This past weekend we finally got around to creating a budget in Quicken. We’ve had Quicken for quite some time now, but had never really taken the time to set everything up correctly and actually track our finances. Here are some easy steps we used to get a budget set up:
1. Load all of our accounts into Quicken (savings, checking, credit cards, 401(k), 403(b), and the 4 CD’s we currently have). You can also use any of the free online budgeting tools like Mint instead of a for-pay service like Quicken or Microsoft Money.
2. Spend some time crunching numbers on our current spending
3. Decide what the priorities are for spending and saving for the future
4. Set up categories that we wanted our money to be separated into (we have categories like mortgage, utilities, education, car loan, and also some discretionary spending accounts like “Jess’s Fun Money.”). We felt it was important to have some money to do what we like with, that we don’t have to account to the other person for. This keeps us on track, but also allows some flexibility
We set ours up as monthly tracking, because this makes the most sense for the way we get paid. You can also do this daily, weekly, or quarterly as well. I will probably continue to update the budget weekly, but the categories are set up as virtual “envelopes” with money for the month.
This is hopefully the start of a successful budgeting system for us. What works for you?