Category: Tips & Tricks

How to Manage Money when Travelling?

Imagine that your exciting journey is over and you are already in your home slippers drinking coffee from a Spanish local market. Visiting another country was a truly enriching experience. You got to know the locals and their incredibly friendly approach to foreigners, learnt new funny words in their language, tried traditional food and drinks (oh, those locals know how to enjoy their life!), made all the typical tourist photos and visited most of the must-see points. Wandering around various places, you lost a few kilos, though your wallet got thinner, too. Now it is time to take a breath and reflect on the financial side of your adventure. What could you do to track your expenses while travelling?

As experienced travelers, we’d love to share some simple hints with you. This piece of advice can make your journey easier and less stressful, and you can keep your travel expenses under control.


Create a budget for your trip

First of all, define your budget before you go on the trip. For instance, you plan to visit Valencia (Spain) for one week. It could be very useful to calculate an approximate budget amount in advance and set it in Toshl app as a one-time budget. To do so:

  1. Open the Toshl app, go to the Budgets section in the main menu.
  2. Add a new one by tapping the “+” button.
  3. Name your budget (e.g. My Awesome Travel Plan).
  4. Select the time period: one-time budget, and enter the dates of your trip.
  5. Set an amount that you are going to spend.

When the budget is set, you can check the daily amount you are able to spend within your budget limit. For that, just go back to Budgets and check your one-time budget graph.

Keep a track of your expenses

When everything is ready for the trip, and the departure day arrives, make sure that you take your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Please be kind to Toshl monsters, and they will assist you on your way. To do so, just keep in mind to add your expenses to Toshl app whenever you make a purchase or pay for a service.

If you use Toshl Medici and have set a bank connection, your bank / financial service transactions will be added automatically to your expenses. In this case, don’t forget to enter your cash expenses though.

ATM withdrawals

In case you withdraw some amount from an ATM, it could be set as a transfer in Toshl app. The transfer will be composed of an expense on the bank account and an income on the cash account. For Toshl Medici subscribers that have set a bank connection, the expense part will be imported automatically from the bank account. The income part on cash account will need to be added manually.

Attach receipt photos

If you are Toshl Pro or Toshl Medici user, don’t forget that you can take a photo of the receipt and attach it to your expense. It is very convenient if you go on a business trip and need to save some receipts for reporting. It could be also useful when you want to save a bill to split an expense for lunch or dinner with your friends. Or perhaps, you’d like to take a photo of the souvenir (or the receipt for it) that you have just bought at the city museum… Using the handy photo feature, you don’t need to carry a bunch of paper bills in your backpack anymore! Yay!

Currency calculator

The currency converter feature can be really useful if you travel to a country with a different currency. In Toshl Finance you can use practically any currency you want. We support 200 different currencies from around the world with hourly updated exchange rates. This means that you can travel or move anywhere and enter local expenses in any currency. There is no need to use a calculator: just add an expense in destination country’s currency in Toshl app. The preview in your main currency will be shown on every expense entry. Besides, you might create a budget or an account in foreign currency, customize the currency exchange rates (if using a particular rate at exchange office), or even change the main currency in which you use the app. Toshl monsters will take care of all the calculations.

Spending control

To control your spending flow every day, just check your travel budget. The graph will show the current status and how much is left to spend. No worries, hard-working Toshl monsters will notify you on overspending, so you can take care of your finances on time.

Keep an eye on your accounts

When you are not really sure whether to pay in cash or by card, you might want to check the amounts on your accounts (cash and bank) in Toshl app. For instance, this could be very handy when you need to make quick decisions and you don’t really remember how much money is left in your wallet or bank account. Toshl monsters will provide this information for you. In order to get it, just tap the Accounts button on the top right of the screen, or swipe anywhere from the right side of the screen.

Prepaid and temporary credit cards

In case you want to feel secure using bank cards on your trip, you might create an additional prepaid card at any bank before you go abroad. You may use a prepaid card when you withdraw some amount from an ATM or go shopping. For that, you have to calculate and put a relevant amount on this card before you go travelling. Just make sure you add the prepaid card to Toshl app and keep an eye on your spending. If the new card is with a bank you had already connected earlier, it will be added automatically.


All is well that ends well

It is possible to make your travel stress-free if you keep an eye on your finances at least a little bit. Toshl will try to make it as easy as possible. The reward will come in the end when you get the message from Toshl monsters that you have saved some money on this trip. Great job! Now you may finally enjoy a coffee from the Valencian market and draw some pictures of orange trees seen at the city gardens. It was a memorable, inspiring trip and you managed it well.


