Category: Tutorials

Hint: Zero-in on a location. All you need is a comma.

A new feature gradually appeared in the Toshl Finance apps in the recent months. Wondering if you’ve noticed it already?

 

Let’s say you’re adding a location to your expense or income, but are already far away from the place where the purchase happened. Normally, Toshl suggests closest places around you. When you search, it will also search for venues in an about 30 kilometre radius. That can be quite useless when already further away.

 

That’s why you can now specify the town or city where the expense took place. Simply type-in the name of the venue you’re looking for, add a comma (,) and add the town or city where the venue is.

 

For example, let’s look for a pub called “Godec” in Ljubljana*, the capital of Slovenia.

Search for: “Godec, Ljubljana”

 

location searching with town / city parameter

expense with foursquare location selected

 

There you go. Your beers can now be properly attributed to your purveyor of choice, even if you’ve only thought of noting it in Toshl the next day.

 

*Yeah, Ljubljana is actually spelled that way. Pronunciation isn’t that difficult though, just go with: “Loo-blah-nah”, like most locals do.

Posted in Android Tutorials, Announcements, iOS Tutorials, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Two-Factor Authentication and How to Use It

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security for accessing your Toshl user account. You would normally log in to Toshl with your email and password, or using the Facebook and Google log in options. That’s the first authentication factor.

When you activate two-factor authentication, Toshl will ask you for another code before you can log in. That authentication code is a 6-digit number, which you get from a special app on your phone or computer.

The authentication code is generated automatically according to an algorithm. Unlike your password, the authentication code changes every 30 seconds. That means you’ll always need the authentication app on your phone present to log in.2-factor authentication Toshl web app

 

 

Why is two-factor authentication important?

It makes it much harder for someone to gain unauthorized access to your account. While protecting your account with a good password is usually enough, there can be circumstances where such an extra security barrier is very useful.

For example, if you used the same password on another service which gets hacked, the details can leak revealing your password. Perhaps someone can guess your password or gain access to your Facebook or Google account. In such cases, someone could try logging in with that password to Toshl as well.

If you have two-factor authentication enabled and set up on your phone, they would also need physical access to your unlocked phone to be able to log in, which would likely prevent them from accessing your Toshl account.

While two-factor authentication provides an important extra layer of security, it’s still important to take basic security precautions:

  • Use hard to guess passwords, which are also long enough to be difficult to guess with automatic attempts.
  • Do not use the same password on several services.
  • Always log out of Toshl when using it on devices used by multiple people, or on devices which you leave unlocked.
  • Lock your devices with a code/password.

Toshl monster with a number and shut mouth

 

 

How do I set up two-factor authentication?

  1. Go to toshl.com and Log in.
  2. Go to user settings (Me) in the main menu and turn ON the option Two-factor authentication.

  1. A wizard will open, guiding you through the process.
  2. Download an authentication app on your phone.
  3. Add a new code in that app by scanning the QR code on your screen.
  4. Download the file with recovery codes. This is important. In case you lose your phone, these codes will enable you to log in. Save them in a safe place.

text file recovery codes download icon

  1. Type in the newly generated code to Toshl to confirm all is working well and finish activating two-factor authentication.
  2. Great success! Much rejoicing. 2-factor authentication is now active whenever you log in.

great success bathing suit monster

 

 

What are these authentication apps? Which ones can I use with Toshl?

This kind of two-factor authentication follows a common standard, so there are a whole bunch of apps which can help you with generating these authentication codes, once you set it up like described above.

Below are some popular authentication apps that we found useful. You can use others as well, just make sure you pick one from a trustworthy developer.

Google Authenticator (Android, iOS)

Microsoft Authenticator (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

Authy (Android, iOS)

 

Password managers with support for two-factor authentication codes

1Password

LastPass

 

Do I have to enter this every time? Which Toshl apps demand the extra code?

You have to enter the code every time you log in, provided you were logged out before.

The web app will require the extra code whenever you log in anew. If you check the “Remember me” option when logging in, Toshl won’t request the two-factor code until the next time you Log out, or the session expires. So if you log in using “Remember me” then just close the browser without logging out, you likely don’t need to enter it again the next time you open toshl.com.

