Quicken Newbie

I just purchased Quicken with the hope of trying to understand my finances.
My wife and I have been pretty good with money but as we get older I'd like
to get more organized with our money and have a way to see all accounts at
one time.
My first impression of Quicken Deluxe 2008 (for Windows) is that it looks
pretty sophisticated and I can't figure out the most basic thing:
- I thought I would be entering every penny that we spend . I can't figure
where to do that.
Next thing:
- I've been paying my bills online with my bank, Citibank, FOR FREE.
Browsing the Citibank web site it looks like they want $9.95 a month to do
it through Quicken. Is that true?
Reply to
Open Quicken, click on "Help", view the tutorials and see if that helps? You will probably have more questions but see if you can make them more specific, it'll make it easier to answer.
All your transaction will be entered into the register you create. If you want to track all your cash transactions, that's pretty tough if you use cash for most of your expenditures.
I get cash from the automatic teller from time to time and just enter it as Misc. expense. I use the cash for "walking around money and use a credit card for almost all other purchases which show up when I download, that's how I track expenditures.
Yes, as far as I know? You can keep on using your bank's free service, and download the information into Quicken from time to time.
Reply to
As suggested by another poster, this "question" is lacking in details.
I suggest you start by thinking of Quicken accounts as you do your real-world accounts. Plan for your Quicken default setup to have one Quicken account for each of your real-world accounts. (If that relationship should turn out not to be possible, you can post back with the specifics).
Quicken will not prevent you from paying your bills online "FOR FREE"; nor will you lose anything by using Quicken when you utilize any online billpay service.
You MAY be able to create online billpay transactions within Quicken, and upload those transactions to your billpay financial institution ... if your fi provides that service. Ask your fi, or notice what services Quicken says your fi offers.
But even if you can not transmit online billpay transactions to your online bill-payer from Quicken ... you can not lose anything relating to online billpay by using Quicken that you had before you started using Quicken. Quicken will download the resulting transactions as long as the BILL-PAYING institution offers downloads to Quicken. And if that bill-paying institution does not offer downloads to Quicken, you still have not lost anything.
Reply to
John Pollard
If you want to track all expenditures, then create categories for every expenditure. Download directly from the bank and it will automatically put each expenditure into the appropriate column. Then make & save reports for the categories you want to track using bar graphs. That way you can get a quick snapshot of where your money is going and adjust if necessary.
Reply to
John Callaway
Walter -
The easiest thing to do if you're new to the program is simply go to your local Barnes and Nobles (or Borders) and buy a copy of one of the books about Quicken - I'd suggest the "Quicken for Dummies" series, or one of the "Official" Quicken books you'll find on their bookshelves. It's a lot more readable than going through help panels and will give you a much better sense of the program from your local armchair.
As far as the general comment about "I thought I would be entering every penny that we spend . I can't figure where to do that.". It is true that you can do that by posting EVERY expenditure in one of the Quicken registers that you'll read about, but I doubt many people are that anal. For example, do you REALLY want to try to track every cent that you spend when you take money of out an ATM for pocket change? Thing about the payback you'll get vs. the time and effort and bookkeeping you'll need to worry about.
Reply to
Well, on a tangent to "posting EVERY expenditure", as we live in Florida and can deduct state sales taxes on the federal tax return, I started this year (purely as ***experiment***) to break out expenditures into the appropriate category and state sales tax, if any. I am doing this under the "general feeling" that the amount allowed to de deducted without backup detail is lower than reality.
Unfortunately, some of our biggest expenses do not carry Florida state sales taxes (i.e., travel expenditures like cruises, gasoline). Those carry state excise taxes and other fees not deductible on the federal return.
More unfortunately, YTD reports indicate that, so far, the allowed amount (broken into 12 equal budget months) is higher than actual taxes paid. I was close to a little ahead of budget at the beginning of the year when we bought a couple of computers for relatives, but have fallen behind since. Anyway, federal allows additional deductions for "big ticket" items in addition to the allowed amount.
This one-year exercise may be good as an experiment, but Andrew is correct in his suggestion to the OP about evaluating expected payback vs. time and effort of bookkeeping.
AL .
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