adjustable budgets

no one under the age of 60 that i know of does their budget monthly .. it's not like we are all waiting for that monthly bill to come in the mail so we can write a monthly check and pay it ... I get paied bi-monthly (last day and the 15th of each month) ... here is what happens
electric bill comes it on the first for say $100 ... on the 15th , i pay $50 ... budget says i stil lown $50 .. thats expected .. the last day of the month comes in .. i pay $50 - the budget is happy , 24 hours later i need to look at a budget where it's showing ALL my bills are due , even though i paid them off 24 hours before ... IF i could move the budget date , or quicken allowed for bi-monthly/bi-weekly budgeting (instead of this monthly thing that NO ONE uses) then that section of the software would be useful .. as it is now it's pointless and only serves to b an annoying "reminder" that doesn't ever stop.

my question is why cant quicken match budgets with how people get paid!! .. like i said , the days of waiting for a MONTHLY bill to come in the mail are long long gone - as a matter of fact i have no idea why quicken was EVER setup for monthly .. i know of no one who paid their mortage monthly (they all pay when they get paid) same for electricity , and every other bill!!!


  • Sherlock
    Sherlock Member ✭✭✭✭
    I think you may be confusing separate concepts: budget and cashflow forecast.  A budget is about allocating resources over a period of time and then comparing the budgeted amounts with the actual amounts.   A cashflow forecast is used to ensure cash balances aren't overdrawn.  In Quicken, a good cashflow forecast relies on accurate entry of scheduled transactions (reminders) and may be viewed using the Projected Balances view on the Bills & Income tab.   Both concepts are useful.
  • Snowman
    Snowman Member ✭✭✭✭
    Monthly budget is the only way to go.  You just have to budget for the bi-monthly payments.  I have 17 monthly bills (not including credit cards) that I have Quicken set up to put into my checking account 90 days (quarterly) in advance.  This way I can see when I will have to move money into my payment account to cover the incoming bills.  Right now is shows me that I will have to transfer money from my money market account to my payment account the first week of November.  I have no bi-monthly bills.   

    My main source of income is quarterly.  It is on you to learn to budget monthly.  Just plan on the bi-monthly payments twice every month.  It was set up monthly because that is how personal and business finances are done.  

    My credit card bills (I pay the full balance every month) are setup to be automatically withdrawn from my funding account.  Just today my AMEX credit card statement for September was emailed.  I reconciled it with Quicken then added the date that the payment will be automatically withdrawn to my payment account.  Again I will always know in advance if I have the money in the proper accounts so that I do not print any rubber checks.  That is how I do my cash forecasting, quarterly (90 days).  I also use a spreadsheet in Excel to do annual budgeting.  I do it this way because the Projected Balances can be very misleading unless you completely understand how is works and all I have to do is look at the balance column in my payment account to see where I am at to the penny.

    Sherlock is correct about budgeting and cash forecasting.  They are two different concepts.  To expect Quicken to provide a "budget method" for every possible situation is unrealistic.

  • lucindrea
    lucindrea Member
    i have no idea what you 2 are talking about ... quicken looks at my spending , creates a budget .. i go in and adjust everything - lets say im spending $100 per check on groceries ... i get paid (the 15th) , i buy groceries , quicken updates the budget line to show i spent $100 on groceries and takes that out of the budget for that category ... great it's working fine ..

    when i go out and think "i really want a steak tonight" i can look in the budget and see that i still have X amount left and if i only spend that much , all my other bills and accounts will balance

    then i get paid again on the 30th ... i go shopping , pay bills etc ..
    the next day when i open quicken , it connects to everything , sees all my spending for YESTERDAY , and then resets all the budgets to 0 again (first of the month)

    now when i open the budget to see what i can or cannot spend on food - it says i can spend the FULL $200 , even though i used up my budget the day before ...

    thats what a budget is .. if the software cannot handle that (and if people would stop insisting that other use the product the way they do and not whats convenient for the quicken customer) then I'll go back to putting cash into envelopes on the kitchen counter ...

