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Quicken 2006 for Starters: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Chapter 8. Budgeting

If the word “budget” sounds like an unpleasant shackling of your spending creativity, here are four words of advice: Don’t skip this chapter. A budget is nothing more than a plan for spending, saving, and investing the money you make. Whether you do it in Quicken, in another program, or on a piece of paper, a budget gives you a sense of freedom that only comes from having a plan for making ends meet. The only requirement is that your budget works—for you. If you can find a way to spend $5,000 a year on shoes and still save for retirement, your budget’s probably working.

Quicken’s budgeting features help you estimate how much money you’ll make, and then subtract your estimated expenses. If you’re a compulsive shopper, your first crack at a budget may reveal that your expenses outweigh your income. Armed with that knowledge, you can adjust your budget to scale back spending—or take on a second job to help pay for your purchases. On the other hand, if you’ve been pinching pennies and have money left over each month, a budget helps you come up with a plan for the surplus—like transferring some into savings or investment accounts.

You can create budgets for special purposes, like estimating your annual retirement expenses so ...

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