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
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
We'll get right down to examples.
- Custom Filters
- Intelligent assist
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:
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.
- I can delete the 3 $25 Transactions.
- I can Roll up the transactions, and delete the rolled up items.
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:
can also be used to automate some of this.
- Set up the putaway transaction as a repeating to-do or meeting.
You can do this with the PM-FPS extensions.
- Create and save a custom filter in PM for the slush fund. This
will make it easier to manage.
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
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.
- You can hit assist, and write/type it in. Blechh.
- You can highlight the text, and hit the IA button.
- You can hit assist during an alarm, and the alarm text will go
- Bring up the editing slip for a meeting or todo, and hit assist.
Here are a few examples of IA phrases. We'll talk about where to put
There doesn't seem to be any way to do a split transaction. In the
examples above, the last field (The Comment) is optional.
- Withdrawal Visa\Charity\WNKU\10\Give to Public Radio
- Withdrawal Checking\Telephone\Cincinnati Bell\21.44
- Deposit Checking\Salary\Metro\10\Paycheck
- Transfer Checking\Transfer\Pocket\40
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.
- You can set up a repeating meeeting, and paste in the phrase as
the title of the meeting. Set an alarm for the meeting, and when the
alarm goes off, hit assist.
- Set up repeating todo using your phrase for the Title. When the
Todo appears on your list, tap on the Todo item to bring up the todo
slip. You can then hit assist, and you can even mark it completed.
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
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
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
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
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'.
- Trip account balance: this represents group money that you have.
- Category Expenses: This tells you who has spent how much.
- Payee Expenses: This tells you what you are spending the money on.
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:
- P - Pocket account. Arg: Pocket
- C - Checking account. Arg: Checking
- V - Visa Account. Arg: Visa
- 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:
- B - Bus fare. Arg:Pocket,Travel,Transit,-0.80
- L - Lunch. Arg:Pocket,Dining,Lunch,-,true Note the '-'
- P - Paycheck. Arg:Checking,Salary,Metro,10,true
- 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.
- A - Atm. Arg:Checking,Pocket,Transfers,40,true
- X - Christmas Fund. Arg:Checking,Savings,Transfer,100
- 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.
- P - Pocket Arg:Pocket,40
- C - Checking Arg:Checking,10
- 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
Here are the Arguments I use now:
- I go to the gas station, and enter the transaction in MPG. After
I enter the odometer setting, MPG calculates the miles on that tank of
- I write a 'C' on top of my MPG icon. The script sucks out the
miles on the tank, and multiplies it by a the per mile rate.
- The script feeds these things into the PM slip, and I hit save
- When My insurance bill comes due, I just delete a few savings
transactions. Voila! Zero Cash flow impact.
- C - Car. Arg: Checking,Putaway-Auto,Auto-Savings,0.08
- M - Motorcycle. Arg: Checking,Putaway-Auto,Motorcyle-Savings,0.10
Your feedback and comments are welcome. Please send them
Here, or Drop by the
Newton Resource Page