How to use Zen-Money for tracking expenses and income

Nowadays, there are numerous virtual accounting assistants available for efficient financial management and small business operations. Zenmoney is one such free and secure application. It enables users to track their finances and plan ahead. The main difference is its automatic functionality that requires minimal input. The service overview, strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities are all detailed below.


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Features and Benefits

Zen Money is a free version of a well-known application. Its main function is financial security. The main difference from other similar services is its independence from banks.

Features:

  • synchronization with various software;
  • option to create accounts (starting with "Debts", "Cash", "Cards");
  • recognition of financial transactions on different operating systems;
  • lack of synchronization with certain financial organizations that do not inspire users' confidence.

In the latter case, SMS recognition can be used.

Categories can be selected individually, as well as created your own.

The "Zen Money" app is used in family matters, enterprise accounting, small business (the official website confirms this).

Advantages: technological service, ability to scan codes, receipt reporting, good technical support in case of unforeseen circumstances, presence of numerous user forums.

Account Setup and First Actions

Before starting work, you need to configure your personal account and, if necessary, apply for a full subscription. Registration will not take much time, and you can download the application from the Play Market in just a few minutes.

Detailed step-by-step instructions for further actions:

  • Adding accounts. All deposits, cards, and loans are added separately. However, the categories "Cash" and "Cards" are available in the service. The rest can be added in 3 ways: via SMS for Android platforms, from an online bank, and manually for desktop versions on a laptop or computer.
  • Specify the amount of funds in the accounts. It is possible to adjust the balances by going to "History" and clicking the red plus at the bottom of the screen, then selecting "Adjust Balance".
  • Adding a transaction plan. This point should be approached carefully. It is based on this plan that data is collected and an expense calendar is created, as well as widgets in the "Overview" section. Here, you need to specify options for salary receipts and mandatory payments (utilities, mobile communication, internet, mortgage, and others). To add, you also need to use history and the red plus, as well as the corresponding category.
  • Configuring widgets in the "Overview" section.
  • Adding an additional login. This is necessary for joint business management and account security. The procedure is simple: "Settings", "Joint (Family) Account", "Add New User".

If everything is done correctly, access to accounts will be opened almost instantly. You can start managing income and investments!

Accounts (Cards, Deposits, Loans, etc.)

The program has the concept of "Balance". It represents the funds that the user lives on during the month. Ideally, it should be positive.

Credit cards are added to the corresponding category. There is an option in the settings to specify the credit limit. And in the current balance, the amount of debt must be indicated with a minus sign. If there is no debt, then it should be indicated as 0.

The purpose of the credit limit:

  • calculation of available funds;
  • understanding the balance when adding transactions.

Loans (consumer, car, or mortgage) are accounted for based on the conditions specified during registration. Namely: the payment date set by the bank, the amount of debt, the term, and the corresponding interest rate. Do not forget about the type of lending.

When repaying part of the loan ahead of schedule, adjustments to the accounts must be made in the personal account. There are 2 ways to account for deposits: by default (the account equals the amount of the debt and interest for the entire period) and manually.

Expense, Income, and Debt Tracking

So, how to use this application on a computer or other device? Debts are added as regular transactions. To close them, new additional operations are needed. The list of all debtors is reflected in the accounts category.

Debts can be closed in two ways: by finding the operation and changing the expense status in the "Accounts" category, or by adding a return operation.

Tracking someone else's funds is simple: list them as a debt and record expenses as partial repayment.

Partial or full refund of a purchase:

  • This is neither income nor expense. It should be recorded as debt to the store.
  • For a full refund, use the expense operation at the store.
  • For a partial refund, reduce the amount of the desired operation.
Initially, the Zen Money service was developed for personal (family) finance management and is not well suited for simultaneous tracking of personal finance and business.

Syncing with Banks, Adding Operations from SMS

The program allows you to connect to a bank using a simple phone for synchronization.

To do this, go to the accounts category. Click the plus button. Add a connection to the financial organization. Some parameters can be adjusted in the personal account.

What to do if operations from SMS are not added

What if the connection to operations via phone did not happen? First, check the SMS log. Then consider the red text below the SMS. The further course of action depends on the wording.

Here are some popular captions:

  • "Unknown account". Click on the phrase, opening the menu. If the desired account and bank are available, simply select "Link to Account". If not, use the "Create Account" option.
  • "Unknown sender" or "Unknown format". In the menu, select "Send SMS to Developers". The issue will be resolved within a day.
  • "Recognition disabled". Enable the corresponding function in the account settings or during receipt settings.
  • "Tap to recognize". For Android MIUI, use SMS or security block settings. For Huawei phones, add the application to the list of protected categories. For Lenovo, follow the instructions in the SMS pop-up. If you have SMS Go Pro, disable other notifications in the settings.

If everything is done correctly, the connection will be established soon.

Widgets in the Overview Section

Now let's discuss how to correctly set up and use widgets.

Budget by the 50/20/30 Rule

The ratio mentioned in the title provides financial security and stable income in the future. In essence, this is the goal to strive for.

Each income should be divided into 3 parts:

  • 50% for mandatory expenses - basic needs.
  • 20% for debts or savings.
  • 30% for motivation in the form of gifts, hobbies, or for solving unforeseen situations.
For tracking in this widget, the platform allows for marking each category as mandatory or optional. In addition, a savings account can be set up through the settings in the corresponding category.

Monthly income can be calculated based on planned transactions.

That means you don't have to keep all the planned processes in mind - Zen Money will take care of it automatically!

Expense Limit by Period

This is necessary in order to stay within the budget.

What does it do? There are several options:

  • calculate the amount of funds;
  • show available finances (balance until the end of the period and during the current day).
Two options are often used: from paycheck to paycheck - the name speaks for itself; until the next money transfer (in case of salary and advance).

There are 2 formulas for calculation: per day and by the cumulative total method. The first one determines the average daily value. The second one is calculated based on the ratio of planned transactions for a week and the number of days, current transactions, and the remaining limit.

Free Money

Free money is the balance before the paycheck, if there will be spending only on regular expenses.

Formula: Balance - Regular and Planned Payments = Free Money.

All recurring payments are considered regular. They are calculated automatically based on the transaction history.

It is recommended to exclude loans and deposits from the overall balance for data accuracy.

This information helps to understand the amount of money that can be spent on oneself.

Budget and Goals

Goals are currently only available in the web version of zenmoney.ru (in the "Budget and Goals" section). If goals are added through a computer, they will not be displayed in the mobile application.

Family Account

Zen Money makes it easy to manage a family budget.

A family account is needed if:

  • you need to plan and manage a joint budget;
  • you need to monitor children;
  • you need to assist parents or relatives.
There is no need to pay an additional subscription fee to connect family members to the account.

In other words, the existing subscription is automatically extended to relatives and their accounts. Premium functionality will also be available on all devices, provided that it is enabled.

How Zen Money Differs from Competitors

In addition to the web service, there are also native mobile applications. There is the ability to recognize SMS from banks.

Automatic data import to electronic wallets if most transactions go through them. In family accounting, each family member has their own personal accounts.

Thus, the official Zen Money website provides guidelines that can help find optimal solutions for the current situation. Analytics shows the directions of fund (credit) spending, statistics for past periods suggest accounts for non-obligatory expenses (manicure), and the plan reveals the whole arrangement.

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