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Budget templates

I'm struggling to create a budget, and need some advice. There are lots of "experts" online that suggest using xx percent per category, and lots of various strategies. But I've found that the Quicken budgeting is not very flexible with regards to making changes (requires a new budget each time), and there are no templates for rookies with no idea what they are actually doing (that would be me!). Examples:

https://www.quicken.com/blog/budget-categories
https://www.thebalance.com/the-50-30-20-rule-of-thumb-453922
-- so many others --

But using those as a template, I still have to manually calculate the actual numbers and input them per category line. It would be excellent if Quicken had various prebuilt templates that I could just choose from and apply. And even better if I could just apply a percentage, and the tool calculate the number for me.

Taking that to the next level, it would also be awesome if the budget could make recommendations for cuts in order to reach a goal. Such as, these categories are critical and these are your wants/desires...you can reduce/cut those (even if I don't want to hear that advice ;) ).

Also, how do you track non-monthly recurring (annual, or quarterly) expenses?

So many decisions, and no clue where to start...

Comments

  • Bob_LBob_L SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    " Quicken budgeting is not very flexible with regards to making changes (requires a new budget each time)"

    Not sure where are you coming from re. the above. That is you can change budget entries anytime you want.

    As for non-monthly amounts just budget the month they occur and leave other months as zero.
    Quicken Premier Subscription, Windows 10 Home
  • meadeboundmeadebound Member
    Bob_L,

    Many thanks for the timely response. My statement was a bit vague, but it was related to a post I read yesterday that I'm no longer able to locate; isn't that always the way it works? It had to do with paying off a loan and you couldn't just remove it from your budget without creating a new one.

    If I read beyond your "non-monthly" comment, are you saying you just add that category to your budget for that month? Does that infer you modify your budget on a monthly basis and don't stick to a strict monthly model for the entire year?

    Again, I'm not a "Wolf of Wall Street" financial wizard, I'm a rookie to this budget thing and I'm learning as I go. It's my understanding that you create a budget and stick to it, so I was trying to figure out how you add a one-off. Any and all advice and templating that will help me be successful is most appreciated.
  • Bob_LBob_L SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    No, I meant that if you know or want to plan for a one time expenditure, then you budget for it.  If as you state something comes up that was unplanned then I would simply book it and go over budget for that one item.  That information should then inform you that  maybe you need to make a change in spending somewhere else.

    I am not familiar with your point regarding a loan per se, but I do know monthly amounts can be changed and there is no reason I am aware of to create an entirely new budget.  My suggestion, if  you haven't already, is to just get started with the budget and adjust as you go.  (FWIW, I personally find the budget tab graphics, etc. to be difficult to use and I recommend running monthly budget reports instead, especially if you have experience with what I would call classical business budget reports. The way it works is that you set up budgeted categories and amounts on the budget tab.  Those categories and budget amounts then become accessible on the budget reports.)
    Quicken Premier Subscription, Windows 10 Home
  • meadeboundmeadebound Member
    That may be what is confusing me, the graphics. I'm trying to build a simple 50-20-30 plan since that appears to be the simplest "beginner" plan. But I'm finding it difficult to adjust things to be simple. I may want all this detail later, but for now, I just want 4 buckets: Income, 50% percent needs, 20% savings, 30% discretionary. This is where a template would be awesome.

    Thanks for the advice. That post I read may have been older, but since I can't find it again, I can't provide it.
  • TheLogicEscapesMeTheLogicEscapesMe Member ✭✭✭
    > @meadebound said:
    > That may be what is confusing me, the graphics. I'm trying to build a simple 50-20-30 plan since that appears to be the simplest "beginner" plan. But I'm finding it difficult to adjust things to be simple. I may want all this detail later, but for now, I just want 4 buckets: Income, 50% percent needs, 20% savings, 30% discretionary. This is where a template would be awesome.
    >
    > Thanks for the advice. That post I read may have been older, but since I can't find it again, I can't provide it.

    Quicken isn't magic, it has no way to determine what you view as "needs", "savings", "discretionary". And no built in template could provide this because it is different for each person.

    What Quicken does know is categories. Transactions are assigned categories. And for those categories they are either income or expenses, and the special case of a transaction that is a transfer.

    So grouping by income, expenses, and transfers is relatively easy to setup in the budget (and reports and other places).

    When you want special groupings that aren't part of those three you have to create category groups, and only you can decide what would go into them.

    And even once you have a category group filled with the categories you fill fit in the group, you have still put in what categories in that category group you want to budget. In other words the category group will allow for grouping on the budget/reports for adding things up, but you can't just "select a group" and have all the categories in it all be put into the budget. You have to select the categories.

    To view/edit category groups you can select:
    Manage Budget Categories -> Options -> Assign category groups

    When you look at the budget you will see the default category groups, for instance Personal Expenses is one of the built in category groups.
  • TheLogicEscapesMeTheLogicEscapesMe Member ✭✭✭
    P.S. Quicken use is about the "details". One could leave out the "details" by only using categories Income, Needed, Savings, and Discretionary for ever transaction, but then there wouldn't be any way to look at the "details" later when you got to the point where you wanted to do that.

    And what people want in the "details" can vary quite a bit. Personally I'm not real concerned with all the details of a transaction. Quicken makes it easy that if I have a Payee of Safeway I can automatically assign that transaction the category of Groceries. Now clearly not everything I buy at Safeway will be Groceries, but for me it is "good enough". Only in cases where it is a large purchase do I change the category for that one purchase.

    Others want more details, right down to each item purchased, and taxes and such. Clearly when the transaction comes in as the net amount with just one payee name, that can't happen automatically and as such these people have to hand enter/edit every transaction to fill in these details.
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