When thinking about budgeting your money, there are typically two types of budgeting, Categorization and Envelopes. The idea behind categories is that you create separate categories for each expense over a monthly period and allocate from the entire monthly income how much you would like to spend during that month. With Envelopes, this usually is allocated based on each check so you know how much is available after each check instead of the whole month. With BudgetTracker, we offer both methods for budgeting your money.

  • Categories – The way categories work is that you first need to setup your Bills and Income. By doing this, the budget categories will automatically get created for those expenses and income and will be calculated directly from the Bills or Income page. So if you have a Paycheck that occurs weekly, the budget amount will change depending on how many weeks are in the month. Once you see your Bills and Income on the My Budget page, then it’s time to start entering in your manual categories. For this you have 3 options:
    • Enter the categories directly on the My Categories page. You’ll also see categories that have already been created for you from the My Bills or My Income page. Once the categories are entered, go to the My Budget page and you’ll then see links next to each new category titled “Add to Budget”. This will allow you to determine how much you would like to allocate for that category. As you progress, you can see at the bottom how much is available from your Income.
    • The second method is to manually create your categories from the My Budget page. With this method, we give you some default categories to choose from or you can create your own. This works similar to setting up your categories on the My Categories page, only that you get more options and can enter the Budget Amount directly from the input section. Also note, your Categories and your Budget Categories are the same thing so that when you record a transaction against a category, you are updating your budget at the same time.
    • The third option for manual budget entry is to use the Setup Wizard by selecting “Setup Wizard” at the top of the page. This give you default category names with text-boxes to make it easy to enter in several new categories/budget items from a single page.
  • Envelopes – The Second option for budgeting is to use our Envelopes feature. This works similar to Standard budgeting in that you are still defining monthly budget amounts for each category, only instead of the amounts coming out of your total income for the month, you have columns at the top of the page representing each of your Income Paychecks or items which allow you to allocate portions of a category to each income item. To view the Envelopes system, click the “Standard Budget” dropdown at the top of the page and choose “Envelope”. The first thing to do on the Envelope page is to make sure you have first setup all your Income Recurrences on the My Income page since this is what will appear at the top of the page. You can then start entering in your manual categories as stated in the Standard Budgeting method. Also note that you can easily switch back and forth between both budgeting systems. As you enter in values to allocate towards your expenses, you’ll see that your Available Income and Allocated Expenses will automatically adjust based on the amounts you choose. Once your budget categories have been setup, you’re ready to start entering transactions against those categories to determine how much is left during the month. In BudgetTracker, you get a full Transaction Registry to record your transactions so the first thing to make sure of is to setup your accounts either manually or by AutoSync. Once setup, start entering in your transactions for the month. As you enter a transaction, you’ll have the option to select a category. This is the direct tie from how much you’ve spent versus how much you’ve budgeted for. Notice the category list when creating a new transaction is identical to the My Budget page. Here are a few things to be aware of when working with your budget:
    • Your Income Budget categories work the opposite of expenses in that as you deposit money each month, your left over amount will shrink.
    • To override a budget amount for the month, update the budget category you would like to apply change to and click the override link next to the amount textbox
    • To transfer funds between two budget items for the month, click on the left over amount which is a link.
    • By checking off the carry over feature when updating your budget, this will move forward any leftover money that is left over from previous months. This is indicated by a small C symbol next to the category.
    • When updating your Budget you have the option to choose monthly or weekly budgeting which ill allow you to view how much has been spent against your category for the week. If you would like to see a combination of both weekly and monthly budget items, select the “Related Pages” dropdown above the left navigation and choose “Show All Spent”.
    • You have the ability to apply multiple Bills to a single category so be aware of this if your Budget looks too high. When a Bill is attached to a budget item, a small B will appear to the left of the category. If you hover your mouse over it, you’ll see all the bills that are allocated to that budget item.
    • To get a snapshot of which Bills and Income items are tied to which Budget Categories, go to the My Bills page, click on “Related Pages” and choose Bills/Income Ties. This will allow you to quickly see and apply budget categories to your income or bill.
    • If you click on the spent amount which is a link, this will take you to page where you can see all the transactions that were applied to that category for the month.

Hopefully this article will give you a good base on how the Budgeting system works in BudgetTracker. For questions, please contact us at support@budgettracker.com, post a reply, or post on our Message Boards and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to setup your Budget.