The Toshl monsters won’t let you go bankrupt on your trip. As for morally bankrupt, that one’s up to you. ;)
Posted in Tips & Tricks, Travel

Matching Transfers Between Financial Accounts

It matters to know which entry on your bank account is a regular expense or income and which is a transfer between your financial account. Expenses and incomes will be counted in the sums and budgets, while transfers won’t count in those sums (unless you filter out some accounts).

With transfers among your own accounts, just moving your money from one “bucket” to another, while it remains your money. So it shouldn’t count as an income or expense, it’s your internal financial movement.

A few examples of such transfers:

  • transfers between your own bank accounts
  • ATM withdrawals (transfer between a bank account and cash)
  • payment of your monthly credit card bill (transfer from bank account to credit card account)

Automatic transfer matching

Toshl will try to automatically detect transfers between financial accounts whenever the data about the transfer is available.

Typically, there will be an expense on account A and an income on account B. The expense and income will have the same, or at least similar amounts and dates. Toshl will check if the expense and income combination fit the criteria for a transfer and merge them into a transfer if it fits.

Example of a matched transfer between the Intesa Sanpaolo and N26 bank accounts.

If all the data is already there; expense and income parts, and it fits well enough, the transfer will be matched automatically. You don’t need to do anything.

Reviewing entries to match transfers

However, if the transfer detection system cannot be certain enough, it will send those potential transfers for you to review and confirm they are indeed transfers or not. Go to the Bank connections screen in the main menu and click Review entries.

There can be several reasons why the entries cannot be detected completely automatically. For example, there can be several possible matches for transfers among your accounts and you’d need to choose which is the correct expense and income pair. It’s also possible that the expense or income part of the transfer on the other account is missing. In those cases, we help you fill in the data and create the other part automatically, so that the transfer can be created.

Transfers between different account types

The transfers can work a bit differently based on how the data is entered.

Transfer between two automatic accounts

Automatic accounts are connected to your bank / credit card / financial service and the data gets imported automatically. Because data is imported automatically, transfer matching should happen automatically as well. If it doesn’t, check Bank connections / Review entires.

In some rare cases, a part of the transfer might be missing if the bank didn’t report it. E.g. income part of transfer not showing up on your credit card account when you pay for it. In such cases, Review entries will help you create the missing part, so the transfer can be created.

Transfers between an automatic and a manual account

A typical example of this is an ATM withdrawal. The transfer will be composed form an expense on the automatic account and an income on the manual account. The expense part will be imported automatically from your bank account. The income part on your cash account will need to be added manually.

You can add the cash income using Bank connections / Review entries, or enter the income to the cash account manually from the app. Just make sure that the amount and dates match and set the category to “Transfer” by picking it from the category list. Next time the bank connection syncs, they should be automatically matched into a transfer.

Transfers between two manual accounts

Manual accounts are any accounts where you track the incomes and expenses by entering them through the app. You should add the transfers manually there, no automatic matching can be done.

To add a transfer click “Add transfer” below the list of financial accounts.

There’s also a shortcut to make this quicker:

  • in the mobile app: drag the + button up and to the right until it changes to Add transfer, then release the button
  • in the web app: click the + button on the bottom right, like you would to add an expense. Then click the title on top of the form to change it into a transfer.

More details on how transfer matching works

Obviously, the match between the parts of transfer won’t always be perfect. There can be differences in amounts due to exchange rates and fees, transfers can take several days to get from one bank to another and so forth. Some allowances are thus made, enabling the transfers to be matched despite these differences.

  • Toshl tries to find potential matches for all entries that come from bank connections. The detection of matches happens after each update of the bank connections.
  • dates of the expense and incomes must be within 4 days between each other for automatic detection. When reviewing manually, the range for potential matches is expanded to 10 days.
  • the amount of income and expense must be within 5 % to match. It doesn’t matter if they are in different currencies, Toshl will check their converted values in your main currency to match.
  • if more than one potential match is found in the date range, the potential transfer is sent to Bank connections / Review entries and has to be manually reviewed
  • if the entry has been automatically categorized as “Transfer” or the category could not be determined (unsorted), it automatically gets sent to review
  • if a certain entry has not been detected as a transfer, but should have been, change the category to “Transfer” from the list of categories and it will be sent to review after the next update of the bank connections.

