How do I work with a budget


To work with a budget, you must first create a budget. After you've created a budget, you can view and work with it as described below.

  1. Click the Planning tab.
  2. Click the Budgets button.

Things you can see in the Budget window

  • Budget summary
    At the top of the window is a budget summary for the selected date range.
    • If you are budgeting expenses (most people do) the summary shows the total amount you have budgeted, how much you have spent, and how much you have left (or how much you have overspent).
    • If you are budgeting income and you have unbudgeted money remaining, this "extra" amount is displayed as Savings in the summary.
  • Red and green bars or lines
    In Graph View, each category group and category has a either a green, red or grey bar next to it.
    • For expense categories: A green bar means that you have spent as much or less than you budgeted; a red bar means that you have spent more than you budgeted. The actual amount you've spent appears as a number in the bar.
    • For income categories: A green bar means that you have received as much or more income than you budgeted; a red bar means that you have received less income than you budgeted. The sum of your income in the category appears as a number in the bar.
    • A grey bar (no green or red at all) means that there has been no income or expense activity in the category group or category during the selected date range.
    • A light green or light red segment within a bar means that there are reminder transactions (transactions that will occur in the future) included in the category group or category. The sum of the reminder transactions appears as a number in the segment.

       

    In Annual View, each month has either a green or red line under its column header(s).

    • In Annual View, each month has either a green or red line under its column header(s).
  • Budget columns and amounts
    You'll see a lot of different numbers in the Budget window. Here is a brief description of where they appear and what they mean.
    • Budget column: The budget amounts you've assigned to each category for the selected date range.
    • Actual column (in Annual View): The actual amounts spent or received in each of your budget groups and categories for the selected date range. You cannot change the actual amounts in your budget because they are calculated based on the sum of your transactions. If the actual amounts are incorrect, you'll need to change the transactions themselves. Click any actual amount to see your monthly spending or income history for a category.
    • Actual amounts (in Graph View): The red and green colored bars display the actual amounts spent or received in each of your budget groups and categories for the selected date range.
    • Balance column: The difference between your budget amounts and your actual amounts for the selected date range. For expense categories, red numbers mean you have spent more than you budgeted; for income categories, red numbers mean that you have received less money than you budgeted. Black numbers mean that you have money left in a category to allocate or spend.
    • [Year] Summary (in Annual View): The balance of each of your budget groups and categories for the budget year.
    • Totals (in Annual View): The sum of the Budget, Actual, and Balance amounts for all of your budget groups or categories for the selected date range.
    • Rollover Reserve (in Annual View): The sum of the rollover amounts in the Balance column for all of your rollover budget categories for the selected date range. You must have at least one category enabled for rollovers, and the Balance column must be displayed for the Reserve Rollover total to appear.
  • Everything Else
    • Everything Else within a category, such as Auto
      Everything Else appears within a category if you've selected the parent category and at least one, but not all subcategories within that category. It represents the sum of amounts spent or received in the unbudgeted subcategories within a category. Here are some things you can do with the amount:
      • Ignore the amount: If you are not concerned with the amount, you can just ignore it.
      • Reduce or eliminate the amount: Take a look at the subcategories included in the Everything Else amount, then add those subcategories to your budget; or, remove all of the subcategories and track only at the category level.
      • Budget the amount: Assign a budget amount to Everything Else to create a collective budget for all of the subcategories it contains. To do so, click the Everything Else line and enter an amount.
    • Everything Else within a category group, such as Personal Expenses
      In Graph View only, Everything Else within a category group represents the sum of amounts spent or received in the unbudgeted categories in a category group. Here are some things you can do with the amount:
      • Ignore the amount: If you are not concerned with the amount, you can just ignore it.
      • Reduce or eliminate the amount: Take a look at the categories included in the Everything Else amount, then add those categories to your budget. To do so, click the add icon (the green circle with the plus sign in it) to the right of each category and enter an amount.
      • Budget the amount: Assign a budget amount to Everything Else to create a collective budget for all of the categories it contains. To do so, click the add icon (the green circle with the plus sign in it) to the right of the Everything Else line and enter an amount.

