What is your best practice for getting into the habit?

I'm terrible about keeping up with my finances on a regular basis.  But I really want to change that and gain some control over my money and my future.

So I'm taking a poll.  In all the time you have been using Quicken, what really works best for you when it comes to getting into a rhythm with Quicken and really making it work for you month-over-month and year-over-year?

For example: 

How often do you do online updates?  Yes, I do them.  Do you update different accounts in different frequencies, or do you just update all of 'em at once?  How much time do you spend reviewing transactions after an online update?  That last one I dread almost as much as folding my laundry... 

How often do you reconcile?  Or do you reconcile?  And what do you reconcile (checking only, or do you include credit card transactions and investments too?).

How often do you do a budget?

How often do you check in on your financial situation?

I'd really like to know what works for people.  I really haven't yet figured out what works for me, so maybe I can learn something from others.
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Comments

  • R V GuptaR V Gupta Member
    edited January 2018
    I am using Quicken since 90's. It is an unparallel, quickest software for personal accounting available throughout the computer as well mobile platform. Every body must use it.
  • DebtectomyDebtectomy Member
    edited June 2018
    Well of course everybody must use it.  :)

    But what I'm looking for here is what habits or practices have you adopted that give you the most success, with the program and with your financial life?

    Thank you for your reply!
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited December 2018
    Online updates:


    *Once a week


    *All accounts


    *Minimal time reviewing, just matching to already entered transactions



    Reconciling:


    *Once per month aligned with the monthly statement


    *Reconcile checking and credit cards


    *Investments just compare share balances with brokerages



    Budgets:


    Only for testing purposes. As long as the income exceeds the spending, I don't want to micromanage with a budget.



    Financial situation checking:


    Depends on what you mean by situation. Reconciling and scheduling bills for payment happens weekly. Tax planning about once per month. Check and update Lifetime Plan about twice a year. Random research on various topics as needed.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser
    edited November 2018
    Online Updates - at least monthly to twice monthly for all key accounts (bank and key credit cards)

    Reconciling - at least monthly for bank account for maintaining visibility to cash flow. Others, as time permits, but definitely do ALL accounts for tax time (at least the ones that impact taxes)...(though I am currently behind almost 2 yrs, ugh, so in practice I go through fits and spurts, sometimes I am up to date every month and other times I am processing many months at a time).

    Budgets / Financial situation - tried budgets a few times but find that though I track a lot of details, I want to be able to budget at much higher level, with larger buckets, but because I have so many categories, Quicken Budgeting is very tedious for me, so I take more of a cash flow perspective, first checking that inflow exceeds outflow, then tracking the approximate extra monthly and yearly, balanced with occasion review of certain categories via comparison reports...

    Financial Situation - for day to day, I heavily rely on Scheduled transactions (over 150) and the Forecast / Projected balances graph and monitor that almost daily. Longer term, well, not enough time for that...Easier to do with bank accounts, but harder with credit cards where there is far more discretionary or fluctuated spending.

    But when I am on top of everything, I like to perform manual data entry at least weekly, for things that cannot be scheduled (or a little more for cash expenses when needed), and reconcile all accounts monthly...more frequent updating is too much micromanagement for my taste.

    A couple of tips: 
    • I have found that a large part of discretionary spending is made up of small purchases, especially cash...so I like to put as much as possible through credit cards...makes for better record keeping and easier cash flow management, since payments are monthly.
    • once you have enough data and history, you should be able to get a good handle on your monthly "budget" to possibly not need to rely on an actual budget...of course this depends on how tight your "budget" needs to be...the more you live paycheque to paycheque the more frequent scrutiny might be needed.
    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (QM2007, Canadian user since '92)
    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • ClaytonClayton Member
    edited January 2018

    Online Updates - at least monthly to twice monthly for all key accounts (bank and key credit cards)

    Reconciling - at least monthly for bank account for maintaining visibility to cash flow. Others, as time permits, but definitely do ALL accounts for tax time (at least the ones that impact taxes)...(though I am currently behind almost 2 yrs, ugh, so in practice I go through fits and spurts, sometimes I am up to date every month and other times I am processing many months at a time).