After matching all those transfers, Toshl monsters sometimes need to take a step outside.
Posted in Tips & Tricks, Tutorials

Financial Planning (Android)

Learn from your past spending and earning patterns and prepare for the future. That’s what the Planning graphs are all about.

Switch between 4 tabs to monitor all main aspects of your personal finance:

  • Balance
  • Expenses
  • Incomes
  • Net Worth

and make use of detailed views, calculated averages and estimates for the future. Filter the display of your financial data by category, tag, account or location, and compare the incomes with expenses and budgets in the River flow graph.

This feature is available with Toshl Pro or Toshl Medici subscriptions.

Balance – monthly balance of incomes and expenses

This balance is shown separately for every month and is calculated as:

monthly incomes  monthly expenses = monthly balance

Staying in the positive, above the central line, is crucial. It might evade you sometime, but aim for it on a yearly average.

Expenses – spending per month

This section shows you the sum of expenses for each month, but can also be filtered to display spending for chosen categories, tags, locations and financial accounts.

Incomes – earnings per month

Display of the total sum of incomes each month can be further adjusted by filtering by categories, tags and financial accounts.

Net worth – total balance of your financial accounts

These funds accumulate if you have regular surpluses on your monthly balances. The amounts reflect the account balances at the end of the month.

Tap & hold for details and a lollipop

To get the exact value for each column, tap and hold somewhere on the graph.

A “lollipop” will pop up, displaying the exact value for that particular month.

Past months will also display averages for the last 12 months, while future months show the estimates for the chosen period.

River flow – see the financial flows each month

You’ll notice that the River flow graph is displayed below the multi-month graph. It shows how your incomes and expenses compare to each other and your budget in an individual month. If you have a monthly budget for all expenses, River flow will include it in the calculation as well. That way you’ll always know how much you can spend while staying within your budget limits.

Travel in time

12 months are shown on the graph – by default 6 past ones, the current month, as well as 5 future months.

You can move through time by using the  < >  arrows under the graph, swipping left or right, or by using the general time span settings from the right sidebar.

If you’re interested in sums for a certain period, you can also select a custom time span. The selected months will be displayed in darker color below the graph and you’ll see sums for the entire period.

Filter by category, tag, account, location

You can zero-in on specific data you’re interested in and want to see over a longer period of time.

Let’s say you want to know how your spending on Food & Drinks varies in time. Tap on the Filter icon in the upper right corner, select “Expense categories” from the menu, then tap “SELECT” and choose “Food & Drinks”. Return to the graph by tapping the “back” arrow in the upper left corner. Your spending data is now filtered to only display the expenses for the Food & Drinks category, so you can see how it varies through the year.

You can narrow it down even further by selecting a tag. Do the same in the “Expense tags” section and you can see how much you spent only on restaurants, alcohol, groceries, or a combination of multiple tags.

You don’t have to pick only one filter. They can be combined. For example, you can set it to only show expenses paid with MasterCard (financial account), for Leisure (category), for books, movies and music (tags), in HMV Manchester Arndale (location).

The filtering is global, so it will work with all the data in your Toshl app. Any filter that’s applied will be displayed above the graph, and the excluded categories, tags, etc., will be written in strikethrough.

Estimates and planned expenses

You’ll notice that the future months on the graph aren’t as colorful. That doesn’t mean that the future isn’t bright, just a bit hazy for now.

The semi-transparent columns in future months can display your planned entries, future estimates or both.

Planned entries

These are the expenses, incomes and transfers you have already entered for the future, or were generated automatically based on the repeating entry settings that you have set for your finances. We advise to add as many of these as you can possibly predict. They will help you plan your future months and help you keep the financial stress down to a minimum.

These planned entries can be set to be displayed in your graph. You can adjust this by tapping the Time span icon in the upper right corner, selecting a month to review, and setting the switch for “Show planned expenses in graphs” to ON or OFF. This will also affect other graphs in Toshl.

Estimates

Estimates project your past trends in earning and spending into the future. This provides you with a rough guide of what to expect from your balances, spending, earnings and net worth in the upcoming months, if the current trends continue as they have so far.

Since the estimates are based on your past data, the more time you’ve been tracking your finances with Toshl, the more precise they can become. We will also continue improving the algorithm for this feature, so it will become better at estimating your spending patterns.

