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Creating a budget is one of the best things you can do in Quicken, helping you to get and maintain control of your finances. Creating a budget is, essentially, creating a plan for your money. You designate the amounts you plan to spend in individual categories that represent the areas you spend your money in. You can then track how you are doing with the budget, seeing your spending in individual categories and overall. 

A slideshow presentation of the budget creation process is here.

Quicken automatically creates a budget based on your recurring expense categories. After the budget is created, you can easily add or remove categories to more precisely match your needs.

  1. Select the Planning tab. 

    If you cannot find your tabs, verify that Tabs are turned on. Go to the View menu and make sure Show Tabs is selected.

  2. Select Budgets if it is not already selected.
  3. If you've never created a budget, select Get Started. If there is an existing budget and you want to create a new budget, choose Budget Actions → Create new budget.
  4. Type a Budget name.
  5. Budgets default to the current calendar year. If you want to apply the budget to previous years, use 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.

  6. You have the option to have Quicken select your budget categories or to select them manually. It is often easier to let Quicken select the categories because you can always change the categories once the budget is created.
  7. Click Next to create your 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.

  8. Work with your budget in the Budget window.

About extending your budget

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:

  1. Use the date control at the top of the budget window to change the year.
  2. 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
  3. Click OK to create the new budget.