Understanding & Implementing Categories to Goals, Loans & Paychecks

New QWIN Home Business & Rental user from YNAB.com that switched
looking for something more intuitive, I'm squarely on the fence both in terms of my transition and my thoughts on QWIN. Regardless, I'm fighting with the budget because all the other tools I was at first excitedly, now guardedly, anticipating on using require that base line before anything makes sense.

Perhaps its the general philosophy on use, but I don't understand why I need to go through selecting multiple areas to first create then activate in another area (apparently on a annual basis) budget categories. For clarity, I use December as my dump month where all categories with a rollover get their funds then January begins my monthly transactions. Does rollover work on an annual basis? I keep going back and forth clicking rollover, it appears it only works one at a time? I've removed the mobile sync feature to alleviate any potential issue..not that it works.

My main issue stems from the relationship between Budget Categories and Paychecks (I break out each tax category so I can project my liability, a big reason I got Quicken), Loans (I split principal and interest) & Goals (I contribute to each savings goal monthly and I want to track that monthly since it is money coming out of my budget.

The relationship is confusing. First I go to Tools/Category List which takes me to the Budget Control Center where I created budget master categories and sub categories breaking each into their appropriate tax schedule. THEN I realized I needed to go to the bottom of the budget and push "Select Categories to Budget". This became confusing very quickly, Its taken a lot of back and forth between the two to get it halfway right. At this point, I think I have it mostly right, by some dumb luck. Can someone explain the relationship between the two?

Second, I have many categories that rollover to meet their annual premium, the rollover function is not an easy function to utilize. Am I missing something outside of the select "Rollover balances at the end of each month?" Why when I toggle between years and toggle both December 18 & January 17 does the other come undone? How do I ensure the other stays in place and how do I ensure it stays through the year? Second part, if this tool does not work properly, do I need to use savings goals expressly to track annual goals? It would make my budget much smaller and make Savings Goals massive.

Third, You can select loans to track, this appears, at least in my budget as (Example) Mortgage, Principal and Interest. However, when making a payment to the Mortgage, only the Mortgage category shows money has transacted, nothing in principal and interest. What am I missing?

Fourth, I am tracking each line of my paycheck. I went through and added several categories in the paycheck tool and correctly got it to math out moving forward. However, when going through the budget categories I see none of the additional categories from the paycheck. Instead, I only see Salary which has the correct total but none of the additional line items. Does Quicken have enough information about my tax liability? Do I need to get additional categories configured in the Budget?

Any guidance is appreciated.


  • Michael Jones
    Michael Jones Member, Windows Beta Beta
    edited February 2018
    Wow, ton of questions all at ONCE!  Not sure if I can answer all your questions in one shot.  These aren't definitive answers BTW, just based on my experience.

    First, you can get to the budget through the 'Planning' tab on the bar under the menus without resorting to using the top level menus.  

    Second, let's tackle the question about rollover.  As far as I know from my experience, roll over works on a 'monthly' level, but if you put in something that's only paid once a year it's going to show the rollover every month as 'available' even if you have no budget in that month against it.  When you pay using that category it will take it out of the available rollover amount and keep rolling the other part forward.  I do this for my Amazon Prime subscription for instance where I way it every year in January.  Below is a sample of what that might look like in the budget view.  


    When you create a new budget year at the top (2019 for instance), you have to option to use last years numbers as the default and it will just pick up a carry over the numbers, including the roll over settings.

    Once you set up a budget and copy it over, you should not have to recreate it every year.  You should only have to tinker with it.

    So, now on to budgeting.  In general, the FIRST time you create a budget Quicken will NOT pick up all the categories you set up to use.  You will have to add them the first time, but then they should persist after that, only requiring some tinkering from month to month.  Some people want very simple budgeting, some want more.  I track ALL income and expenses every month so a get a true bottom line, but some people only track discretionary expenses for instance.  More setup for me, but once it's done shouldn't have to mess with it too much.  

    For loans, it depends on how you track your loans.  If you use one method in Quicken which is just to dump them into general 'principle, interest, and escrow' categories, then you can add each category to your budget.  Quicken won't auto decrement the amounts over the months like amortization, instead, it will set up the budget based on the first payment and hold it flat.  I go in at the start of each year after copying over my budget and adjust it myself to the match the first payment of the year.  By default, Quicken will not budget 'transfers', only category payments.  You can add the transfer however and it will show up.  There are under the 'Transfer Out' tab if you want to sort down to just those.  Though one note is that Quicken won't always put them next to where you think it should (see my example below for both a tranfer and how they are not next to one another):


    For your paycheck, it's again a question of which mode you are using.  There is a mode that's simple (only show my net pay, and ignore all the deductions), or the more rich 'show me everything'.  In the later, most of those categories default to ones Quicken handles based on category tax rules, etc. by default.  I posted a sample below of a made up paycheck.  If you want to budget those in the 'Taxes' area for instance, then just add those categories to your budget.  Should only have to do it once and they will stay there unless you remove them.  The budget by default will only show Salary and employer benefits.  If you want that 'employer match' to show up, as I do, to balance a transfer out to your 401(k), you need to add the special category called '_401EmployerContrib' which will show up on the income side of your cash flow.


    On goals, there is a 'goal tracking' feature in Quicken where you can use it to effectively 'hide money' in an account by making a 'fake' payment to say a 'vacation fund'.  I personally don't use it, but it's there and you can play around with it.

    I've been using Quicken since DOS, and it CAN do everything you want, it may just have a little bit of learning curve for the amount of tracking you want to do.  But you can get there.
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