    Budgets / Financial situation - tried budgets a few times but find that though I track a lot of details, I want to be able to budget at much higher level, with larger buckets, but because I have so many categories, Quicken Budgeting is very tedious for me, so I take more of a cash flow perspective, first checking that inflow exceeds outflow, then tracking the approximate extra monthly and yearly, balanced with occasion review of certain categories via comparison reports...

    Financial Situation - for day to day, I heavily rely on Scheduled transactions (over 150) and the Forecast / Projected balances graph and monitor that almost daily. Longer term, well, not enough time for that...Easier to do with bank accounts, but harder with credit cards where there is far more discretionary or fluctuated spending.

    But when I am on top of everything, I like to perform manual data entry at least weekly, for things that cannot be scheduled (or a little more for cash expenses when needed), and reconcile all accounts monthly...more frequent updating is too much micromanagement for my taste.

    A couple of tips: 

    • I have found that a large part of discretionary spending is made up of small purchases, especially cash...so I like to put as much as possible through credit cards...makes for better record keeping and easier cash flow management, since payments are monthly.
    • once you have enough data and history, you should be able to get a good handle on your monthly "budget" to possibly not need to rely on an actual budget...of course this depends on how tight your "budget" needs to be...the more you live paycheque to paycheque the more frequent scrutiny might be needed.
    For me it was years ago I started a routine of around the same time daily "checking in" on Quicken. As I incur transactions I manually enter them as they happen. Then:

    1. Daily run a One Step Update. Review what's come in and print a Balance Report.
    2. Weekly run a File Validate.
    3. Reconcile each account with the Billing Cycle.
    4. Monthly review Budget and Taxes.

    smayer97's right about this:

    A couple of tips: 
    • I have found that a large part of discretionary spending is made up of small purchases, especially cash...so I like to put as much as possible through credit cards...makes for better record keeping and easier cash flow management, since payments are monthly.
    • once you have enough data and history, you should be able to get a good handle on your monthly "budget" to possibly not need to rely on an actual budget...of course this depends on how tight your "budget" needs to be...the more you live paycheque to paycheque the more frequent scrutiny might be needed.
    Once  you get a little data accumulated, it's amazing what you'll learn about your finances, some personal habits, and yourself.
  • VettaVetta Member
    edited January 2018
    Online updates-- once or twice a week for all accounts

    Reconciling - every month on the dates coinciding with statement closing dates, sometimes in-between dates if I suspect an error.

    Budgeting-- The comments about avoiding cash are spot on. Use credit/debit cards or checks for everything. Cash is a trap.

    Checking with financial institution-- the only thing I do, beyond downloads, is making sure my banks continue offering free checking accounts. No reason to pay a monthly fee, and credit unions consistently beat banks on multiple points.

    Backup on a separate drive-- every single week without fail!
  • SnowmanSnowman Member
    edited January 2018
    mshiggins said:

    Online updates:


    *Once a week


    *All accounts


    *Minimal time reviewing, just matching to already entered transactions



    Reconciling:


    *Once per month aligned with the monthly statement


    *Reconcile checking and credit cards


    *Investments just compare share balances with brokerages



    Budgets:


    Only for testing purposes. As long as the income exceeds the spending, I don't want to micromanage with a budget.



    Financial situation checking:


    Depends on what you mean by situation. Reconciling and scheduling bills for payment happens weekly. Tax planning about once per month. Check and update Lifetime Plan about twice a year. Random research on various topics as needed.

    Under updates I would add validate the data file after backing up.  Next to updating once a week I would put in () use direct connect whenever possible.  Some institutions charge for this including mine but when I indicated that I would take my business elsewhere they have given it to me for free.

    I would also add a group "After every Quicken session" and under that I would put BACKUP data file on a series of rotating thumb drives using the option to add the date to the file name.  That way if at some point a thumb drive fails you have not lost everything.

