Anyone know of a cheap, simple, cash forecast tool / app?

I have been using YNAB for several years now and have made peace with its lack of a forecasting tool, however I’ve recently found myself wanting one again. Here’s why:

With the current pandemic situation, I’ve had to trim the budget a bit, and what I’ve realised is that some budget categories are carrying a positive “floor”, ie, over the future months / years the available amount will never hit zero. This is probably caused by various amendments to that category, it may have been split off from a broader category for instance. What this means is that some of my dollars think they have jobs but in reality they’re just lazing about on the couch waiting for a day that will never come. These dollars need jobs, but to give them jobs I need to identify the freeloaders. 

This is where the forecast comes in. A cash forecast for a single category that accounts for planned spending vs planned budgeted funds will identify any positive floors. For example I could select my rent category and see that the available funds is never projected to go below $500, that would be $500 that could (should) be diverted to another category. 

Now I could just zero the category and start fresh with accurate numbers, but that runs the risk of the opposite problem, getting to a month where an additional payment is made and not having enough to cover it.

This is not a feature request, I accept that forecasting is not YNAB’s thing, but does anyone know of a good, cheap, standalone app that could do this for me? I could do something in excel, but, like some of my dollars, I’m lazy!

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  • Why do you think the category balance would be any different? The exact same information is used to put money back as is used to identify the freeloaders.

    http://forecast.calcitout.com/ will do what you want if you find it easier to go that direction.

    Like 1
  • Im not sure I understand your question. Do you mean if I zero the category and start from scratch?

    I will checkout your link. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      DexterCat Yes, the zero &add the non-freeloaders will result in the exact same balance as if you subtract the free-loaders. The same information that identifies the freeloaders also implicitly identifies the non.

      Regardless, sounds like you're off and running. Cheers!

      Like 1
      • DexterCat
      • DexterCat
      • 12 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ah yeah. Because I don’t have info on the freeloaders I would be starting the category from zero and budgeting a basic amount to it. For example, let’s say my rent is $950 per week and it gets paid every other week, I would zero my rent category then budget ($950 * 52) / 12 = $4116.67 per month. That is an accurate number to budget on first glance but it doesn’t account for the fact that I will have three rent payments in May and there won’t be enough to cover that month. 

      I could do that and cover the shortfall from the buffer category but the budget would be inaccurate in the meantime. I prefer to identify the low point in the category by using a forecasting tool and then I can make sure I budget the correct amount from the start. 

      Thanks for the help. 

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 12 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      DexterCat Perhaps a suggestion more for other readers, but this is usually handled with another category to save up for the extra payment. Reallocate to the main category in May.

      Like 2
  • That link was nearly perfect. It’s missing an option for a recurring payment every four weeks but I could work around it. I managed to identify a negative value in my rent category that occurs approximately once a year. 
     

    Thanks!

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  • I have actually lobbied for the feature you seek under the guise of a multi-outflow Goal. The canonical example is a Birthday or Subscription category. The naive approach of a category per person or service is likely to tie up more funds than necessary. (The "freeloading" dollars, as you put it.) More details here if you're interested:

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/y727d8

    In the interest of another voice, you might make a feature request, perhaps under that context. I would shy away from using the word "forecast", however. That tends to be misunderstood as a different problem due to the frequency it is brought up around here. (My apologies for doing so as well.)

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