What kind of computer system will BudgetSmart run on?   How do I delete or change an expense category description?
How do I install BudgetSmart?

How do I add a new expense item description?

What if I have problems installing the software? How do I delete or change an expense item description?
How do I start the BudgetSmart program on my computer? What is the difference between expense category and expense item?
What process should I use to develop a budget? How do I delete a budget?
How do I add a new user? How do I change the name of a budget?
Can I add a password later? What is a “What If” budget?
How do I change my password? How do I move from one month to the next?
What if I forget my password? How do I switch budgets?
How do I report problems or suggestions?

How do I move a budget into the next calendar year?

How do I create a BudgetSmart budget?

How do I enter my daily purchases and bill payments?

How do I change budget amounts? What does the color of the traffic light mean on the Add Expenses Tab?
How do I change my net income? Can I edit or delete a transaction?
How do I add a new expense category description? When should I use the Analyze Budget option?

 

What kind of computer system will BudgetSmart run on?

BudgetSmart is written to run on the most popular home computer operating systems: Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 95/98/ME.

How do I install BudgetSmart?

Now you’re ready to install BudgetSmart onto your computer. You will need up to 30 MB of hard drive space to install BudgetSmart.

  1. Close any other programs and applications that are currently running on your computer.
  2. Insert the CD into your compuer’s CD disk drive.
  3. Wait a few moments. Your computer will automatically begin the installation process. (If installation does not begin automatically, open your Windows Explorer program. Click on the CD disk drive, and then double-click on the “setup.exe” file to begin installation.)
  4. The setup wizard will lead you through the installation process.
  5. After installation is complete, restart your computer.

NOTE: After installation, please be sure to remove the BudgetSmart CD from your CD disk drive and store it in a safe place. If you install the application and then re-install it again in the future, the re-installation will overwrite any information you had entered previously (unless you had backed up your database and renamed it).

What if I have problems installing the software?

Go to our website, www.budgetsmart.org, to view additional help information, access updates or patches, or report problems.

How do I start the BudgetSmart program on my computer?

Open the application by clicking on “Budget Software,” “BudgetSmart” from your application program menu. Or simply double-click on the “BudgetSmart” icon on your computer screen desktop.

What process should I use to develop a budget?

Take some time to organize and group your list of expenses. You will need these to prepare your estimated budget. The program will categorize your expenses in the areas of: Clothing, Food, Housing, Utilities, Transportation, Medical, Entertainment, Savings, Child Care, Charities & Gifts, Unsecured Debts, and Miscellaneous. Please try to determine your spending amounts for each category before building your budget.

Also examine your expenses and income in terms of frequency --- those that recur each month (mortgage payment, auto payment, electric bill, paycheck, etc.) and those that are periodic (insurance, water bill, tax refund, auto repair, vacations, etc.). These will play a big factor in your monthly cash flow.

Next, determine if you expect to make any major purchases in the near future. For example, if a new roof is needed later in the year you will want to budget to start saving now and budget the payment(s) in the appropriate month(s) ahead. Also, consider how your long-term goals may play a factor in your budget. For example, retirement planning may include deposits into 401(k) plan right now. College tuition, weddings and new cars may also need to be planned.

Finally, determine which expenses are “needs” and which are “wants.” A “need” is an absolute necessity. It’s something you cannot do without. A “want” is something that is nice to have, but is not a necessity of life. As you develop your budget, be sure to treat your “needs” with higher priority. If you need to trim expenses, look to the “wants” to see what you can do without.

How do I add a new user?

  1. The first time you install BudgetSmart, the program will automatically bring up the Enter Information” screen. Later, you can create a new user at any time by clicking on “File,” “Add New User.”
  2. Enter your Name. The program will automatically assign you a User Name, but if you choose you can type in the User Name of your choice.
  3. You may now assign a password to the new user, but you are not required to do so. You may want to enter a password if others have access to your computer and you don’t want them to view your budget. If you want a password, type it in the Password field. If you type in a password, you must select a question and answer to the question that will be used in case you forget your password later. Select one of the questions in the list or type in your own question. Then type in the Answer to Question.
  4. After entering the desired information, click the “Save” button.

Can I add a password later?

Yes. To add a password later, click on “File,” “Switch Users.” Then, from the BudgetSmart login screen, click on “Change Password.” Leave the “Old Password” field blank, and type your desired password in the “New Password” field.

How do I change my password?

Click on “File,” “Switch Users.” Then, from the BudgetSmart login screen, click on “Change Password.” The BudgetSmart login screen will appear each time you start the program or switch users.

What if I forget my password?

From the BudgetSmart login screen, click on “Forget Password?” Then type in the answer to the question you selected when you initially set up the password.

How do I report problems or suggestions?

Go to our website, www.budgetsmart.org, to report problems or submit suggestions.

How do I create a BudgetSmart budget?

When you add a new user, the program will automatically begin the budget creation wizard. Or, at any time, you can click on “File,” “New Budget.”

  1. Determine a name for your budget and type it in the Budget Name field. Click the “Next>>” button.
  2. Type the amount of monthly net household income (after taxes) in the Monthly Net Income box. Click the “Next>>” button.
  3. Type the amount of monthly expenses you want to budget in each of the Expense Category fields (along the right side of the screen).
    1. As you click in each Expense Category field, the Suggested Range will display the average expense range based on figures from the U.S. Department of Labor. This range is provided only as a guideline. Your financial situation may be quite different from the national averages.
    2. As you enter amounts in the Expense Category fields, the Total Monthly Budget field will display a running total of your total monthly expenses. Beneath that is a field that displays how much your expenses exceed or fall short of your monthly income.
  4. Click the “Next>>” button after entering all of your budget expenses.
  5. Click the “Finish” button to complete your budget.