    Budgets in Quicken are problematic at best.  There are conflicting "features" that make it hard to use unless you really know what you are looking at and understand how to manipulate it to work for you.

    I have used Excel to put together my budget categories and use that to track spending and projected cash flow (out to five years in the future).  I look at this on the 1st day of the month and once in the middle of the month.

    When I am not directly paying a bill I print checks using Quicken.  Do Not use Quicken Bill Pay service.  You can do it better.

    DO NOT attach copies of bills to a payment in Quicken.  I save all of my bills (in PDF format) in a file structure on an NAS drive (network attached storage) and that drive is backed up to another drive.  In the case of reconciling a statement I also print the reconciliation statement and save it with a copy of the statement.  Quicken has had a nasty habit of breaking features (and not fixing them right away, in some cases it has taken years).  This will protect you from that and if you need to access something you do not have to use Quicken to do it.

  • Jim_HarmanJim_Harman SuperUser
    edited November 2018
    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.
    -- Jim QWin Premier subscription
  • philphil Member
    edited December 2018

    I'm in the UK so enter everything manually. I try to keep on top of everything daily. If I'm away from home, I keep a manual ledger and enter it into Quicken on my return. I back up at least every time I make an entry in or modify my Quicken file, sometimes several times whilst editing the file if I am making a lot of entries. All backups are on a separate internal disk drive and also get backed up once a day to a NAS.

    Once a week, I open a Windows copy of my current Quicken file in a virtual machine and run a validate. If it validates OK, no further action is taken, but I've had a couple of occasions where it has picked up a problem and allowed me to fix it  sooner rather than later.

  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    Online Updates - at least monthly to twice monthly for all key accounts (bank and key credit cards)

    Reconciling - at least monthly for bank account for maintaining visibility to cash flow. Others, as time permits, but definitely do ALL accounts for tax time (at least the ones that impact taxes)...(though I am currently behind almost 2 yrs, ugh, so in practice I go through fits and spurts, sometimes I am up to date every month and other times I am processing many months at a time).

    Budgets / Financial situation - tried budgets a few times but find that though I track a lot of details, I want to be able to budget at much higher level, with larger buckets, but because I have so many categories, Quicken Budgeting is very tedious for me, so I take more of a cash flow perspective, first checking that inflow exceeds outflow, then tracking the approximate extra monthly and yearly, balanced with occasion review of certain categories via comparison reports...

    Financial Situation - for day to day, I heavily rely on Scheduled transactions (over 150) and the Forecast / Projected balances graph and monitor that almost daily. Longer term, well, not enough time for that...Easier to do with bank accounts, but harder with credit cards where there is far more discretionary or fluctuated spending.

    But when I am on top of everything, I like to perform manual data entry at least weekly, for things that cannot be scheduled (or a little more for cash expenses when needed), and reconcile all accounts monthly...more frequent updating is too much micromanagement for my taste.

    A couple of tips: 

    • I have found that a large part of discretionary spending is made up of small purchases, especially cash...so I like to put as much as possible through credit cards...makes for better record keeping and easier cash flow management, since payments are monthly.
    • once you have enough data and history, you should be able to get a good handle on your monthly "budget" to possibly not need to rely on an actual budget...of course this depends on how tight your "budget" needs to be...the more you live paycheque to paycheque the more frequent scrutiny might be needed.
    +1 on paying everything via credit card rather than cash. Caveat being you pay the balance on the card every month. With the right rewards card, you can also get cash or points on the purchases.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • splashersplasher SuperUser
    edited October 2018
    For my Direct Connect accounts, I do a daily OSU (except Sunday, there are never new transactions). 
    I don't have any Express Web Connect accounts.
    Web Connect accounts are done once a week.
    I use reminders for all of the transactions that consistent (cable, phone, gym, etc).
    I reconcile to statements, never use the online balance to reconcile.
    I make a backup after any Quicken session that I have made changes to the data file in.
    -splasher  using Q since 1996 -  QW2016, 2017 & Subscription  -  Win7/Win10
    -Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list

  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited January 2018
    splasher said:

    For my Direct Connect accounts, I do a daily OSU (except Sunday, there are never new transactions). 
    I don't have any Express Web Connect accounts.
    Web Connect accounts are done once a week.
    I use reminders for all of the transactions that consistent (cable, phone, gym, etc).
    I reconcile to statements, never use the online balance to reconcile.
    I make a backup after any Quicken session that I have made changes to the data file in.

