Welcome to the home of hand held compulsive bookkeeping

$Revision: 1.4 $ Last Updated $Date: 1998/01/07 18:50:35 $ UT

Copyright(C) 1997-1998 Robert Sexton. Link away.

This document is very much a work in progress. Please send suggestions or updates to Robert Sexton, robert, at kudra . com Please drop me a note if you found any of the information here useful.

This page describes various advanced techniques for working with PocketMoney. This page is neither supported nor endorsed by Catamount Software. It exists primarily so that I can share some of the more advanced techniques that I and other people have discovered for using PocketMoney

Most of these are simply different ways of using the existing Category System.

Contents of this page

Useful Links from the Catamount Page

Using Categories to manage Cash flow

One of the advantages of computerized bookkeeping is that you can manage your money more effectively. By using categories and ficticious Payees, its possible to create accounts within accounts. Remeber: Just because a tranasction doesn't happen at the bank doesn't mean it can't happen in your books.

This process can really smooth out your cash flow. By setting the money aside ahead of time, you can remove a particular bill or expense from your cash flow considerations. Since the money doesn't actually leave your account until it is spent for it's purpose, it serves as cushion against accidents such as bounced checks. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on how well you manage your money!

In the examples below, we'll use some more advanced techniques. These techniques include

We'll get right down to examples.

I have a mortgage payment of $100. I am paid weekly, and I want to set aside $25 from each check against my mortgage payment. After I enter my paycheck, I enter a withdrawal. I'll fill it out as follows - Payee: Mortgage, Category: Putaway, Amount $25.

When it is time for my mortgage payment, I have two options:

  1. I can delete the 3 $25 Transactions.
  2. I can Roll up the transactions, and delete the rolled up items.
You may want to set up a custom filter to simplify these steps. If you have many Putaway transactions, I suggest rolling them up. One gotcha with rollups is that they always have category rollup. After rolling up, go to the last transaction and change the category and payee.

Now that I have deleted $75 worth of transactions, my mortgage payment only creates a $25 change in my cash flow.

If you have more in your putaway category than the bill, just change the amount on the rolled up item.

Rule #1: If it's too much work, you won't do it.

In order to make this all work, I suggest the following:

GestureScripts can also be used to automate some of this.

The balance on your account now measures how much you have to spend, not how much is in your account. None of this will affect your cleared balance when you reconcile your account.

Automating Repeating Transactions with Intelligent Assist

The following info overlaps with the PM manual. Give it a read.

the Intelligent Assistant (IA) is handy for repeating transactions. There are a few ways to get arbitrary text into IA (This is not a definative list):

A number of application hve buttons you can hit to run IA on items. TimeTrax and newToDo are two examples. Before you can do any of this, you must install the right Pieces. As a minumum, you must install the PM-FPS and Igor Packages. Please consult your PM documentation.

Here are a few examples of IA phrases. We'll talk about where to put them next.

There doesn't seem to be any way to do a split transaction. In the examples above, the last field (The Comment) is optional.

Now that we have the phrases figured out, we have to put them somewhere. I keep mine in a note, and then cut and paste them to wherever is appropriate. You can even hilight them and hit assist to make sure they work, or just use them from there.

There are at least two ways to use your phrases.

I prefer the second method because it's not time dependant. Your mileage may vary.

Using PM to track group expenses for a trip

PM is capable of quite a bit using only the category tools. Here's how you can track the expenses of a group trip. This comes in handy if you are the banker! I must include the caveat that the following is recorded from memory. I used this technique with success last year. Its based upon the premise that you take money in advance from your traveling partners, and then spend it on group expenses. Some changes might be necessary if you do everything in cash, as things get a bit simpler.

Create an account named after your Trip, Such as 'Canada', or 'Upper Volta'. Set your account type to Bank or Cash, and you may want to uncheck the box in account setup about total worth inclusion. You will need a category to record the money you spend personally on the trip, in your own accounts. In this example, I use 'Canada'

We will have a category for each trip participant, so we can track how much everybody has spent. You may or may not want to create these now. I suggest creating them all with a common prefix, such as 'Canada:Robert', or 'Canada:Susan'

When somebody gives you money, such as a trip deposit, you deposit it into your account, under your category (Canada) for the trip. If you use the category report in your own account, you can see how much money you have received, under the 'Canada' category.

If they give you cash, its' easier to record it as a deposit to the trip account.

