Need help trying to figure out how to set things up to get actual spending

TheGrobbler Member ✭✭

OK, semi new to quicken. I really havnt used anything since Microsoft Money years ago… I did try quicken a bit a few years ago but it didnt work as I liked… anyway as it is the only gig in town, figured I would try again.

OK - point of discussion. I really want to be able to use the download to get all transactions (for spending sums) and also set things up so I can see actual spending. But there are some issues I am seeing. I will start with an easy(ish) one.

Mortgage - I set up a payment - split out Principle, interest, escrow. I have the escrow going into an account (so i can track how much escrow is in there at any given time).

When looking at spending it does not show the actual amount spent… it is less the escrow (because it is being transfered into an account)…..

So question is - do I not track escrow (no issues here… but was hoping to be able to keep track of all moneys etc.

2nd one

I have two credit cards set up. I set up a payment from checking to credit card.(one for each). The way it says to do it is to basically Transfer from checking to credit card so I set the category to the [credit card]

I know there is a credit card payment category… is it better to use that and tag it as to what credit card so that I can see what I pay on each over time?

Again I am trying to get actual spending so that I can work on a budget, etc


  • TheGrobbler
    TheGrobbler Member ✭✭

    Let me throw one more thing in…. lets say you payoff your CC every month…. but use the CC to purchase everything… so all the spending categories are gathered from the CC. Then you pay the CC in full.

    The spending for the month will be double (if you have it set up as Credit card payment and not a transfer).

    Now lets say you dont pay it off all at once…. you have spending categories gathered…. but you dont see the actual payment… so if you are trying to track income/expenses for budgeting and need to see OK.. I get this much…and I spend this much on X and this much on Y and then I also have these bills/payments (mortgage and cc)… I am looking for a way to set up transactions so that I can gather the categories and see the true cash flow/month (I believe I am over complicating this and am lost in my own mind! ) :)

  • Rocket J Squirrel
    Rocket J Squirrel SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    Do not use Quicken's built-in credit card payment category. Q's built-in categories appear to have been created randomly by someone who had no idea what they were doing. Create a credit card account, enter debits there, reconcile the credit account monthly and transfer your payment from checking to credit in Q.

    Quicken user since version 2 for DOS, now using QWin Biz & Personal Subscription (US) on Win10 Pro.

  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    transfer your payment from checking to credit in Q.

    That applies whether you are paying the cc in full each month or as a partial payment.

  • TheGrobbler
    TheGrobbler Member ✭✭

    @Rocket J Squirrel - ok that is what I am doing… I make a credit card payment (set up a reminder) the category for the payment is the Credit card …so lets say it is BoBs Creidt…. I would have the category be [bobs credit card] ….

    So lets say I have a spotify account… I pay with Bobs credit card… I put in a reminder for that as well… as it is each month… I enter that… I can reconcile it with the downloaded CC… no issues… and the Streaming Music category (that spotify reminder is set up for) gets the proper amount.

    The issue I am having - When I go to look at reports. I see X amount of spending but what if I want to see what I actually spent on Credit card payments (I know this is a cash flow thing… but the cash flow doesnt show everything properly either).

    The other example…. say my mortgage has a split of Principle/interest/escrow…. the escrow is held in an account with the mortgage company to pay Insurances and taxes at a later date… if I split them and put the escrow in a savings type account… then when looking at spending categories it only shows the principle and interest..and since escrow is a transfer (like the Credit Card payments)… you dont get to see this (again I know this is a cash flow thing… just not sure what to do)..

    basically… I would like to see What we get (income) what we spend (categories) AND the amount we are Over/Under our income each month…

    So lets say I carry a balance on a card…..

    I have $1000 in income… I spend $200 for rent and untilities $200 for food and groceries, $300 for car payment and then spend $1000 on Taylor swift tickets on the credit card…and pay $300/month to pay that off…

    So my spnding will be $1700… income will be $1000

    what I want to see is that I paid $1000 out of my bank account to cover costs… (showing net 0 for the month)… AND show that I spent $1700 in X categories for that month…

    I want to see the Net out of bank account so I can work on budget/category spending…. again I think I am just over thinking everything but I also might be missing some report that shows me how much Im spending…. but with transfers… things seem to be weird.

  • TheGrobbler
    TheGrobbler Member ✭✭
    edited July 2023

    to be honest - maybe in my head i am thinking of something that most people dont care about…

    so I just went to look at cash flow for the past month. In that cash flow it basically shows the same as the spending. Not necessarily the cash flow… just spending in general…. so like I said earlier if you maintain a balance on a credit card and OVER purchase for the month - the cash flow shouldnt include the extra…. just how much I am writing checks for….

    example: Income is $1000 monthly living expenses is $1000 Cash flow should be 1000 in 1000 out…

    now lets include the taylor swift tickets… which were an additional $1000 on a credit card… the cash flow should still be 1000in and out… but the spending should be $2000….

    (buying things on credit card shouldnt be part of the Cash flow (in/out) it should be part of the spending categories but not the flow… the payment to the credit card should be part of the flow)….. not sure any of this makes sense to anyone but me… sorry

    NOTE I did see that there is a way to customize the cash flow report - to only include accounts I want…this may help. I assume I can do the same for the spending…. so maybe this is solved… but still if anyone has any solution for just straight out of the box stuff - or anything to talk me off the ledge!! :)

  • Tom Young
    Tom Young SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2023

    The Cash Flow report is anything BUT a cash flow report. As you say, it's by and large a typical Income & Expense by Category report, narrowed down to Bank and Credit Card Accounts.

    You can modify this report (or any Spending report) to be a more accurate "where did cash come from, where did cash go to" report, but you'll need to master the Customization of whatever report you choose. Narrowly focusing on the "out of the box" Cash Flow report and for simplicity sake assuming that the only Accounts in your file are Bank and Credit Card Accounts, you deselect the credit cards from "feeding" information TO the report under the "Accounts" tab of the customization screen, and make sure the credit card Accounts ARE selected under the "Categories" tab of the customization screen. Then, on the Advanced tab of the customization screen change the "Transfers" setting from "Exclude all" to "Include all."

    What you'll end up with is something that sort of of looks like a Spending Report but will only pick up Inflows and Outflows that have come directly from your Bank Account as "Category" entries, and then will show Transfers to the credit cards as a form of Outlow as "TO[Name of Credit Card]."

    This gets a lot more complex of course if you have lots of Accounts of various sorts and cash transfers between those Accounts and the Bank Account, coming and going.

  • eqqfooyoung
    eqqfooyoung Member ✭✭

    @TheGrobbler ,

    In regards to tracking escrow funds, I've been using NotACPA's method for several months now and it seems to be working well. See this post for more info:

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