    +1 on using reminders. Also +1 on reconciling to statements rather than online balance.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • q_lurkerq_lurker SuperUser
    edited May 2018
    Online updates - No set schedule.  Once or twice a week, sometimes daily, for spending and direct connect investment accounts, maybe every two weeks to a month on other accounts

    Reconciling - True reconciling - In general, cash/spending accounts once a month to the paper (or website) statement.  Investment accounts, along with the updates, but that is not a formal Quicken Reconcile.  It is a Compare holdings process only so that I no my records are lining up with the FIs.  But the online updates keep me aware of the status of accounts.  By keeping up-to-date that way, reconciling is a piece of cake - usually under 2 minutes.  

    Budgeting-- I am now at a stage where that is not high priority so I don't maintain a true budget in Quicken.  When it is applicable, at least monthly and possibly weekly.  

    Checking on my financial situation -- .I open Quicken daily for some reason, so in that sense I am checking my situation daily.  
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    Online Updates - at least monthly to twice monthly for all key accounts (bank and key credit cards)

    Reconciling - at least monthly for bank account for maintaining visibility to cash flow. Others, as time permits, but definitely do ALL accounts for tax time (at least the ones that impact taxes)...(though I am currently behind almost 2 yrs, ugh, so in practice I go through fits and spurts, sometimes I am up to date every month and other times I am processing many months at a time).

    Budgets / Financial situation - tried budgets a few times but find that though I track a lot of details, I want to be able to budget at much higher level, with larger buckets, but because I have so many categories, Quicken Budgeting is very tedious for me, so I take more of a cash flow perspective, first checking that inflow exceeds outflow, then tracking the approximate extra monthly and yearly, balanced with occasion review of certain categories via comparison reports...

    Financial Situation - for day to day, I heavily rely on Scheduled transactions (over 150) and the Forecast / Projected balances graph and monitor that almost daily. Longer term, well, not enough time for that...Easier to do with bank accounts, but harder with credit cards where there is far more discretionary or fluctuated spending.

    But when I am on top of everything, I like to perform manual data entry at least weekly, for things that cannot be scheduled (or a little more for cash expenses when needed), and reconcile all accounts monthly...more frequent updating is too much micromanagement for my taste.

    A couple of tips: 

    • I have found that a large part of discretionary spending is made up of small purchases, especially cash...so I like to put as much as possible through credit cards...makes for better record keeping and easier cash flow management, since payments are monthly.
    • once you have enough data and history, you should be able to get a good handle on your monthly "budget" to possibly not need to rely on an actual budget...of course this depends on how tight your "budget" needs to be...the more you live paycheque to paycheque the more frequent scrutiny might be needed.
    Agreed!!! NEVER carry balances on credit cards (if you can avoid it, and most people can)...Also I'm able to earn over $1500/yr in cash rewards...so shop around for the card(s) that best match(es) your spending habits.
    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (QM2007, Canadian user since '92)
    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser
    edited January 2018
    mshiggins said:

    Online updates:


    *Once a week


    *All accounts


    *Minimal time reviewing, just matching to already entered transactions



    Reconciling:


    *Once per month aligned with the monthly statement


    *Reconcile checking and credit cards


    *Investments just compare share balances with brokerages



    Budgets:


    Only for testing purposes. As long as the income exceeds the spending, I don't want to micromanage with a budget.



    Financial situation checking:


    Depends on what you mean by situation. Reconciling and scheduling bills for payment happens weekly. Tax planning about once per month. Check and update Lifetime Plan about twice a year. Random research on various topics as needed.

    Great points on 2 other issues to consider:

    Backups and Record keeping...

