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Looking for a guide or write-up on using QMac's budgeting tools

The budget tool looks like it could be quite useful, but it's a bit overwhelming at first blush. The Quicken help hasn't been all that "helpful," so I was wondering if anyone had come across any guides to getting the most out of Quicken budgets?

On a related note, I'm wondering whether the budgets tool could be useful to perform projections / analyses? For example, if I'm expecting some unusual financial circumstances over the next six months and I want to estimate my cashflow / change in savings, my inclination is to pull some data into a Google Sheet and do some modeling there. But perhaps some basic modeling can be done right inside budgets?

Thanks.
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  • Quicken Anja
    Quicken Anja Moderator mod
    edited August 2020
    Hello @Just Lurking,

    Thank you for reaching out to the Community with your question.

    Here is a Video Guide for you to watch as well as this support article for you to review on how to use Budgets in Quicken for Mac. 

    I hope this helps and please do let us know if you still have any additional questions!
    -Quicken Anja
  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Hi, Just Lurking:

    Anja provided the information regarding the mechanics of setting up the budget. Making it useful, however, is a different matter. That is up to you :smile:

    There are several styles of budgeting out there, and Quicken has a very basic one (that works): you set a monthly goal, and you are either over/under it. That's it. No rollovers from unspent $, no playing shenanigans moving money between categories, etc.

    I have used the budget module for several years, but I only track the discretional categories that I have control over. (Cut back on groceries, turn down the heat, etc.) If you try to track EVERYTHING, the budget will be unwieldily, and you likely will abandon it. 

    That's what I suggest for starters: only track the few categories you actively control. Add more as needed.

    In regards to your last question: no, there is no forecasting, modeling, or statistical analysis in the Quicken budget module.  I still use a spreadsheet for the serious number crunching. (If you are really serious about budgeting, you must do this in conjunction with the Quicken budget module.) 
  • Just Lurking
    Just Lurking Mac Beta Beta
    Hello @Just Lurking,

    Here is a Video Guide for you to watch as well as this support article for you to review on how to use Budgets in Quicken for Mac. 

    Thank you. I had seen that support article and while the video was modestly helpful, I was hoping for more. It would be helpful, for example, to learn more about the "philosophy" of how Quicken expects people to use the budgeting tool, along with some detailed examples of how people use it in practice.

    On a related topic - are there any budget reports? I believe there are on windows but don't see any on QMac.
  • Just Lurking
    Just Lurking Mac Beta Beta

    There are several styles of budgeting out there, and Quicken has a very basic one (that works): you set a monthly goal, and you are either over/under it. That's it. No rollovers from unspent $, no playing shenanigans moving money between categories, etc
    Thank you for the additional details! With no rollovers of unspent $, how do you handle irregular but significant costs? Auto insurance, for example, which bills twice per year? I can try and predict which month the irregular spending will fall on, but inevitably I'm going to be wrong sometimes. Is the only solution to fiddle with the budget every time a charge falls in April when I had budgeted for it in March (or May)?
    I have used the budget module for several years, but I only track the discretional categories that I have control over. (Cut back on groceries, turn down the heat, etc.)
    Effectively, how does this work? By including only some categories does it basically hide all other spending on the budgeting view?

    If you try to track EVERYTHING, the budget will be unwieldily, and you likely will abandon it. 
    That's what I suggest for starters: only track the few categories you actively control. Add more as needed.

    In regards to your last question: no, there is no forecasting, modeling, or statistical analysis in the Quicken budget module.  I still use a spreadsheet for the serious number crunching. (If you are really serious about budgeting, you must do this in conjunction with the Quicken budget module.) 
    That is a concern of mine, but I have a desire to track my overall spending, and almost all of my spending categories can flex up or down to some degree. If I do choose to exclude some categories, does it ever get confusing as to how much you're really spending each month?

    Bummer about the lack of forecasting / modeling. That makes it a lot less useful.

  • John_in_NC
    John_in_NC SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    I toyed around with the budget various times in the 30 years I have used Quicken. When I tried budgeting everything, it never ended well.

    Quicken is a great tool tracking things, but I don't think it is a one stop shopping option when it comes to budgeting. (I don't think any personal software solution is.)  I personally setup my full budget in a spreadsheet (based on prior history from Quicken). From there, I know what are fixed costs (such as the bi-annual insurance). Then, I know what I have for more discretionary spending. 

    It is only the latter categories I track in Quicken, as those are really only the ones I have true control over. I set my goals, and that is it.

    Now, some people prefer a more "envelope" style budget where, say they have a car repair, then they eat out less. I don't play that game-I set my goals and stick to it. 

    Budgeting is quite personal, and what works for one certainly won't work for another person. But, I have found that users who start off small only tracking a few things have better success. You will have to see what works best for you.
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