How much automation is too much?

robotMvelopes has some great automation tools built in so that you can simplify your spending management, but how much automation is too much? If you automatically assign all of your transactions, do you lose the emotional tie to your spending?

It’s great to automate your spending management and reduce the amount of time that you spend assigning transactions, but it’s also important that you stay in close touch with your spending levels and envelope balances.  Our Money for Life Coaches are often asked for tips on how to keep better track of their envelope balances; This can be extra challenging if you auto-assign all of your transactions.

The auto-assign functionality is perfect for transactions such as your mortgage payment, utilities bills, insurance payments, etc.   These envelopes are often funded with the exact amount of the bill, and assigning one transactions usually will take the balance to zero.

However, for discretionary envelopes (such as groceries, dining out, fuel, or entertainment), the process of assigning transactions manually to each envelope can help you to keep better track of your spending and envelope balances. When you manually assign the transaction, you can see the balance reduce with each and every transaction.  This process can be valuable in creating heightened awareness of your current envelope balances.  This awareness will also help you to plan ahead better for the expenses that you still have coming during the month. Knowing exactly how much you have left to spend and how long it needs to last, are keys to making the envelope budgeting system work effectively.

– Jennifer Streiff

[photo courtesy of flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0]