@randy @matt I do agree that the primary goal of savings is to even out over and underspend from month to month. That said, some of the Savings+Month metrics seem a little bit kludgey, and the month-only metrics are more useful, at least with how I use the budgets. The way that the budgeted monthly cashflow and expense budget are being calculated assumes that you will spend all savings and all budget, which is almost never the case. I do realize that this is then offset by month versus budget (to date), but it still strikes me as awkward since savings are available funds with the potential to be used, not the expectation to be used. In my mind, the budgeted figures should reflect expectations, while the actuals reflect reality. It might just be that due to a large number of accumulating savings categories, both delayed expenses and holding categories (emergency savings and liquid savings), I’ve reached a level of overflow savings that makes a more noticeable impact on those metrics.
For example, say my monthly grocery budget is $500, but I only spent $450 in January. My budget (expectation) for February will still be $500 regardless of savings. I won’t expect to spend $550 just because I have that much money available. As we agreed previously, the savings should affect only the overall available dollars, giving a cushion or shortage depending on previous months’ trends, balancing the budget and actuals. It just seems that the way Month+Savings is being framed right now, leftover savings from previous months’ expenses are being shown as a negative impact on future budgets, rather than as a balancing force.
Another aside, Month+Savings does some odd things to budget metrics. I have recently begun leaving my passive income sources (private sales, statement credits, etc) out of my budgeted income, transferring those dollars as savings to discretionary savings and emergency savings categories which can then be redistributed to other categories as needed to offset unbudgeted spending, rather than increasing the budget for income and expenses directly. The goal is again to get a better picture of budget (expectation) versus actuals (reality). A graph of budget and actuals that are identical (cashflow = 0) is not very useful and might as well only show the actuals. Now, when I transfer out the passive income as negative savings, that creates an artificially-low income budget. Perhaps I am not utilizing savings adjustments correctly here, but I do not believe that reallocating unbudgeted income to other savings categories should decrease my budgeted income.
Sorry if this comes off as rambling, but those are my morning thoughts.