    Backups: I believe in more is better. I use automatic backups to keep last 10 versions, created every time I quit Quicken. Also use mirrored RAID for hardware failure, extra drives to create extra copy of drives, and use Time Machine (macOS built-in backup software).

    Record Keeping: I like to keep my PDF statements and receipts in a separate folder structure, not in Quicken (creates too much bloat, and avoids single point of failure). I prefer to keep them independent.

    I created a template folder structure of all accounts I need to track, then I duplicate the empty structure for each new year. (Other people create a new year within each account...I find the former easier to manage for each new year).
    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (QM2007, Canadian user since '92)
    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    On the topic of Categorization:
    Learn to use TAGS and CATEGORIES...this will keep the number of categories down and create much better ways to report on and analyse your data.
    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (QM2007, Canadian user since '92)
    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • KayoKayo Member
    edited January 2018

    Well of course everybody must use it.  :)

    But what I'm looking for here is what habits or practices have you adopted that give you the most success, with the program and with your financial life?

    Thank you for your reply!

    Number 1 requirement:  Set up a schedule of data entry, reconciles and backups AND FOLLOW YOUR SCHEDULE.  Once your schedule has gotten established it becomes a habit.  Eventually skipping the habit will make you feel guilty.
  • ColinGruchyColinGruchy Member
    edited May 2018
    I've been using Quicken since 1996.  I put everything I can into the program.  I'm a bit anal about my finances, so I'm using Quicken several times per day.  I'm always checking the securities prices throughout the day and how they affect my portfolio.  I download transactions daily to my banking accounts.  Download is not available for my investment accounts, so I update those manually - not many transactions to do in my case.  I don't use the Quicken budget.  I load as much as I can into Manage Income and Bill Reminders because I put everything on my credit cards, including all utility bills, and charitable donations, and on my chequing account for recurring tax and insurance payments. And I also load the repetitive income transactions here as well. Once everything is loaded I use that tool to "Enter" the transactions for an entire year.  Then I know what I have left for discretionary spending or investing.  As soon as I have a discretionary expense (all on credit cards to earn points or cash back), I download it to Quicken.  Then I manually update the future monthly credit card payment from my chequing account (I pay my cards in full each month).  Everything, including the future transactions is synced with Quicken Cloud and my mobile app.  So if I'm not at home and I'm thinking about spending on something I haven't planned for I can look at my chequing account balance to see if I will be able to cover the expense by the next credit card due date.  It's all very practical and keeps the stress out of managing my finances.  I have my launch page set up to show all account balances, my daily "Investing Activity" on my investment accounts, and my Net Worth.  I don't use reports much.  One report I have combines my expenses on cable, phone, mobile and internet, since I use different providers for each.  When one of these companies sends me an offer to bundle all services I check the offer against the report to see if it's worth taking.  So far, it hasn't been worth it.  I don't use the tax planning tool on Quicken as my taxes are very simple and I use a free online tool that does a great job and is always up to date with the latest Revenue Canada rules.  So in a nutshell, I use Quicken to manage my income and expenses and my investments.  Hope this helps.
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited January 2018
    Debtectomy, is this discussion yielding to information you were looking for?
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • KayoKayo Member
    edited December 2018
    Read What's above - as @mshiggins suggests.  Think about your needs.  How often do you want Quicken to be up to date?  Every day? once a week? Once a month?  Do you have investments?  Are you just interested in a bank account ?

    Beyond this, you have to figure it out for yourself.
  • edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    @Jim Harman, do you find QW's fixed asset classes pose a problem for you as far as rebalancing goes?
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited January 2018
    Kayo said:

    Read What's above - as @mshiggins suggests.  Think about your needs.  How often do you want Quicken to be up to date?  Every day? once a week? Once a month?  Do you have investments?  Are you just interested in a bank account ?

    Beyond this, you have to figure it out for yourself.

    I'm not sure I agree. I have done a lot of figuring things out on my own, but I've also learned about and adopted new ways of doing things by reading about how other Quicken users do things.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • ClaytonClayton Member
    edited January 2018
    Kayo said:

    Read What's above - as @mshiggins suggests.  Think about your needs.  How often do you want Quicken to be up to date?  Every day? once a week? Once a month?  Do you have investments?  Are you just interested in a bank account ?