To set or copy budget amounts

  • In Graph View
    • If necessary, use the options at the top of the Budget window to select the Monthly date range and then select the budget month you'd like to set amounts for.
    •  To enter a single budget amount, click the budget amount you'd like to set and type a new amount.
    • To copy, calculate, or enter multiple budget amounts, click  next to an amount and then choose:
      • Apply [the selected month] budget forward to the end of [the budget year]. This copies the currently selected category budget amount to all future months of the budget year.
      • Apply [the selected month] budget to all of [the budget year]. This copies the currently selected category budget amount to all months, past and future, of the budget year.
      • Edit Yearly Budget. This lets you manually enter monthly budget amounts for the currently selected category for any or all months of the budget year.
      • Calculate Average Budget. This lets you set monthly budget amounts for a category based on an amount per time period. Quicken then calculates a monthly budget amount based on the amount per time period you specify and inserts it into your budget.
      • Set [the selected month] budget based on average [spending or income] for this category. This calculates and enters a budget amount that is the average spending or income for the category over the past 12 months.
  • In Annual View
    • If necessary, at the top of the Budget window select either the Details or Budget only filter.
    • Click the budget amount you'd like to set and type a new amount.
    • To copy, calculate, or enter multiple budget amounts, click  next to an amount and then choose:
      • Apply [the selected month] budget forward to the end of [the budget year]. This copies the currently selected category budget amount to all future months of the budget year.
      • Apply [the selected month] budget to all of [the budget year]. This copies the currently selected category budget amount to all months, past and future, of the budget year.
      • Set [the selected month] budget based on average [spending or income] for this category. This calculates and enters a budget amount that is the average spending or income for the category over the past 12 months.
      • Edit Yearly Budget. This lets you manually enter monthly budget amounts for the currently selected category for any or all months of the budget year.
      • Calculate Average Budget. This lets you set monthly budget amounts for a category based on an amount per time period. Quicken then calculates a monthly budget amount based on the amount per time period you specify and inserts it into your budget.
    • To copy all budget amounts from one month to other months in your budget, click the Budget column header of the month you want to copy, and then choose how you want to copy the amounts: to future months, to past months, or to all months in the current year.

Other things you can do in the Budget window

  • Select a budget
    If you have more than one budget, choose the budget you want to work with at the top of the window.
  • Use Graph View
    Select Graph View from the options at the top of the window to assign budget amounts and analyze your spending using a simple bar chart presentation. You can also choose Budget Actions > Switch to Graph View to change to Graph View.
  • Use Annual View 
    Select Annual View from the options at the top of the window to assign budget amounts and analyze your spending using an yearly, tabular presentation. You can also choose Budget Actions > Switch to Annual View to change to Annual View.
  • Change the date range
    Use the options at the top of the window to select a date range (in Graph View) or a specific year (in Annual View).
  • Use rollover categories
    You can create budget categories that rollover from one month to the next into a cumulative balance. This means you can start a month with more money in a category if you've underspent in previous months, or with less money in a category if you've overspent.

    Use rollover categories when:

    • Budget amounts fluctuate. In this case, you budget an average amount but the actual amount is always a little more or less. For example, you don't use as much heating in the spring so you build up a rollover balance that will shrink again in the summer months when you use a lot of air conditioning.
    • Budget amounts are large and infrequent. In this case, divide the amount by the number of months in the payment period. The amount in the category rollover will increase until the month in which the payment is made.

    Interested in using rollovers?

    • create rollover categories
      When you first create a budget, none of the budget categories are rollover categories. You need to explicitly create rollover categories. Here's how:
      • Click the Planning tab.
      • Click the Budgets button.
      • Select a category in your budget.
      • Click How do I work with a budgetnext to the category, and then choose one of the following:

      Note:A sub-category will add or subtract its rollover amount from a parent category if the parent is also a rollover category. If the parent is not a rollover category, it will ignore the rollover amount of the sub-category.