    and im not asking for "every possible situation" only for the bi-weekly payment method that 80% of every worker gets ... this let them eat cake attitude is not helping anyone - I get that a ton of quicken's customers are much more well off (my money market account , my amex - etc) than 80% of the rest of us and they may not see the need to not alienate their customers but i would of thought they would at least acknolage the issue.
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    lucindrea said:

    when i go out and think "i really want a steak tonight" i can look in the budget and see that i still have X amount left and if i only spend that much , all my other bills and accounts will balance

    First off let me say that the suggestion has already been submitted, and hopefully you voted on it.  It isn't up to anyone here to implement it, it is up to Quicken Inc.  They will weigh the things like how many people want it (that is why you should vote), how hard it is to put in, and other such factors.  Clearly up to now they have felt that it wasn't worth the effort or in some other way is wrong to implement.  That isn't going to change in the near future, so you can either adjust the way you are thinking, or find some other way to do what you want, which might not be Quicken.

    Definition of budget:
    "an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time."

    And I think the "estimate" part of that is very important.  I see people wanting to go back and change numbers so that "my budget balances".  They miss the whole point. You are putting in an estimate, it is important to see if you are wrong, and adjust it and your thinking for the future, so that your future budgets better predict reality.  This isn't some kind ego trip where you are trying to look perfect.

    Cashflow on the other hand deals with making sure there is enough money in a given account to pay for whatever you are buying.  You will notice that this is a lot closer to what you mention above than a budget.

    On the other hand I know a lot of people believe that a budget is a cashflow system.  And one could certainly construct a "budget system" that way.  Of course then when that doesn't line up with the original intent for a Quicken budget that makes it that much harder to shoe horn into Quicken.

    Now I'm going to go back to the statement you made above, and show how I think it really differs from a budget.

    If I want to answer this question there is actually several layers to it.
    The first is do I have enough money in the account that I'm going to use?
    The best tool Quicken has for this is the projected balances graph.

    The second part of this is "will I have enough money to cover all my predicted expenses within some time period if I add this expense (i.e. how much extra left)".  And you want to use a two week period, and don't believe that doing it in a month period wouldn't work.

    Let me throw out a situation.

    Someone got their two week paycheck of $500 two weeks ago and they are budgeting to exactly that (and only that).  They see on this last day before their paycheck that they are perfectly balanced, great right?  Now on the next day they get their paycheck and get $500.  Great, except that their $1000 rent is due today too.

    Where does the extra $500 come from?
    Hopefully their savings.

    But how did it get into the savings "budget wise".  Again hopefully they had it in their budget to save a certain amount every paycheck so that when it comes due they can pay it.

    It is this part of the system that makes the timeframe of the budget not as important as one might think when only focusing on their paycheck.  There are going to be daily expenses, weekly expenses, bi-weekly expenses, monthly expenses, quarterly expenses, yearly expenses, ...

    It is impossible to line up one's paycheck with their expenses, that is what we have checking and savings accounts for.

    So at any time if I'm asking if I can spend X money on Y.  I have ask both the cash flow question (do I have enough cash in Z account {or credit limit}) and I have to ask will it fit in my budget.

    Well for the first question I'm not asking about will it "fit in my paycheck" I'm asking do I have that money in a given account, and it that account I have to look at.  That is why this is mostly a projected balances graph question (and your credit limit for credit card accounts).

    For the second question about my budget there really is little difference from saying "I budgeted $200 for category X in two weeks, I have $100 left, and I want to spend $50, so I'm OK."  And saying "I budgeted $400 for category X in a month, and I have $200 left, and I want to spend $50, so I'm OK."
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  • Snowman
    Snowman Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2020
    The example I gave works no matter what your income level is.  If you don't have a credit card fine, or a money market (savings) account fine.  It works if all you have is just a checking account.  There was no "let them eat cake" attitude intended, just a couple of Quicken users trying to help another Quicken user. 

    Your budget will never show "real time" information.  There will always be discrepancies.  If you have cash how are you accounting for that in your budget?
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