How Do I Create a Budget? (Quicken for Windows)
Quicken automatically creates a budget based on your recurring expense categories. Afterwards, you can easily add or remove categories to more precisely match your needs.
Quicken offers a robust budgeting tool. Watch this video for a brief run-through of the budget creation process.
- Click the Planning tab.
- Select the Budgets tab.
- Click Get Started (or choose Budget Actions > Create new budget if there is already an existing budget).
- Type a budget name.
- If necessary, change the Advanced Budget Settings.
- You can define a fiscal year that begins on any month of the year. When you do so, any yearly or quarterly preferences in Quicken are offset based on the first month of your fiscal year.
- For example, if your fiscal year started in April 2019, and it's now January 2020, select April in the Start budget on field. Quicken then considers April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, as last year.
- To base Quicken's yearly or quarterly budget options on January 1 to December 31, select January in the Start budget on field.
- Click Next.
- Choose if you prefer Quicken to select the transaction categories used or if you want to select them manually.
- Click Next to create your budget.
After creating your budget
You can review it:
- To make changes such as what accounts to include, select Budget Actions. You can also generate a report and create a new budget.
- To change the categories you are tracking, select Manage Budget Categories.
- To change the budget amount, select Edit on any budget item. To see the Edit button, hover your pointer over the spending category.
Information in the Budget
The type of budget created
Quicken creates a budget for all of your recurring personal expense categories. It does not include transfers or income categories in the budget. If you want, you can add transfers and income categories later by clicking Select Categories to Budget at the bottom of the Budget window.
The date range used
Quicken creates the budget based on transactions from the previous 12 full months. If you don't have 12 months of transactions yet, Quicken creates the budget based on as few as 3 months of transactions.
The budgeting method used
Quicken creates the budget based on your actual monthly expenses for prior months, and your average monthly expenses for current and future months.
The rounding used
Quicken rounds each budget amount to the nearest dollar.
The accounts and categories used
Quicken creates the budget based on personal expense transactions in all of your accounts except Invoice and *Sales Tax* accounts (Quicken Home & Business only).
Quicken excludes the following categories from a budget when it is first created:
- Income categories
- Special investment and paycheck categories (usually preceded by an underscore character), such as "_401Contrib"
- The Interest Exp, Misc, and Not Sure categories
- Categories with the following tax line item assignments: Schedule A: Home mortgage interest, W-2: Federal tax withheld, W-2:Medicare tax withheld, W-2:Medicare tax withheld, W-2:Local tax withheld, W-2:Soc. Sec. tax withheld, and W-2:State tax withheld.
After the budget has been created you can add categories and further customize it, as necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I don't see the Planning tab?
You can choose which tabs to display, or not display, in the row that runs across the top of the Quicken window (the Home tab, the Spending tab, and so on). If you do not see the Planning tab, you may just need to add it to your tabs to show.
To do this:
- Go to View > Tabs to show.
- Select the Planning tab from the list.
How do I copy my current budget to next year?
The first time you view a prior year's budget in a new year, Quicken asks you if you want to extend it to the new year. Just click OK and Quicken creates a new budget for you automatically, copying all of your current budget categories and budget values to the new budget.
If you want to get an early start
If you want to create next year's budget before the start of the new year, or if you want more control over how the budget is created:
- Use the date control at the top of the budget window to change the year.
- Quicken asks you how you want to create the new budget:
- Copy budget categories and budget values to the new budget
- Copy budget categories and actuals as budget values to the new budget
- Copy budget categories only to the new budget
- Click OK to create the new budget.
- Your new budget will report income and expense actuals based on transactions from the year it represents.
- You can edit your new budget without affecting your previous budget.
- You can change budget years using the date control at the top of the window.
- You can create budgets for prior years.