yes you are correct - I understand now that rolling budgets are conceptually different to annual budgets. I have just been waiting very impatiently for rolling budgets thinking that they were what I wanted, so I am disappointed to find they are not. Rolling budgets are of much lower value to me than flexible budget periods.

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Ok, so we are saying that the budgets don’t need to co-exist in the same view?

The way I’d build this feature is by setting up a custom category (Life Insurance) and give it a fixed allocation of £10 every month for 12 months.

Does it make sense? The issue with this is that collides with pay period, what if it’s bi-weekly, weekly. What if the user switches to a monthly view? A yearly view wouldn’t work cause than it collides with all the other budgets.

Would be interesting to hear what others in the thread think. But yes, I think so.

I think what would be simplest from user perspective is if you took most/all of what you have already built for month/pay-period view and simply allow us to view it from a year perspective as well.

So when you enter Analytics you are initially in month/pay-period view (the current view). Then you perform some action (tap a toggle, swipe left, whatever) and you enter the year view/layer.

The year view would basically be the same UI with maybe a colour difference to help you remember which view you are in.

Crucially, you should be able to flip between month/pay-period and year view instantly. It wouldn’t be like how reconfiguring budget period currently works. You would be giving us a secondary budgeting period/perspective. And it wouldn’t matter if they overlap/collide.

Also I think crucial the budget settings for the year view would be independent of the month view. So for example I might choose to set a groceries budget in month view but not in year view. I might choose to set a car maintenance budget in the year view but not in the month view. I might choose to set an investment budget in both.

Ideally the user would be able to configure the type of year view. Some might like a rolling year view (previous 12 months), some might like calendar year (start 1 Jan), some might like tax year (start 6 April in UK). I think I’d like tax year.

If you could give us even more views what might also be useful here is an ad-hoc view that could be used for things like vacations. For example if I go on a 10 day vacation I might want to set a budget for that and track it independent of my pay period and year budget/analytics.

You’ve spoke of a Spaces feature for accounts. The above could perhaps be conceived as a Spaces or Layers feature for budgeting/analytics

That makes sense. I guess the budget would need to be increased when you take money out of the pot.

I don’t mind how the problem is solved as long as there’s a solution. That’s part of why I described the situation, as I thought you might have something in the pipeline that could suit me.

Thanks!

Here is my use case. I have just moved house and have X amount in my bank account set aside to spend on the property. I’ll probably be spending this over the course of the next year but maybe longer who knows. So I have a budget of X to spend. There is no fixed time duration to spend this by in my case. I can spend this amount X and once its spent its gone. I like Emma budgets because I can associate transactions with them and I can see a quick overview of how much I have spent against a budget. However in this case - a monthly recurring budget is not very useful to me. In fact a recurring budget is not useful to me. I have a fixed amount set aside that will not recur. I feel that being able to set a fixed / non recurrent budget would be useful. I also feel that being able to set recurring budgets (other than monthly) would be very useful. For example this year I’ve set aside X amount as a holiday budget. This budget should only recur every 12 months. I have no option do this with Emma. The rolling budget feature complements recurring budgets by allowing unspent amounts to rollover. However there is still no option for non recurrent budgets (fixed value) or budgets that recur at different frequencies. These are two very important feature gaps that would make Emma massively more useful for budgeting with imho. In terms of “views” I don’t see any reason why all budgets can’t be displayed in the existing singular budgets view. All a budget is, is basically a name with some amount budgeted and some amount spent, along with when it recurs (monthly) and whether its rolling. I’d find it annoying if I couldn’t see all my budgets on the one screen even those that don’t recur and those that might recur at different schedule such as anually - as I need to see an overview of how my budgeting is going without having to switch to different views to see annual vs monthly budgets etc- I’d find that annoying.

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Also it seems like enabling rolling budgets makes all budgets rolling? Is there no option to have one category be rolling and another not? For example the amount I budget to buy lottery tickets can rollover. If I don’t buy one this week I’ll buy two the next (just example I don’t play lottery) however that doesn’t mean I want my takeaway budget to rollover also - if I don’t spend all of my takeaway budget one month then I’d qualify that as a saving.

Hi, the rolling budgets feature currently applies to all the categories, it would be nice if you could rollover selected categories, for example, I would want any of my unused investments budget to be rolled over but something like bills, probably not.

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