How do I change budget amounts?

You can change budget amounts only for the current month. You must repeat the process below for each month you want to change.

  1. Click the “Edit Budget” tab near the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select “Single Category” if you only want to change the budgeted amount of one single Expense Category. Or select “Multiple Categories” if you want to change more than one Expense Category.
  3. Click the “Edit” button.
  4. Enter your changes:
    1. If you are changing a single category, you will be prompted to select the specific Expense Category. Then enter the budget amount in the Budget box, and click the “Save” button.
    2. If you are changing multiple categories, you will be able to enter budget amounts in any of the Expense Categories along the right side of the screen. Click the “Save” button when your changes are complete.

How do I change my net income?

You can change net income for the current month (if you receive a bonus, tax refund, etc.). Or you can change net income for all months remaining in the year.

  1. Click the “Edit Budget” tab near the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select the “Net Income” circle button.
  3. Click the “Edit” button.
  4. Type the desired amount in the Monthly Net Income box.
  5. Select the appropriate circle button to indicate whether you want the income change to apply to the current month, or to all months remaining in the year.
  6. Click the “Save” button.

How do I add a new expense category description?

Sorry, but you are not able to add a new expense category.

How do I delete or change an expense category description?

Sorry, but you are not able to modify or delete any of the 12 expense categories.

How do I add a new expense item description?

  1. Click on “File,” “New Item.”
  2. Select which Expense Category you want the expense item to go under.
  3. Type in the desired Item Description.
  4. Click the “Save” button.

How do I delete or change an expense item description?

You cannot delete an expense item, but you can change its description.

  1. Click on “Edit,” “Edit Item.”
  2. Select which Expense Category the specific expense item is under.
  3. Click on the specific expense item you would like to change.
  4. Type in the desired Item Description.
  5. Click the “Save” button.

What is the difference between expense category and expense item?

Expense Category refers to the 12 broad categories that cannot be changed (housing, food, transportation, etc.). Expense Item refers to the more specific expense items within each category (mortgage, rent, work lunches, groceries, car loan, gas, etc.). You can change and add expense items.

How do I delete a budget?

Sorry, but you are not able to delete a budget.

How do I change the name of a budget?

Sorry, but you are not able to change a budget name.

What is a “What If” budget?

A “What If” budget is a duplicate copy of a budget that you can use to analyze a financial scenario (buying a car or home, etc.) and view its impact to your budget. You can freely change expenses and income in the “What If” budget without altering your “master” budget.

To create a “What If” budget:

  1. Click on “Edit,” “Create What If Budget.”
  2. Click the “Next >>” button.
  3. Select the budget and year you would like to copy.
  4. Decide on a name for your “What If” budget and type it in the Budget Name field.
  5. Click the “Save” button.

How do I move from one month to the next?

The month and year of the budget you are viewing always appears at the bottom right corner of each screen. You can move from month-to-month simply by clicking on the desired month.

How do I switch budgets?

The name of the budget you are viewing always appears near the bottom right corner of each screen. Clicking on the arrow next to the budget name displays a list of the current user’s budgets. You can switch budgets simply by clicking on the desired budget name. If you want to view another user’s budget, you must first click on “File,” “Switch Users.”

How do I move a budget into the next calendar year?

  1. Click on “Edit,” “Add Year to Budget.”
  2. The program will ask if you are sure you want to copy December’s budget data into each month of the following year.
  3. Click the “Yes” button.

How do I enter my daily purchases and bill payments?

  1. Click the “Add Expenses” tab near the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click the “New” button.
  3. Select the specific Expense Category and Expense Item where you want to log the transaction. (For example, you would select the Housing category and Mortgage item to log your mortgage payment.)
  4. Enter the amount of the expense in the amount box next to the item description.
  5. Click the “Add” button.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 as desired for each transaction.
  7. Click the “Done” button.

For the selected Expense Category, the current month’s total budgeted and actual expenses appear in a running total at the top of the screen. This screen also displays a detailed history of all transactions for the selected Expense Category during the month.

What does the color of the traffic light mean on the Add Expenses Tab?

The traffic light displays green for an Expense Category when actual expenses are less than 90% of the budgeted amount, the light displays yellow when actual expenses are 90-100% of the budgeted amount, and the light turns red when actual expenses exceed the budgeted amount.

Can I edit or delete a transaction?

You can correct a transaction if you make a data entry error, return merchandise for a refund, etc.

  1. Click the “Add Expenses” tab near the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click the “New” button.
  3. Select the specific Expense Category and Expense Item for the transaction you want to correct.
  4. Make a correcting entry:
    1. If the amount you originally entered was too high, enter the amount of the overage in the amount box next to the item description. (If you originally entered $100 for an $80 expense, you would type in $20. Or if you purchased a toaster for $30 and later returned it for a refund, you would type in $30.) Now click the “Subtract” button.
    2. If the amount you originally entered was too low, enter the balance in the amount box next to the item description. (If you originally entered $150 for a $200 expense, you would type in $50.) Now click the “Add” button.
  5. Click the “Done” button.

When should I use the Analyze Budget option?

Consider using this tool when you are over budget and receive a red stoplight for at least one Expense Category.

BudgetSmart will provide suggestions only for those Expense Categories in which your spending is overbudget (or saving is underbudget).

  1. Click on “File,” “Analyze Budget.”
  2. If necessary, use the scroll bar at right to scroll down.
 
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