by Tara Blaine

The Simple Guide to Expenses

Is managing expenses a huge chore—or even a seemingly impossible task? Your Simple Account has a secret weapon for keeping track of expenses automatically! Find out how to automate your budget right in your checking account with Expenses.
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We’re making some enhancements to Expenses! The blog post below describes the new Expenses experience. If you opened your Simple account before May 20, 2020, the info below might not apply to you yet—we’ll let you know when the updates show up in your account.

When it comes to finances, there’s your money, and then there’s how you manage your money. We happen to think that the latter is the real key to financial confidence. Keeping track of expenses—planning ahead for when and how much you spend on what—is how you stay in control of your cash, no matter how much you have. And to do that, you’re going to need a budget.

With Simple, you have a budgeting app built right into your checking account. And the best part is that Simple does all the heavy lifting for you—once you set up a budget, managing expenses happens automatically.

That’s the magic of Expenses in your Simple Account! Set up Expenses to:

  • Rest assured you have the money you need for your bills and necessities
  • Always know exactly how much you can spend on other stuff without blowing your budget (thanks to Safe-To-Spend®)
  • Ditch extra apps, spreadsheets, and manual tracking
  • Keep track of all your upcoming bills and track your spending

How Expenses work in your Simple Account

With Expenses, you can create a budget that lives right inside your Simple Account. You just set up your recurring bills and other monthly expenses, and Simple automatically categorizes your spending for you. Use Expenses to replace cumbersome spreadsheets and make it effortless to track your spending and stick to your budget.

How to build a budget with Expenses

Before you start setting up your Simple Account, you’ll want to make a list of all your monthly necessities—bills, groceries, anything you spend money on each month.

You’ll want to get specific enough that you can accurately plan ahead (without overwhelming yourself with too many categories). For example, instead of “Transportation,” you might want to have an Expense for more specific things like “Gas,” “Parking,” “Oil changes,” and “Uber/Lyft.”

Once you have your list of necessities, look through your spending over the last few months to figure out how much you need for each monthly expense.

Of course, not all expenses are the same every month! Some things (like groceries) vary a bit, while other things (like medical bills) might be wildly different over time. You’ll want to include variable expenses in your budget so you’re sure to have the money when you need it—here’s a guide that walks you through it.

How to create Expenses in your Simple Account: 5 easy steps

1. Create a new Expense, give it a name, and set when you need the money (for instance, the date your phone bill is due).

2. Set how often the Expense repeats. Some Expenses (like rent) come up once a month, while you might need the money for groceries or gas every week. Things like oil changes might only come up every three months.

3. Enter the amount of money you need to set aside for the Expense. You have two options here:

  • Choose “reach target balance” to automatically set aside money until it reaches a specific amount. This is ideal for Expenses that are fairly consistent every month (like rent and bills) or those for which you want to stay within a specific budget (such as eating out).
  • Choose “set aside target amount” if you just want to set aside a set amount of money every paycheck. This is a great option for spending that ebbs and flows, like regular trips to the movies. If you don’t spend it all, the money you’ve set aside just keeps building up.

4. Set your funding schedule. This is how often you want Simple to automatically put money into the Expense so it’s ready to spend. It’s handy to match this to your payday—that way the money you need for necessities is automatically set aside every time you get paid. (Setting up direct deposit makes this even easier; if you don’t have your paychecks deposited into your Simple Account automatically, you’ll need to remember to move money over manually.)

5. Fine-tune how Simple automates your budgeting. Every time you spend money, Simple will automatically try to match up the transaction with the Expense you’ve created. To help make it more precise, you can select “Money out” to select which categories of transactions should come out of this Expense; you can even set all transactions from a certain merchant to come out of a specific Expense.

Voila! You’ve set up your Expense. Use the list of necessities you created to repeat the process for each expense you want in your budget. Once that’s done, Simple will automatically move your money into each Expense when you get paid, and automatically deduct money from your Expenses when you spend. You can adjust the funding and spending anytime. For a walk-through of these steps, take a look at this Support Article (it also shows you how to edit an Expense or adjust which Expense a transaction comes out of later).

Think bigger with Goals

Planning out your monthly expenses—and keeping track of your spending—is the foundation of a budget. Once you’ve got that down, you can use your Simple Account to help you save for the bigger things in life. Consider adding Goals to help you tuck away money a bit at a time so you can afford something like a security deposit on a new apartment, a new car, or even a down payment on a house. Find out how to incorporate Goals into your budget here.

Start budgeting better with Expenses

Ready to master money management? Go ahead and set up an Expense now!

Once you’ve got your Expenses set, let Simple do the rest—just spend money on what you need and watch your budget automatically keep up. It’s a good idea to take a few minutes at the end of the month to review your Expenses and make tweaks as needed.

  • If your bills aren’t the amount you expected, make adjustments to your Expenses
  • If you’re consistently spending more than you planned on something, see if you can adjust your habits next month
  • If you have extra funds in an Expense, consider moving them into a Goal or an Emergency Fund

Get on top of your expenses with Simple. Apply now!
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