Budget and projected balance

I am trying to get Quicken to work to replace the system of spreadsheets I have used for over 15 years. One problem I have not resolved is trying to keep up with projected balance at a given date with budgeted items in consideration. My pay is monthly, and the timing varies, sometimes mid month, sometimes closer to the first. In my spreadsheets budgeting is from per pay peroid, but I can not do that in Quicken. Projected balance helps, but has limitations. For example, if I have $400 budgeted for gas, and have already used $200, the projected balance will not account for the $200 budgeted for gas. So when I look at the projected balance at a given date, it does not take into account any remaining amounts still budgeted. In my spreadsheet, this is addressed by having a budget line for each such category that simply subtracts amount spent in that category from budgeted, i.e. a reminder of the amount remaining in that budgeted category. Is there a similar function in Quicken?

Comments

  • GeoffG
    GeoffG SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    If I understand correctly, it sounds as if you are not using Bill Reminders to capture upcoming expenses as well as forecast. The example below shows reminders setup for utilities. In your example if $400 had been budgeted for gas, there would show a balance. You can also use roll overs to bring unused balances into subsequent months.

    user since '92 | Quicken Windows Premier - Subscription | Windows 10 Pro version 21H1
  • Olliebeanz
    Olliebeanz Member ✭✭
    I may be doing a poor job of describing what I mean. I am using bill reminders, that works for set bills, but this is concerning spending categories, the ones that will be paid for with a debit card throughout the month. In the spreadsheet I use, I have pending bills much like Quicken and keep a cleared balance and a pending balance. In my spreadsheet, the pending balance also has fixed transactions for the budgeted categories, the value is budgeted minus spent, so the amount left for each budgeted category is always represented in my pending balance. My spreadsheet does this, and it works great, but I created this spreadsheet and know it very well, if something goes wrong I can fix it. My wife could never do that, so I am trying to convert my finances to quicken in hopes she may be more able to work with it. This is the one function I have not been able to replicate in Quicken.
  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Forget anything related to "envelope budgeting".
    In Quicken, maintain account registers for each real world bank, credit card, cash, investments, etc. account that you have. Record and categorize each transaction as it occurs: Safeway / Food, Macy's / Clothing, etc.
    The Budget views in Quicken will show you, for example for your credit card expenses, how much you have spent this month.
    Using the Annual view in Budgets, you can define how much you want to budget every month in each category, for the entire year.
    If you also enable Rollover for each budget category, you will be able to see at a glance, if you are overspent or how much is left
  • Olliebeanz
    Olliebeanz Member ✭✭
    > @UKR said:
    > Forget anything related to "envelope budgeting".
    > In Quicken, maintain account registers for each real world bank, credit card, cash, investments, etc. account that you have. Record and categorize each transaction as it occurs: Safeway / Food, Macy's / Clothing, etc.
    > The Budget views in Quicken will show you, for example for your credit card expenses, how much you have spent this month.
    > Using the Annual view in Budgets, you can define how much you want to budget every month in each category, for the entire year.
    > If you also enable Rollover for each budget category, you will be able to see at a glance, if you are overspent or how much is left

    The concern is not budgeting, but projected balance. When the monthly pay does not correlate with the budgeting time frame, knowing what the projected balance is a at a given time is very helpful. Actually, it is so helpful that Quicken provides that function and provides bill reminders to help with it. But if the projected balance does not take into account the amounts that may still be spent on budgeted items, it is not an accurate reflection of what the projected amount should be. After giving it some thought I realiezed it actually is as simple as taking the "Left" value from the top of the budget page and subtracting from the projected balance, which I can do, I just thought there may be a way to have Quicken do it that I was not aware of.
  • David Christopher
    David Christopher Member ✭✭✭✭
    Olliebeanz You are talking about looking at projected balances that include your variable expenses which most people do put into budgets but they do not create Reminders for them which is the only way to get them into the Projected Balances Graphics.

    I know what you want to do and here is what I have done to solve the problem, mostly.
    1. Create a Budget that accounts for every penny of income and fixed and variable expenses. If you have any money left over add a line to the budget that sweeps that leftover into a savings goal or account. 

