Bill Reminder "estimate average amount" not working

When creating or editing a Bill Reminder, it is possible to enter the "Amount due" as a variable amount ("estimated amount") as calulcated by the average of the "last X payments" where X = 1-6.

This is a great feature, and the amount due is calulcated as expected *at the time of creation/edit*. The issue is that this value never changes. So for example, I have utility bills where the amount due varies wildly depending on the season and use "last 3 months" to calculate the estimated amount due. However, this value is never re-calculated, so how far the "amount due" is off depends on the time of year and typical seasonal usage of said utility.

Perhaps this behavior could be fixed/enhanced by having Quicken re-calculate the estimated amount due every time a new bill is entered in to the register? That would make the estimated amount much more accurate on a monthly basis.

Thank you for your consideration.
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  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2021
    Are these "Manual" bill reminders? In my experience, with Manual reminders Quicken does exactly what you are requesting - If you set the estimated amount due to Previous payments and pick N months, the estimated amount is set to the average of the last N months' payments. It may not let you make this choice if you are just getting started, because it does not have the historical data to work with.

    Also if you skip reminders, for example when you have not used a credit card and the payment due is zero, the zero does not get included in the average. 

    And, for utility bills that vary by season, I usually set the estimated amount to "Time of year" and it uses the payment from 12 months ago as the estimate. One issue with this is that it apparently has a +/- 7 day window when searching for the year-ago payment. If your actual payment was outside that range, it does not find last year's payment and it sets the estimate to 0.

    For example, I have a reminder for 11/11 with the estimate set for "Time of year". If last year's payment was before 11/4 or after 11/18, the estimate is zero. 

    QWin Premier subscription
  • steven.kerns
    steven.kerns Member ✭✭
    This seems like a bug rather than a feature request. It should enter an amount based on the previous payments. It doesn't work. Even when I edit the reminder to generate a new estimate and change the amount, it doesn't save the changed amount when I save. So it's doubly broken.
  • CraigR
    CraigR Member ✭✭
    Ditto what the steven March 18 comment states. This feature does not work. For example, I have a cell phone bill that is the same each month give a take change. Using this feature back 2,3,4 payments is way off. My last 5 payments have been $200-$201 give or take. With this feature set to last 3 payments, the payment comes back as 176.97. Not even close!
  • Scooterlam
    Scooterlam SuperUser, Windows Beta Beta
    My bill reminder estimates (both "estimate average amount" and "time of year") are working as expected, which include updates to the estimate as new payments are made.   I cant trap any errors.    That's not to say there isn't a problem for you still.  

    Further to @Jim_Harman comment on the seasonal date window, you should double check that the Payee name in the register is exactly the same, for each payment you expect to see in the calculation.  Yes, you would normally expect this because you're using reminders!

    But, If you happened to modify the Payee name (even slightly) during the time you paid the bill (entered into the register from the reminder window) or modified the Payee name sometime after the payment is in the register,  or later added an additional Payee payment with a slightly different name,  this entry will not show up in the calculation.    

    Also,  note that future payments that are entered into the register are included in the next month's estimated payment calculation, provided the Payee name is exactly correct.

    Just some things to double check.

  • gregorylu
    gregorylu Member ✭✭
    I have a similar problem. My estimates work fine as long as I specify two or more previous periods (e.g., months) to average. However, the estimate won't calculate if I enter only one previous period to average. I prefer to do a previous 1-month average instead of entering a fixed amount on the reminder since many services such as streaming subscriptions "up" their monthly fee from time to time. If the amount changes, and I correct it when entering the bill reminder into my register, the 1-month average would automatically pick up the change and correct all future reminders without my having to edit the reminder and enter a new fixed amount every time. However, Q doesn't recognize the most recent payment amount change to the register. The reminder will continue to project the payment amount when the reminder was first entered, even if subsequent payments are changed one or more times.
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Are you recording the scheduled reminder first, as is, even if the amount isn't correct, and then later edit the register transaction to change the amount?
    I believe that's where the fly lies in the ointment, so to speak, because an after-the-fact amount change does not update the reminder's average amount calculation.
    You need to wait until you know the new bill's correct amount and record the reminder with the correct amount.
  • gregorylu
    gregorylu Member ✭✭
    Your scenario is correct. As an example, on a recurring $20 credit card charge, I will move the item from "reminder" to a register entry a few days before the due date. When the charge posts at the bank and One Step Update downloads the cleared item to Q, I won't get a match on it if the amount has unexpectedly increased, let's say to $22. I edit the register item, change the amount to $22, the item changes to "matched" and I accept it. My system may not be typical (entering expected payments before the exact amount is known), but I disagree with your analysis. It's a method I've used for years, and the averaging code/logic works fine for all periods greater than "1".
  • MatBre
    MatBre Member
    This has irritated me for years. Once you set an estimated bill based on a certain number of passed bills (the max is 6, showed be 12) it will not change unless you delete the reminder and create a new own.