Using Savings Goals
Quicken’s Savings Goals feature helps you save money by “hiding” funds in an account. You set up a savings goal and make contributions to it using the Savings Goals window. Although the money never leaves the source bank account, it is deducted in the account register, thus reducing the account balance in Quicken. If you can’t see the money in your account, you’re less likely to spend it.
Kind of sounds silly, doesn’t it? Using Quicken to transfer money from your checking account to another account that doesn’t even exist?
But don’t laugh—the Savings Goals feature really works. A friend used a similar technique. She simply deducted $10 or $20 from her checking account balance, thus giving the illusion that she had less money in the account than was really there. This helped her save money by making her think twice about writing a check for something they really didn’t need. It prevented her from bouncing checks during the time when the needs of her growing family caused her to keep a dangerously low checking account balance. When her daughter graduated from high school, there was enough money in this “secret” account to pay for a new laptop as the girl went off to college!
Give it a try and see for yourself!
Open the Savings Goals window by choosing Planning | Savings Goals. The Savings Goals startup screen appears. Click Get Started to open the Create New Savings Goal dialog as seen next. If you do not see the Planning tab, from the Quicken menu, choose View | Tabs To Show | Planning. If you do not see the Get Started button, click Goal Actions and select New Savings Goal from the drop-down list.
Enter your goal’s name and amount and the date by which you want to have saved the money. The finish date should be shortly before you leave for your trip or before you’ve planned your 40th wedding anniversary party.
Click OK to close the dialog, Your Savings Goals dialog appears.
NOTE: The name of the savings goal cannot be the same as any Quicken category or account.
Contributing Funds to a Savings Goal
To contribute funds to a savings goal, select the Contribute icon (the white cross in a small green circle) to open the Contribute To Goal dialog.
Select the account from which you want to transfer the money from the From Account drop-down list. The balance and name of that account appear in the bottom of the dialog. Then enter the amount of the transfer in the Amount box. By default, Quicken suggests the projected monthly contribution amount, but you can enter any amount you like. When you’ve finished, click OK.
If you choose, Quicken will create an entry in the account register of the account from which the money was contributed. It also updates the progress bar and information in the Savings Goals dialog. To show this entry:
Your entry will appear in the register of the selected account.
When you create a savings goal, Quicken creates a Savings Goals account to record the goal’s transactions and balance. This account is shown, with the total of your contributions, at the bottom of your Account Bar.
To automate contributions to the goal, you can create a scheduled transaction to transfer money periodically from one of your bank accounts to the savings goal asset account. Scheduled transactions are covered in Chapter 6.
Meeting Your Goal
Once you have met your savings goal, you can either withdraw the funds from the savings goal so they appear in a Quicken account or delete the savings goal to put the money back where it came from.
You can withdraw funds from your savings goals should you need to do so. Click the Planning tab and choose Savings Goals. All of your savings goals will appear. If you have more than one goal, select the one from which you want to withdraw money. Click the Withdraw icon (a small white minus sign in a red circle) or just the word Withdraw. The Withdraw From Goal dialog, which works much like the Contribute To Goal dialog, appears. Use it to remove funds from the savings goal and put them back into the account from which they were contributed. Unlike the Contribute To Goal dialog, your only choice is to put the funds back into the account from which they were deducted. Enter the amount and the date of withdrawal. Click OK to close the Withdraw From Goal dialog.
Editing a Savings Goal
To edit an existing savings goal, from the Planning tab, click Savings Goals. Select the Edit Goal gear icon in the goal you want to change. The Edit Savings Goal dialog appears. Enter the new goal amount and/or finish date. Click OK or Cancel to close the dialog.
Deleting a Savings Goal
To delete a savings goal, right-click its name in the Account Bar and, from the context menu, select Edit/Delete Account. From the Account Details dialog that appears, select the Delete Account button at the bottom left of the window. A message appears that the account will be permanently removed and all transfers put back into the account from which the transfers were made. You must type Yes to confirm the deletion and then click OK to close the dialog. If you decide not to delete the account, click the Cancel button. You can also delete a goal directly from the Savings Goals view.