You can switch the “Include future estimates” option ON or OFF in the filtering menu, on the bottom of the page.

Toshl monster plays it smart and plans for the future. Join in!

Posted in Android Tutorials, Tutorials

Financial Planning (iOS)

Learn from your past spending and earning patterns and prepare for the future. That’s what the Planning graphs are all about.

Switch between 4 tabs to monitor all main aspects of your personal finance:

  • Balance
  • Expenses
  • Incomes
  • Net Worth

and make use of detailed views, calculated averages and estimates for the future. Filter the display of your financial data by category, tag, account or location, and compare the incomes with expenses and budgets in the River flow graph.

This feature is available with Toshl Pro or Toshl Medici subscriptions.

Balance – monthly balance of incomes and expenses

This balance is shown separately for every month and is calculated as:

monthly incomes  monthly expenses = monthly balance

Staying in the positive, above the central line, is crucial. It might evade you sometime, but aim for it on a yearly average.

Expenses – spending per month

This section shows you the sum of expenses for each month, but can also be filtered to display spending for chosen categories, tags, locations and financial accounts.

Incomes – earnings per month

Display of the total sum of incomes each month can be further adjusted by filtering by categories, tags and financial accounts.

Net worth – total balance of your financial accounts

These funds accumulate if you have regular surpluses on your monthly balances. The amounts reflect the account balances at the end of the month.

Tap & hold for details and a lollipop

To get the exact value for each column, tap and hold somewhere on the graph.

A “lollipop” will pop up, displaying the exact value for that particular month.

Past months will also display averages for the last 12 months, while future months show the estimates for the chosen period.

River flow – see the financial flows each month

You’ll notice that the River flow graph is displayed below the multi-month graph. It shows how your incomes and expenses compare to each other and your budget in an individual month. If you have a monthly budget for all expenses, River flow will include it in the calculation as well. That way you’ll always know how much you can spend while staying within your budget limits.

Travel in time

12 months are shown on the graph – by default 7 past ones, the current month, as well as 4 future months.

You can move through time by using the  < >  arrows under the graph, swipping left or right, or by using the general time span settings from the right sidebar.

If you’re interested in sums for a certain period, you can also select a custom time span. The selected months will be displayed in darker color below the graph and you’ll see sums for the entire period.

Filter by category, tag, account, location

You can zero-in on specific data you’re interested in and want to see over a longer period of time.

Let’s say you want to know how your spending on Food & Drinks varies in time. Tap on the Filter icon in the upper right corner, select “Expense categories” from the menu, then tap “SELECT” and choose “Food & Drinks”. Return to the graph by tapping the “back” arrow in the upper left corner. Your spending data is now filtered to only display the expenses for the Food & Drinks category, so you can see how it varies through the year.

You can narrow it down even further by selecting a tag. Do the same in the “Expense tags” section and you can see how much you spent only on restaurants, alcohol, groceries, or a combination of multiple tags.

You don’t have to pick only one filter. They can be combined. For example, you can set it to only show expenses paid with MasterCard (financial account), for Leisure (category), for books, movies and music (tags), in HMV Manchester Arndale (location).

The filtering is global, so it will work with all the data in your Toshl app. Any filter that’s applied will be displayed above the graph, and the excluded categories, tags, etc., will be written in strikethrough.

Estimates and planned expenses

You’ll notice that the future months on the graph aren’t as colorful. That doesn’t mean that the future isn’t bright, just a bit hazy for now.

The semi-transparent columns in future months can display your planned entries, future estimates or both.

Planned entries

These are the expenses, incomes and transfers you have already entered for the future, or were generated automatically based on the repeating entry settings that you have set for your finances. We advise to add as many of these as you can possibly predict. They will help you plan your future months and help you keep the financial stress down to a minimum.

These planned entries can be set to be displayed in your graph. You can adjust this by tapping the Time span icon in the upper right corner, selecting a month to review, and setting the switch for “Show planned expenses in graphs” to ON or OFF. This will also affect other graphs in Toshl.

Estimates

Estimates project your past trends in earning and spending into the future. This provides you with a rough guide of what to expect from your balances, spending, earnings and net worth in the upcoming months, if the current trends continue as they have so far.

Since the estimates are based on your past data, the more time you’ve been tracking your finances with Toshl, the more precise they can become. We will also continue improving the algorithm for this feature, so it will become better at estimating your spending patterns.

