How do I calculate how much discretionary income I have in Quicken?

majorgear Member ✭✭
I'm coming from a zero sum budget application, where I gave every dollar a job by assigning it to a budget category. The way I did it was assign money to non-discretionary categories first, discretionary ( movies, video games, eating out ) second, and whatever was left over I would divide amongst my current goals. It may be for buying new furniture, saving for a car, additional retirement savings, etc.

1) How would I find out how much money I have "left over" in quicken. I included all of my known expenses in my budget , so does subtracting my budgeted amount from my bank account balances give me my discretionary income , to do with as I see fit?

2) Related to 1). How can I see a total of my non-discretionary expenses for each month. That amount would be monthly + quarterly/4 + annual/12 + biannual/6 + .... you get the idea. That would help me with 1). I've entered all of my recurring bills in Quicken, so it has this information. I need to know how to extract it from Quicken.

Admittedly, I haven't used the report feature of Quicken yet, so there might be a way to create a report to get these numbers.


  • Jim_Harman
    Jim_Harman SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    What I have done along those lines is to create a spending Category Group called "Needs" and assigned all the non-discretionary expense Categories to that group. I left other expenses in the built-in "Personal expenses" group. These groups are broken out on the main Budget page along with your income so you can compare monthly or annual discretionary and non-discretionary expenses to your income over the same periods. You can also get this information in the Current Budget report.

    In answer to your question 1, I think you should subtract your expenses from your income, not from your bank balance, to see how much is "left over" each period. If you have Reminders set up for your expected income and recurring bills, you can also look at the Projected Balances view under the Bills & Income tab to see how much "cushion" you expect to have in the future.

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