The mobile app will also require the extra code whenever you log in anew. So you just enter the two-factor code the first time you log into the app, then your log in is remembered unless you log out in user settings (Me) of the mobile app.

If you re-install the app or log out, you will need to enter it again.

two-factor authentication on the Toshl Finance Android app

It’s a good idea to lock the Toshl app with a passcode or fingerprint as well as your entire phone.

 

What if I lose my phone or accidentally delete the authentication app?

Try not to (👨‍✈️ salute to Captain Obvious). If you do, you can log in using the recovery codes you saved during the set up process.

It’s very important to save the recovery codes and store them in a safe place. Save them on your computer, external drive or even print them out, if you’re more certain you’ll find them that way later on.

Recover code 2 factor authentication Toshl web app

 

When Toshl asks you for the authentication code, click the option to log in using recovery codes. Enter it and log in. Each code can only be used once, so you have 10 log-ins with the codes available altogether.

If you permanently lost your phone or deleted the authentication app, go to user settings (Me), deactivate the two-factor authentication, then set it up again using the new device/app.

 

Why not send authentication codes via SMS?

We realize that’s what a lot of other services do, but that way is less secure. It depends on your mobile phone service provider, but in lots of cases it didn’t take much social engineering for dedicated hackers to convince them to transfer the phone number to another SIM card. That way, your authentication codes could be intercepted without you even knowing. There have been cases of this happening in the past.

 

 

monster with a safe

Posted in Android Tutorials, iOS Tutorials, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Financial Planning (Web App)

Know your past spending and earning patterns, plan for the future. This is what the Planning graph is all about.

There are 4 different tabs on top, to help with different parts of your financial plan.

 

Balance – monthly balance of incomes and expenses

This balance is separate for every month and is calculated like this: “incomes this monthexpenses this month” = “monthly balance“. For total balance in all time, see the net worth graph.

Staying above the 0 line is crucial. At least on a yearly average, if it doesn’t exactly work out every month.

financial planning - monthly balance

 

Expenses – spending per month

Shows the sum of expenses each month, but can also be filtered to display spending on certain categories, tags, locations and financial accounts.

financial planning - expenses

 

Incomes – earnings per month

Shows the sum of incomes each month, but can also be filtered to display earnings on certain categories, tags and financial accounts.

financial planning - incomes

 

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.

financial planning - net worth (total account balance)

 

Click & hold for details and a lollipop

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

A “lollipop” will show up, displaying the exact value for the month.

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

financial planning - financial month details (lollipop)

toshl accounting monster with lollipop

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, it will include it in the calculation as well, so you’ll know how much you can spend while keeping within your budget limits.

 

Travel in time

14 months are shown on the graph. By default 8 past ones, the current month and 5 future months.

You can move through time by using the < > arrows on the left and right side of the graph or by using the general time span settings on the top of the page.

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.

financial planning - custom time span

 

 

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. Click on “Expense categories” in the right sidebar, “Select categories” and click “Food & Drinks”. The graph will immediately filter to show you only spending data 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.

financia planning - filer by account, category, tag, location

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).

This filtering is global, so it will work with all the data in Toshl apps. You can also turn off the filtering panel by clicking on top right, to reveal the expense list below. Any filter that’s applied will be displayed on the top right next to the filtering funnel icon. If no filters are applied, it will just say “All accounts”.

 

Estimates and planned expenses

You’ll notice that the future months aren’t as colorful on the graph. 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.

financial planning - estimates and planned entries

 

Planned entries

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

These planned entries can be set to display in the graph or not. You can set this by clicking the month on the top of the page, then setting the switch for Planned ON or OFF. This will also affect other graphs in Toshl.

 

Estimates

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

As it’s based on your past data, the more time you’ve been tracking your finances with Toshl, the more precise they can become. We’ll also be improving the algorithm for this over time, so it will become better at guessing your spending patterns.

You can switch estimates ON or OFF in the filtering sidebar on the right side of the graph.

 

 

The Planning feature is available with Toshl Pro. Manage and save money better for the price of a coffee per month.

Improving and maintaining apps takes resources and time. By upgrading, you’re supporting the future development of Toshl Finance. Thank you!