    Beyond this, you have to figure it out for yourself.

    Much like mshiggins, I've adopted some of what I learn here and combine it with my own "figured out" routine. Some of these users experiences have saved me from mistakes. I've come to view this place as Quicken University.
  • edited January 2018
    Kayo said:

    Read What's above - as @mshiggins suggests.  Think about your needs.  How often do you want Quicken to be up to date?  Every day? once a week? Once a month?  Do you have investments?  Are you just interested in a bank account ?

    Beyond this, you have to figure it out for yourself.

    ...where, like all higher education institutes, some teachers are more sage than others. One of the most important learning skills is developing good judgement as to who's teachings and what teachings represent best and applicable practices.
  • Jim_HarmanJim_Harman SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    It would be nice if Quicken had the ability to add user-defined asset classes, but I am getting by with the built in ones. You can always use "Other" for REITs, midcaps, emerging markets, or whatever if you want. 

    The printable Rebalance Portfolio view showing how many $ more or less to put in each asset class is very handy.

    The pie charts for Target and Actual would be much more useful if they showed the asset classes in the same order.

    Also the link to Morningstar's Portfolio X-Ray in Premier gives much more asset allocation information. This has its own limitations, however: It only analyzes publicly traded securities and you have to like Morningstar's asset class assignments.
    -- Jim QWin Premier subscription
  • KayoKayo Member
    edited January 2018
    Kayo said:

    Read What's above - as @mshiggins suggests.  Think about your needs.  How often do you want Quicken to be up to date?  Every day? once a week? Once a month?  Do you have investments?  Are you just interested in a bank account ?

    Beyond this, you have to figure it out for yourself.

    DebtectomyDebtectomy then let the forum help you make it better.
  • Bill PBill P Member
    edited January 2018
    My main usage is twice a month, although I add receipts fairly often but not on a regular basis.  I just see them stacking up and decide to sit down and enter them.
    The twice a month routine revolves around when I get paid which is the middle and end of the month.  I'll input my paycheck, then schedule all the bills that are due between then and the next paycheck.  That's also when I will do the online updates and reconciling.
  • edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    I also assign the Other category to REITs. I agree that the existing tools offer a handy view of your allocation as long as your strategy doesn't require more granularity than what's offered. Just curious how you negotiated those limitations.

    For my annual rebalancing, I use a free spreadsheet designed to be populated with data from Q's Portfolio Value and Cost Basis report. The process is a little kludgy, but it works.

    Portfolio Asset Allocation Tool
  • mshigginsmshiggins SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    +1 on the asset class pie charts having the asset types in the same order.
    Quicken user since Q1999. Currently using QW2017.
    Questions? Check out the  Quicken Windows FAQ list
  • Jim_HarmanJim_Harman SuperUser
    edited January 2018

    My usage is very much like Vetta's:

    One Step updates almost every day. They are very useful for catching unauthorized credit card transactions.

    Reconciling For cash accounts, I have Quicken do it every time I download. For investments, I have Quicken compare the share balances after each download, then resolve any discrepancies manually. I compare Quicken's balance with printed statements occasionally, but I can't remember ever finding discrepancies.

    Budgeting  Hardly using cash at all any more. I agree with mshiggins that micromanaging is not necessary if spending is under control. I do carefully categorize each transaction as it comes in, for tracking purposes.

    I think it is important to put some thought into the Quicken Categories and subcategories you use. Make sure the categories are clear, so you will use them consistently. Unless a category is needed for tax purposes, I try to only use ones that account for more than about 1% of spending, and avoid catch-all categories like Household or Misc. Last year I used a total of 50 spending categories and subcategories.

    I also regularly check asset allocations for investment accounts. I find that I must set the asset classes for each security manually because Quicken's downloaded asset classes are unreliable.

    I'll make a fresh Idea for that.
    -- Jim QWin Premier subscription
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