Budget for Windows is a budgeting system that uses virtual envelopes to help the user develop and maintain a budget. There are two ways to begin using the program. Your first option is to use the setup assistant, which many users may prefer because the program will walk you through setting up some basic accounts and envelopes. You can choose your envelope categories from popular choices supplied by Budget for Windows, or create your own envelopes. If you don’t want to use the setup assistant, you can input your information manually. Either way, remember to save your data after you’re finished setting it up or inputting information throughout the budgeting process.
Budget has the capability to import Quicken Interchange Format (QIF) files. If you want more information on those capabilities, you can visit the “import files” section. First, you set up your working bank accounts, and then you create expense envelopes based on what you think you’ll spend your money on. Users can also add credit cards onto the program. Existing debt can be recorded as a lump sum or in different envelopes. To record something in more than one envelope, you must enter a split charge, which simply means that you can separate the debt between envelopes.
Once you designate your bank accounts and spending categories, you take money from the bank accounts and disperse it among the envelopes to decide how much you want to spend on each category. If you make a purchase, you simply click on the envelope and add the purchase. You will see the amount available in the given envelope decline as you continue spending.
By clicking “Account History” at the top, you can easily get a report for a given bank account that will show your income and expenses. If you click “Envelope History,” the program generates a report that shows all activity in any given envelope. The stats function allows you to create charts and graphs based on your spending.
Another useful feature in Budget for Windows is its calendar, which allows you to add important pay dates or any type of reminder you see fit. Users can also easily create and print reports based on any deposit. The savings calculator tool helps you discover how much you need to save to reach a certain goal. Users can input different variables such as how much money is added monthly, the interest rate, the inflation rate and for how many months the savings will take place. The program automatically generates a total savings amount under the given conditions.
Overall this is a powerful but simple program for individuals who want to track their spending and create budgets. Budget for Windows is designed around an envelope system, which is a nice reminder for some people that their money must go somewhere. The program features a wealth of capabilities and the help files explain many of the functions in detail. Another positive is that you don’t have to allow access to any of your personal bank account information; it is all input manually. Although tedious for some, it may be a safer approach to budgeting.
Budget for Windows 5.0.3
System Requirements: Windows NT/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7
Price: Free to try with limited functionality, $39.95 to buy