You can switch the “Include future estimates” option ON or OFF in the filtering menu, on the bottom of the page.

Toshl monster plays it smart and plans for the future. Join in!

Posted in iOS Tutorials, Tutorials

Christmas Is Coming!

There are two ways you can react to the title of this post. You can be joyful or you could start stressing out. According to research, the happiness and dread of christmas holidays are two of the most intense general feelings so we are getting ready for christmas a bit early this year.

Several researchers are noticing that christmas shopping is one of the most stressful events throughout the year and there are several reasons for the induction of stress – from money worries to the social pressure, from the feeling of urgency to the feeling of guilt.

We are offering some tips on christmas budgeting and gift planning which we hope will make the next festive season…well… festive!

45 days rule

It all starts with planning as we abide to the 45 days rule where you plan for events that are happening 45 days in the future. This rule has several beneficial effects:

Keep it together

First thing is that you are not under any pressure. I mean OK, you still do not know what to get for your aunt, but that will not change. Aunt Clarice is just a mystery to you and no amount of planning will change that. But other than that, you can rest assured that planning that far in advance will be less stressful compared to last-minute shopping.

Be thorough

By keeping it together and planning your christmas shopping in autumn, you can give more thought to your naughty or nice list. I mean sure, Santa probably has some hard-core elf algorithm working for him, but you can do the same thing by making a list and thinking it through. No fast reckless last-minute decisions!

Be thoughtful

The 45 days period gives you enough time to check if the planned gift really works for the giftee. Sure you can make some mistakes by planning a gift that later on turns out to be a complete fail, but panic buying in the first week of December increases that possibility many times over.

Toshl tip

You can set custom reminders in Toshl so that you will get a nudge when the time for planning comes. Also attached to the reminder will be a cute monster, specialized in friendly guilt-tripping if you do not obey.

Step 1: Make a list of people

This should be straightforward enough. Write down the names of all the people who are getting gifts this year. Separate them according to the nature of your relationship (that way you can be thoughtful of your business associates and partners as well) to help you decide on the nature of the gifts.

Toshl tip

We are a money tracking app so people are not our speciality. However, we have one tip – you can tag your expenses by person so you will know exactly how much are you spending on friends who do not return your phone calls.

Step 2: Make a gift list

You have to decide on the type of gifts you are giving out, whether these are customed per person, customed per type of relationship or general across the board. This will come in handy when you come upon a person that is on the receiving end but you are not quite sure what to give them.

Toshl tip

Did you know you can add different costs under the same name? Handy in-app calculator and currency exchanger helps you when entering gifts from foreign countries.

Step 3: Make a budget

Now you are ready for a budget. Use the results of step 1 and 2 combined with the general state of your personal finances to figure out the perfect amount you are going to spend this year.

Bear in mind that gifts are a predefined social norm and they are based upon agreements within a specific social group, so do not feel weird about planning them collectively. Asking someone what do they want for Christmas usually reveals surprising choices you have not thought of which are very often nicer on your budget.

Toshl tip

Toshl offers budgeting for individual financial goals where you can set budgets, create special accounts and notifications that tell you when you reach your goal.

Step 4: Get creative with wrapping paper

Every year we spend a ton of money on wrapping paper which then gets discarded promptly. Instead you can replace it with newspapers, plain boxes or other containers you already have. Stuff is getting recycled anyway, might as well use is appropriately. On the other hand, you can dedicate a special gift container for each person so that they can look forward to the same box (but hopefully not the gift) every year!

Toshl tip

You can track you current annual expenses for buying wrapping paper and then marvel at the savings when you switch to a more eco-friendly solution.

Step 5: Avoid Christmas sales

Yep. By planning your gifts in advance you will more easily avoid christmas sales which are bad for you. Worse than smoking!

By participating you are actually doing more harm than good – you are participating in a hysteria-inducing event which makes you blind to the fact that a) the prices usually go up just before the sales b) items on sale are usually not the latest editions and c) you are caught in a whirlwind that causes you to buy things you really do not want or need.

Toshl tip

By planning for Christmas in advance you might realise you actually have the extra cash to spend on Christmas Sales. You can also set individual budgets for the sales or marvel at the savings by ignoring them completely.

There are also other ways to save on Christmas shopping. You can focus on meetings rather than things or organize a christmas recycling exchange. You can also pull the break and go frugal or change the ways you pay attention to people during the holidays.

Posted in Budgeting, Tips & Tricks