    2. Create a reminder called Personal Expenses. In the amount column put the number at the top of your expenses budget that gives the total of your budgeted expenses for the month.  (see Budget & Register attachment)

    It will take you time to learn how to move the date of this reminder around, but you edit it during the month to the amount that is in the Balance column on the of Personal Expense Total line on the Budget. (also in the attached graphic.)

    This is for all your expenses and where ever it is in your Projected Balance Graph, it will say you are spending whatever amount on what ever date you have the reminder set for. (all money left in your budget for all categories)

    At end of period edit the reminder and and make the amount reflect the next periods total amount of expenses and change the date to the beginning of the new period and save it.  This is difficult in Quicken because you do not know when or how much you are going to spend money for things like groceries, or gasoline and the like.  

    I just skip my Personal Expense Reminder each month when I feel like it is time and I have enough expenses recorded to make it not necessary for projected balance graph.


  • Olliebeanz
    Olliebeanz Member ✭✭
    > @David Christopher said:
    > @Olliebeanz You are talking about looking at projected balances that include your variable expenses which most people do put into budgets but they do not create Reminders for them which is the only way to get them into the Projected Balances Graphics.
    >
    > I know what you want to do and here is what I have done to solve the problem, mostly.
    > 1. Create a Budget that accounts for every penny of income and fixed and variable expenses. If you have any money left over add a line to the budget that sweeps that leftover into a savings goal or account. 
    >
    > 2. Create a reminder called Personal Expenses. In the amount column put the number at the top of your expenses budget that gives the total of your budgeted expenses for the month.  (see Budget & Register attachment)
    >
    > It will take you time to learn how to move the date of this reminder around, but you edit it during the month to the amount that is in the Balance column on the of Personal Expense Total line on the Budget. (also in the attached graphic.)
    >
    > This is for all your expenses and where ever it is in your Projected Balance Graph, it will say you are spending whatever amount on what ever date you have the reminder set for. (all money left in your budget for all categories)
    >
    > At end of period edit the reminder and and make the amount reflect the next periods total amount of expenses and change the date to the beginning of the new period and save it.  This is difficult in Quicken because you do not know when or how much you are going to spend money for things like groceries, or gasoline and the like.  
    >
    > I just skip my Personal Expense Reminder each month when I feel like it is time and I have enough expenses recorded to make it not necessary for projected balance graph.

    Thank you, a floating reminder should work. I really will not even have to change the date, just set the date to the day before pay day, and keep the amount set to what my budget shows as "Left".
  • BobAndMary11
    BobAndMary11 Windows Beta ✭✭
    Currently, I have cash accounts that run negative. For instance, on payday, the 'gas' cash account will automatically make a payment to "Gas" for $150. Assuming for a moment the starting balance is 0, this makes a new balance of -$150 in 'gas'. Each cash account does the same for their budgeted amounts so every account shows a -$xxx.xx. Since these accounts are listed under the "Banking" heading, if the overall "Banking" balance on the Banking bar is $0.00 then I know I have every penny allocated to a budgeted category; if it not, I need to adjust something. The downside is that the cash accounts all run in the red so you have to adjust your thinking to realize red in the cash account is a good thing. When you are updating your checking account the "category" in the ledger is set to the cash account. For example, I have -$150 in the 'gas' cash account. If I go to my checking account and I see a gas expense for $20, I set the category to [gas]. The $20 is then transferred (credited) to my gas account: -$150 + $20 = -$130. I now have $130 in gas to spend. It can take some time to wrap your head around it but this way you can set the bill reminders, have the budgeted amount enter automatically on payday and you just update your checking account like always. If there was money left over from last week ('gas' = -$25) then the new total will be -$175; you don't have to do anything to account for money leftover or short from last pay period; everything is automatic (unless you overspend they you should transfer from one cash account to another to get the $0.00 on the top bar).
  • Snowman
    Snowman Member ✭✭✭✭
    Olliebeanz keep using the spreadsheets.  Until Quicken can include the budget(s) into future report forecasting,  spreadsheets are the only way to go to get a forecast into the future.  Mine goes 5 years into the future.
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