      • Change or reset rollover amounts
        If you underspend in one rollover category, and overspend in another, you can easily subtract from, add to, or reset your rollover amounts to compensate. Here's how:
        • Click the Planning tab.
        • Click the Budgets button.
        • Click the balance amount of a rollover category you want to change.
        • In the Rollover popup, click Edit, change the rollover amount as needed, then click Reset. To remove a rollover amount completely, enter 0.00.
        • Click Save to update the balance of the category.

        Note: If you decide later that you want to remove the changes you've made to your rollover amounts, click How do I work with a budget (the Rollover On icon), and choose Undo all rollover edits for [Year]. This will reset all of your rollovers for the year to their calculated, default values.

  • Show category totals
    Click Budget Actions > View options > Show parent category rollup to display parent categories for the subcategories you've added to your budget. Each parent category displays the sum of all subcategory amounts under it. Because it functions as a roll-up, the parent category is not editable.


    Tip:

    • To expand and collapse subcategories into their parent category, click the How do I work with a budget icons next to the parent category.
    • To set budget amounts at the parent category level, deselect the subcategories under a category. (Click Select Categories to Budget in the Budget window.)
  • Show category totals
    Click Budget Actions > View options > Show cents. When selected, all Graph View and Annual View budget amounts will include cents. No rounding will occur.
  • Budget detailed loan payments
    If you're tracking a loan in Quicken using a detailed loan payment reminder, here's how to budget the total amount of the payment (as opposed to the individual line items of the payment:
    • Click Select Categories to Budget at the bottom of the Budget window.
    • Click the Detailed Loan Payments tab.
    • Select the loan you want to add to your budget, then click OK.
    • In the Budget window, enter the total monthly amount of the loan payment.
  • Budget transfers between accounts
    Here's how to budget the transfer of money between your accounts:
    • Click Select Categories to Budget at the bottom of the Budget window.
    • Click the Transfers In or the Transfers Out tab.
    • Select the accounts you want to transfer money in or out of.
    • Click OK to save your changes.
    • Assign the transfer amounts in the budget window.
  •  View a history of spending in a category
    In Graph View, click any red or green bar, or click How do I work with a budget to see your monthly spending or income history for a category.


    In Annual View, click any actual amount to see your monthly spending or income history for a category.
  • Add or remove budget columns (in Annual View)
    To filter the columns displayed under each month: at the top of the Annual View window, select Details, Balance only, Budget only, or Actuals only.


    To display the Actual and/or Balance columns for future budget months: at the bottom right of the Annual View window, select Show [detail or balance] for future months. This can be helpful if you've entered transactions for future months in your register.


    To insert a column that displays your budget balances as of today's date: at the top of the Annual View window, click Budget Actions > View options > Show To-Date column in Annual View.
  • Exclude savings to savings account transfers
    This is useful when you want to budget money moving TO or FROM your savings accounts and other account types, but do NOT want to budget money moving between your savings accounts. This preference applies to all of your budgets.


    Click Budget Actions > Budget Preferences, then select Don't include savings account to savings account transfers.
  • Exclude savings to savings goal transfers
    This is useful when you want to budget money moving TO or FROM your savings accounts and other account types, but do NOT want to budget money moving between your savings accounts and savings goals. This preference applies to all of your budgets.


    Click Budget Actions > Budget Preferences, then select Don't include savings account to savings goal transfers.
  • Extend your budget into 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.
      • Copy budget categories and budget values to the new budge.
      • Copy budget categories and actuals as budget values to the new budget
      • Copy budget categories only to the new budget
    • Quicken asks you how you want to create the new budget:
    • Click OK to create the new budget.



    Notes:

    • 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.
  • Budget using category groups only
    It's possible to budget for an entire category group instead of entering a separate amount for each category within it. If you do this, any difference between the amount you enter for the category group and the total of the individual amounts for the categories in that group will be assigned to Everything Else line in your budget.
    • Select the Everything Else line of the category group.
    • Enter the amount(s) as necessary.

    For more information, see Working with category groups.

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