Posted in Tips & Tricks, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Plan ahead in 2017

It’s time to sink our teeth into 2017. Financially and otherwise. Perhaps only sink your teeth into 2017 literally if you have a very tasteful calendar or thoroughly enjoy cellulose.

There are a few very simple things you can do to plan ahead, avoid unpleasant financial surprises and can thus afford to eat things tastier than paper throughout the year.

 

1. Add all regular expenses you can predict in 2017

Fill in as many expenses as you can in advance. No worries if you don’t have the exact right amount yet. Add an expense with the approximate amount and set a reminder, so you don’t forget to edit in the exact amount later on.

Think about which expenses repeat regularly, be it every month, once a year or every few weeks. If they repeat in the same period every time, add them as repeating expenses.

Here are a few examples:

  • transport costs (car registration, regular car maintenance, public transport fees)
  • rent, house maintenance
  • loans, mortgages, car payments
  • utilities (heating, electricity, internet)
  • content subscriptions (streaming, cable, music, web services, publications)
  • education fees
  • gym, leisure activities, seal clubbing club membership fees

 

2. Add budgets for your variable spending

There’s also spending that’s harder to predict as it’s more irregular and subject to your current whim, making it a lot more difficult to plan in advance. Things like going for coffee, eating out in restaurants, impulsively buying a herd of reindeer, deciding to work on your own nuclear fusion reactor…

While the latter two might be just me, I’m sure you can find plenty of examples where your impulsive spending can take you overboard.

Those areas are perfect for setting up budgets for the variable spending you want to keep in check. It’s easy to do, just set a budget to track an individual category or tag to make sure those areas don’t get out of control.

A few examples of such budgets:

  • Monthly budgets for Food & Drinks, or perhaps just “restaurants”, “alcohol” or “coffee & tea
  • Monthly budget for Leisure or some of your past time tags in particular
  • Yearly budget for Transport, especially for leisurely petrol-heads
  • Yearly budget for tobacco can be especially helpful if you’re trying to quit smoking, the large yearly numbers might just shock you enough to stop

Find out more on How to set up the budgets (Web, Android, iOS) and How to use the budgets (Web, Android, iOS) in general.

While it’s good to have those figures under control, let yourself room for some treats once in a while. Being a “bon-vivant” might even help you save on your health bills in the long run due to lower stress. 😉

 

 

3. Make a financial buffer

You should have a healthy financial cushion or a financial buffer in other words, so you can weather any storms that might come up. Having 3 months worth of incomes saved up is a good basic start, but try to increase that amount gradually as you go along. Knowing that you can survive for at least half a year even if you loose your job will make you breathe a lot more easily. With the full realisation this is often easier said than done, this should be a goal you strive to, so unexpected financial events don’t throw you off your balance.

Making a special financial account in Toshl for this purpose is a good idea, just make sure you have this money actually saved up and can get to it rather quickly if the need arises.

 

4. Save in advance

Don’t forget to save for the big stuff in advance. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you about your big financial goals like buying a house or an apartment, buying a car etc.

Fusion reactors also don’t come cheap, but your government is likely already making you save a bit for those collectively. Good call.

Don’t forget about the smaller, but still quite considerable purchases that come up often. You’ll probably want to take a holiday in 2017. If you haven’t yet, the time to start planning for this is now.

Start a new financial account for your “Holiday savings” or “New flat”. If you already have something saved up for it, enter an initial balance. Then, add a regularly repeating transfer from your main bank account to your savings account. Setting a reminder here can help you remember to actually put that money on the side every month.

See: How to set up your finances – including financial accounts (Web, Android, iOS)

 

5. See what’s ahead with Planning

We have a new feature for you that will help you better visualise the data that you have just entered and plan ahead in general. It’s called Planning and is currently available in Beta testing on toshl.com.

Planning will show you a full year’s view of your finances, making it a lot easier to learn from your financial past and plan for the future. You can see the past or projected balances for each individual month, how your net worth (sum of all accounts) grows or falls over time, as well as see monthly changes in expenses in incomes. Don’t forget you can also filter by category or tag to see how smaller parts of your spending vary with the seasons.

 

 

You can now see the effect of all your careful expense planning and saving from the previous steps. The columns for each month’s spending should be at least somewhat filled already with your fixed expenses. Naturally, more variable expenses will fill those months as well as time passes. Now you’ll at least have a basic frame of reference to see how much you can afford in discretionary spending once your fixed expenses and saving for the important things have been accounted for.

