Home Quicken for Windows Budgeting and Planning Tools (Windows)

Creating annual and monthly balanced budgets

Hello everyone...

I'm running Quicken 2017 on a PC - but really just have a few general questions about using the budget tool in Quicken.

1. Can someone help "orient" me to how budgets work in Quicken with regards moving beyond the setup?  Specifically, what is happening when I create a new budget (title) then switch the time period displayed from one year to the next?  I picked up Quicken mid-stream in 2016 and wanted to start out by building monthly budgets to close out the year (e.g, October monthly budget, November monthly budget, December monthly budget).  I did a nice set up for October's budget, but now November and December is getting a bit weird - I'm having difficulty understanding how to manage within the tool.  In the meantime, I've decided to prepare for 2017 by making a 2017 annual budget (which I have done), but I'm not clear on how this will play out when its time to manage that annual budget monthly.  I think I could really use some best practices from someone who uses the budget tools from Quicken - more detail that what Quicken provides on the tutorial videos.  It would be really great if there were a Quicken consultant out there to step me through the USE of the budgeting tool - not just the setup.

2.  I've seen another user post on this, but I would REALLY like to be able to run a zero-based budget out of Quicken on an annual basis as well as monthly.  Other than doing a "stare-and-compare" against my income items and personal expenses, has anyone found a clean way to see a budget "overrun" in Quicken easily?  If not, Quicken, this would be a great feature worth considering in a future iteration of the product!

Thanks to you all!

Tia

Comments

  • UnknownUnknown Member
    edited October 2018
    The very first thing I would suggest is that you switch to the annual view at least until you get things setup.  If is the first or second pull down menu (second if you have more than one budget).
    This view will allow you to see future/past months so you can see what is going on without all the switching of months you might do on the Graph View.

    Also when you first create a budget Quicken looks at your past spending, and makes guesses at that the budget numbers should be.  This can pull in some numbers that you might disagree with.  It is just a starting point, and in fact most likely you will want to go through and change pretty much all of them.

    Also in both views you should be aware of these icons (when you select a category):
    image
    The first a graph of past spending.
    The gear icon lets you do things like copy the current value to other months.
    The last indicator is if the rollover function is on or not.  As in will the surplus or deficit be rollover to the next month.  Note that when the balance showing for a category with rollovers on, you can click on the balance amount to see the amount of the rollover and change it if need be.

    On the question about the time frame on the Graph view.  Normally that would be in Monthly, but if you set it to say year to date then it would give the totals up to the current month.
    Note for dates that include the future (including on the Annual view) there is an option to include your reminders or not.
    Budget Actions -> View Options -> Include reminders

    There isn't any "quick" indications on if you have zeroed out a budget other than looking at the balances.  But the color bars do indicate if you have exceeded the budget or not (Green and red).
    On the Graph view the overall status would be the top bar.  On the Annual view there is a green/red bar above each month.
  • UnknownUnknown Member
    edited October 2018
    Thanks for these suggestions and feedback.

    I think I'll follow your approach - set up the annual budget in the annual view, then work down the monthly actuals as they come through.  

    Now, I've set up my 2017 budgets - what if I want to go and situate December 2016.  Do I just set up December as a completely separate budget?
  • UnknownUnknown Member
    edited December 2016

    Thanks for these suggestions and feedback.

    I think I'll follow your approach - set up the annual budget in the annual view, then work down the monthly actuals as they come through.  

    Now, I've set up my 2017 budgets - what if I want to go and situate December 2016.  Do I just set up December as a completely separate budget?

    It is up to you if you should use multiple budgets or not.  Note that the budgets "add a year at a time", but are not limited to one year.

    For instance I have my budget setup for this year.  Well the moment I access it next year or right now select to go to next year, it will ask if I want to extend it into that year.  You can extend both backwards and forwards in time.  But be aware of the fact that once extended into another year you can't truncate it, short of going to a backup of your data file.

    I believe that if you create a budget right now it will pick the budget amounts for the past months in this year as balanced with your actuals.  So that would make for a good start on just adding December.
  • JimTrackJimTrack Member ✭✭
    edited April 2017
    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    JimTrack said:

    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        

    Jim, how do you get the data for your spreadsheet?
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • JimTrackJimTrack Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    JimTrack said:

    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        

    I use the previous years spreadsheet as a template to start. I then run a previous year's Cash Flow report and select columns by month from Quicken. I use this as a guideline to forecast my spending for the next year by category. The first year I did this I ran the same report but used the Export option on the report. This creates a file you can import into Excel. I imported (Opened) this into Excel. The new spreadsheet had all the categories from Quicken by month. You will have to do some formatting and sum the rows in Excel but once you have it done it's easy to reuse each year.        
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    JimTrack said:

    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        

    Thanks for the info!
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • UnknownUnknown Member
    edited October 2018
    Is there a good way to track certain expenses on a yearly, rather than a monthly basis?  Most budget items are monthy...  Auto, food, utilities, etc.  But some are more of a yearly thing.  Like, a vacation budget.  I'd like to see how much of my annual vacation budget I have LEFT.  i.e., sort of like a countdown.  Same would apply to a healthcare savings account.

    Is there a good way to set these annual budgets up?
  • UnknownUnknown Member
    edited January 2017
    emarzock said:

    Is there a good way to track certain expenses on a yearly, rather than a monthly basis?  Most budget items are monthy...  Auto, food, utilities, etc.  But some are more of a yearly thing.  Like, a vacation budget.  I'd like to see how much of my annual vacation budget I have LEFT.  i.e., sort of like a countdown.  Same would apply to a healthcare savings account.

    Is there a good way to set these annual budgets up?

    Well for a "count down" you could just put the total yearly amount into January and then just select to turn on the rollover for that category.  Each month whatever hasn't been spent in that category will just rollover into the next month.

    But in the case of a healthcare savings savings account I think I would be more inclined to use an actual account.  As in you probably put money in it over the course of the year, and draw out from it during the year.  I did that with my flexible savings account.  Of course that was a bit strange in the sense that I could actually draw out more than I had put up to that point in the year, so it could actually go negative and be fine.  And at the end of the year if I hadn't spent it all it I just did a balance adjustment on it to zero it out.  So the funding of this was nothing more than a transfer from my paycheck.  And when I spent some of the money I just put the transaction for the expense in that account.  It gets a bit harder if you actual pay with a different account, like a checking account.
  • Meri McCoy-ThompsonMeri McCoy-Thompson Member
    edited April 2017
    JimTrack said:

    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        

    Jim--to put your budget from Excel to Quicken, do you enter the numbers by hand or is there an easier way to to do it? 
  • JimTrackJimTrack Member ✭✭
    edited April 2017
    JimTrack said:

    I've also used Quicken Budgets for several years now. I do the same thing QuicknPerlWiz suggested and start with the annual view until things are set. For me I've found it's easier to start a new budget each year. I've also found it easier using an Excel spreadsheet to figure out my budget for the next year first. The spreadsheet's more flexible for doing "What Ifs" as I determine my overall spending goals. Once I have the budget nailed down I input it into a Quicken Budget using the Annual view. "Apply xxx budget forward to the end of the year" within the gear icon works great for those categories with the same amount each month. Once you’re done you can track actual vs. budget by month, year to date etc. The Monthly Planning view shows you how much is left for the month by category and turns red if you are over in that category.        

    I've always just entered it by hand. I like to maintain the spreadsheet during the year to help with re-forecasting (Typically after tax season).  
This discussion has been closed.