Here's an example: 3 people (including you) are going, and they each give you $50. You deposit this money in your checking account, under the 'Canada' category. You then whip out your bank card, and pay for a $110 hotel room. You record this in your checking account as a transfer to the trip account, with the category 'Canada'. You now run a category report, and you see that your balance on 'Canada', is $-10. You have spent $10 of your own money on the trip, and your checking account will still balance.

This is the hard part. After this it get easy. Now we go to the Trip account and spend the money.

When somebody pays for something, you record it under the trip account as a withdrawal under their category. Here is an important detail: When you record withdrawals, do not enter the payee, but rather the category of expense. Examples would be 'Gas', 'Hotel', or 'Camping Fees'. When you record a deposit, use the name of the person on the 'From' Line.

We create a withdrawal, with a payee of 'Hotel', and we set up the splits (because you have to account for the money they gave you in advance) We change the category to 'splits', and record the following amounts: 'Canada:Susan' - $50, 'Canada:Bill' - $50, and 'Canada:Robert' - $10. To keep things fair, you have to record their money first as being spent.

Now all the work pays off.

Here's what we have:

When you head out on the road, you look at the category report. In out example, My category reports shows that Susan and John have spent $50 each, but I have only spent $10. That means its my turn to spend money. I buy a tank of gas, and record it in my checkbook as a transfer to the trip account, with a category of 'Canada'. I then go to the trip account, and change the category to 'Canada:Robert'. As the trip progresses, you can tell who has spent how much. I then pick the person who has spent the least, and say 'Pay for the hotel room'.

After the trip ends, it's fairly easy to determine how to settle up.

Using GestureLaunch 3.0 with PocketMoney

GestureScript/GestureLaunch is part of Newtcase, from Pelicanware I can't say enough good things about it. GestureScript (GS), allows you to invoke NewtonScript by writing a letter over an icon on the Button bar. On NOS 2.0 newton, you use one of 4 gestures on the Silkscreen buttons.

If you would like more info, you can read a GestureLaunch Review That I wrote a while back.

These scripts can be downloaded:

GestureScript really turbocharges PocketMoney. It allows you to associate canned transactions with gestures, and save a lot of time. Now you can just write a 'A' on the Button bar, and up will come a PM slip, all filled in for an ATM withdrawal.

The section below describes my PM gestures, and how to use them.

PM Slip
This is the most basic of all the PM slips. It brings up an entry slip, and you fill everything in.
PM Account
This script is the next step up. It brings up a PM entry slip, but the account is already filled in. You have to add the rest yourself. It takes a single argument: The name of the account. This one is more useful than the traditional PM entry slip because you generally know which account you will post to before you launch the entry slip. Here are a few examples:
PM Slip Item
This script is the workhorse for any recurring Withdrawal/Deposit. The only difference between Withdrawals and deposits is amount: Withdrawals are negative, Deposits are positive.

The script takes a single argument, delineated by commas. The fields are: Account,Category,Payee,Amount,Verify. The Verify field (and the comma that goes with it) is optional. If you set it to 'true', the PM slip will pop up for you to check. Otherwise, it will post without confirmation from you, and make a little noise to let you know it did something. Here are a few examples:

PM Slip Transfer
This script is similar to PM Item, but it's set up for transfers. There is a single gotcha: You Must use a Category. I have a special category called 'transfers'. The problem with blank categories is that there is no way to tell the difference between "Transfer" and "I forgot to Fill it in". I use this one Primarily when I go to the ATM.

This one is very much like PM Slip Item. It takes single, comma delineated argument: FromAccount,ToAccount,Category,Amount,Verify. As before, the 'Verify' argument is optional.

Some Examples:

PM Slip Deposit
This one isn't too different from the others. It's intended as a general purpose slip. For a specific, recurring deposit, use the PM Slip Item with a positive amount. One argument, comma delineated: Account, Amount. There is no way in PM to specify a deposit without providing an amount.


PM Slip MPG-Permile
This one is complicated. It's intended for use with Catamounts MPG software. MPG allows you to track auto expenses. MPG interfaces with PM, but not in the way I required.

This script creates ghost transactions based upon the mileage you drive your car. These tranasctions smooth out your cash flow, and make your auto expenses more manageable. Read Using Categories to manage Cash flow To get background on how this works.

The script takes a single, comma Delineated argument: Account, Category,Payee,Per (mile/kilo/whatever) Rate.

After you use MPG, you will have a pretty good idea of how much your automobile costs you. Here's how I use that info to smooth out my cash flow:

Here are the Arguments I use now:

Your feedback and comments are welcome. Please send them Here, or Drop by the Newton Resource Page