Don’t forget to check your past spending patterns in 2016 as well, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten something in your yearly financial cycle.

 

6. Don’t forget to have fun

I write “have fun” on my to do list every day, so I don’t forget about it and just remain miserable throughout the day. I’m lying of course, as I’d like to think I’m not a complete moron and do tend to gravitate towards some amusement on my own without constant prodding. The larger point I’m trying to make here, is that these financial planning steps are not an end in themselves. Sure, we need to keep our finances in check, but the aim here is to worry less, not more. With some basic thinking ahead like this, we can keep a lot more relaxed throughout the year and enjoy life to the fullest.

Here’s to life!

Posted in Budgeting, Personal finance, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials

How to Track Loans, Repay Debts and Deal with Your Friendly Neighbourhood Loanshark (iOS)

Toshl_2.0_monster_0057_58We have almost certainly all been there at some point – borrowing money, launder loaning money, forgetting about loans, etc. Be it a small amount for drinks, because you forgot your wallet, or a bigger sum because you chose to buy something expensive that you obviously really, really, really needed.

So, how to go about tracking and dealing with the dynamics of loaning and borrowing money? Fear not, for Toshl is here for you again, not in the money loaning business though, but in the business of helping to track loans and debts – or simply Hilfespurverleihenborgengeschäft, as the Germans would put it.

 

Track major debt repayments

Let’s say I want to buy a new Ferarri for $3200, but I am just $3100 short for it. What do I do? I go to a guy* I heard you can get a loan from, that hangs out behind the parking garage in the shady part of town every other night (because he has kids). I ask him for a donation towards my cause and after a few laughs, I promise I would pay him back in ten months with $1900 interest. I get the money, and now I have to settle the $5000 debt in ten months, which makes for $500 per month. Because I use Toshl, the best loan app around, I know this will be a piece of cake and I will not get my legs broken in the process.

 

1. Add income marking the received loan

I put the $3100 in Toshl as an income, category ‘Loans’, account ‘Cash’, plus I put ‘Drago’ in the description – which is supposedly the guy’s name and also means ‘expensive’ in some languages. Just so I can be precise when I tell my grandchildren about my first Ferrari.ios_inc1

Ok, we got the money, we got the income from the loan marked, now to go about tracking the debt.

 

2. Add a new account to track the repayment of debt

I make a new account for the debt, called ‘Drago’ and set up the initial balance as ‘-$5000’ which is the total amount of the debt, including the interest.
ios_adacios_acclist

 

3. Add transfers to note the debt repayments

To note the repayments as I return the money to Drago in monthly instalments, I make a transfer of $500 from account ‘Cash’ to account ‘Drago’, date it on the day of the first payment, set it up to repeat every month for ten months and set up reminders for it. Now I will be reminded to take the $500 to him every month, and the ‘Drago’ account will get out of red numbers over the ten months.ios_adtr

ios_not

That’s it!

 

Track smaller loans to friends

Let’s take a look at another, simpler case. Let’s say I lend $4.99 to a fellow car enthusiast for a little 1:100 plastic Ferrari model.

 

1. Note the loan as an expense

I give him the money, put it in Toshl as expense, category ‘Loans’, account ‘Cash’.

If this is a one-off loan, I can put the guy’s name in description. If I lend to this guy often, I could also put his name in a new tag on the expense. That way I can easily sum up everything he owes me.ios_adex

 

2. Note the loan repayment as an income

When he pays me back after seven and a half months, I just enter it as an income with appropriate tags, etc. This way I can always track borrowing and loaning entries.

Alternatively, I could just erase the loan expense, but that wouldn’t give me any insight on the loan later on.

ios_inc2

Bob’s your uncle! Use whichever method works best for you or be creative and invent your own system. That’s it for now from our secret volcano base, ta ta!

*Toshl does not recommend taking loans from random guys behind the parking garage, nor can we provide phone numbers of any specific guys providing such loans. A bank would probably still be a better bet, although their moral compasses might not be in much better shape, compared to the guy behind the parking garage.
Posted in Debt, iOS Tutorials, Personal finance, Tips & Tricks, Tutorials