Chapter 10
Monitoring Spending
and Saving
The word “budget” makes most people think of severe spending restrictions, like
giving up the little treats that help them get through the day (goodbye, morning
lattes!). But a budget is nothing more than a plan for spending and saving your
money. (Don’t worry: Your budget can even include those lattes.) Whether you
create your budget in Quicken or on a piece of paper, it can give you a sense of
freedom that comes from knowing you have a plan to make ends meet. The only
requirement is that your budget works—for you. If you come up with a way to
spend $5,000 a year on shoes and still save enough for retirement, then your bud-
get’s working.
Quicken has a bunch of features that help you estimate how much money you’ll
make, how much money you’ll spend, and from there, how much money is avail-
able for saving or investing. 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 focus on scaling back spending—or look for a second job to
help pay for all your purchases. Ideally, you base your budget on how much money
you want to save, whether your goal is buying a house, having a comfy retirement,
or paying for your kid’s college education. With your income and savings goals as
the bookends, you can play with the expense categories in your budget until the
numbers add up.
You can create budgets for special purposes, like estimating your annual retire-
ment expenses so you can calculate how much you need to squirrel away. Or you
can create a budget of mandatory expenses to see how much you need in emer-
gency funds if your job moves to Guam—and you don’t.

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