It’s 2016. If you are like most people, the new year brings a few resolutions for your finances – making more, saving for something big, or just generally wanting to get a little “better”. Our mission at Pocketbook is to make the process of getting better with your finances easy.
So to start the year, I wanted to share with you some of the best tips and tricks that we talk to users about via our Help service. By following these, you’ll be sure to get more out of Pocketbook in 2016. So here goes…
1. Use the “Transferring Money” category
This is the most frequently asked question for new users – how to make transfers between accounts not over-inflate actual income and expense totals.
This is why we built the special “Transferring Money” category – categorising a transaction as this will exclude it from calculations. The best part of the feature is that because of our learning categorisation algorithm, once you teach your Pocketbook that a certain transaction is a money transfer, it’s almost certain that all future transactions of the type would be automatically categorised correctly as well.
Pro-Tip: Use “Transferring Money” for payments you make to pay off your credit card or your mortgage where your credit card and loan is also sync’ed to Pocketbook.
2. Use the new Overview screen for a snapshot of your finances at your fingertips
A major update we made to the iPhone app is the new “Overview” view consisting of a combination of ‘Tiles’. These Tiles each highlight a different area of your finances – e.g. your budget and what you have been spending on, your balances, how your savings are going (coming soon!) and recent transactions.
Together they give you the best snapshot of your finances you will get anywhere. We’ll be adding to these Tiles throughout 2016 as well so stay tuned!
Pro-Tip: You can tap on each of the Tiles within the Overview page to see more detail. E.g. tapping on the Bills & Income section will take you to the Bill and Income calendar for a more detailed view of what’s coming up and what’s already happened.
3. Pay special attention to all “bank fee” alerts
One of the best features that new users often aren’t aware is that Pocketbook automatically detects bank fees charged to your accounts. The system sends an alert immediately to you via both email and push notification through the app.
We’ve helped hundreds of users reverse incorrectly charged bank fees with this feature. Pay attention and you could save from incorrect charges as well!
Pro-Tip: In the email alert, we’ve included your bank’s phone number there to make things super easy if you need to call your bank to dispute the fee.
4. Using the “#oneoffspend” tag
Sometimes big purchases happen – the big TV or the holiday flights away. As these are typically hundreds or thousands of dollars, it’s important to not have these transactions blur my view of the financial discipline I’m otherwise maintaining day-to-day. The “#oneoffspend” tag caters for exactly this – use this tag to exclude certain transactions from budget calculations.
5. Try the all new Pocketbook Feed
3 months ago, we introduced “Pocketbook Feed”. The Feed is the place where all the most important insights about your finances reside. It’s like an anti-virus software, picking out and showing you anomalies and things you should know.
In December, we added special Subject Areas. These capture timely news and articles about money which may be of relevance to your interest areas such as share investment, property, superannuation or deals – ONLY the areas you are interested in. We curate to the best of the best news so you don’t have to wade through endless junk articles.
Pro-Tip: Try the “Discover” button on the right to follow interest areas relevant to you, and try the “little man” icon on the left to filter only for your personal notification items.
6. Set your Safely Spend a smidgen lower in 2016
Another common Helpdesk query is how Safely Spend should be set and used.
Safely Spend is designed as a running average of your regular discretionary spend – meaning anything outside of bills, one off purchases (marked with the #oneoffspend tag – see 3) and Transferring Money (see 1) categorised between your own accounts. So this includes drinks, dinners, train tickets, groceries, petrol etc. Things that are somewhat more negotiable when it comes to saving.
For 2016 try to set your Safely Spend lower by a few dollars. It’s like virtually lowering your allowance. This should get your resolutions well and truly going.
Pro-Tip: Is there a holiday you’re saving for? Maybe a pet puppy? Try dividing the cost of whatever it is by 52 if your Safely Spend is weekly, 26 if you plan fortnightly, and 12 if you’re a monthly person. Then take that away from your Safely Spend number when you set up. Try it! You’ll have everything to gain.
7. Use the “Apply Only to this Transaction” tickbox
While we continually to improve on our categorisation algorithm, it’s almost impossible to be always accurate. You might have bought a stick of gum from the petrol station instead of your usual petrol or you might have purchased a work related item on eBay.
This is most likely an exception you’d like to better capture, however you don’t want Pocketbook to remember the new categorisation for future similar transactions. In this case, be sure to check the “Apply Only to this Transaction” checkbox when you altering the category.
Pro-Tip: If you make a mistake, don’t worry. There’s a “Bulk Edit” feature on the web version of Pocketbook where you can correct things quickly.
8. Create sub-categories to further sharpen your spending analysis
Sometimes you want to get finer with categorisation. E.g. for the Kids category, adding sub-categories like “School Fees” or “Excursion” or “Uniforms” can help. Pocketbook allows users to do this today, in fact there is no limit to how many categories or sub-categories you can create.
For web users, the way to create a sub-category is by using the format “Category – Subcategory” (using a dash when adding a new category).
Pro-Tip: You can view your sub-category spending breakdowns in Analyse via the web. Just click on the top level category in the pie-chart and the chart will zoom in to show you the sub-categories.
9. Email us if you have any questions
We’re always just an email away. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, just click here and drop us a line.
10. Stay on top of Pocketbook product updates
The Chinese have a wonderful greeting for new years – “Gung Hey Fat Choy!”. Instead of happy new year, they say “wishing you all the riches!”. For us at Pocketbook, we have the same lofty aspirations for your 2016. We want to make it a standout year for you. We will be releasing bigger and better features which I can’t wait to share with you.
We hope you all the best for 2016. See you inside Pocketbook!