How do you delete the unallocated amount sitting in each category for a Savings and Spending Budget in My Money Plus? RRS feed

  • Question

  • For about 15 years I have been using the Microsoft Money program and have found it most helpful, especially for keeping an eye on our monthly/yearly budgets for spending.  

    Since My Money Plus has come in and I can no longer use my old Money 2003 (I think!) program, I have been using the Savings and Spending Budget but am so frustrated with the amount sitting in the unallocated amount for each category.  When I originally set the budget up, I just made a 'guestimate' % of our income for each category and then individualised each category and sub-category without realising this % would then become a permanent number that wouldn't alter from  year to year depending on our income.  

    Since then, our incomes have gone down due to retirement for my husband and me becoming an author with a fluctuating income.  Now I find there are quite large amounts sitting in those unallocated amount rows, which puts the total budget out by quite a lot.

    Is there a way I can delete the unallocated amounts in these rows so that the budget balances more equally between our income and spending section over the entire year?

    I have thought of using the other budget choices but am afraid of losing all the individual category and sub-category amounts already entered as there are so many and it takes so long to input them all when most have individual amounts from month to month for each sub-category of income and spending.

    Thanks in anticipation for your assistance.

    Thursday, August 10, 2017 12:38 PM

All replies

  • I don't use the budgets.

    If you want to try things, but you want to make sure you don't loose what you have, I would make a copy of your Money (*.mbf) file, and open the copy. Call the new file maybe Robinson2.mny.

    Once you have opened Robinson2.mny, you can switch back and forth to the other file by using the most-recently used list under the File menu. So make your experimental changes in Robinson2.mny, and follow the existing practices in the current file. You can later delete or ignore the file that you don't want to continue updating.

    One important thing: Money 2005 has one name for the scheduled backup file and one for the upon exit backup file. It is important IMO that the two Money files have different filenames for the backup files that each uses.


    In M05: Tools->Settings->BackupOptions]
    I suggest checking
     x Automatically backup to hard disk on exit
      x Prompt me before backing up each time*
      x Make my file small ...

    Then periodically, perhaps once per month or more, copy your
    latest backup (named differently from your earlier backups) to a
    CDR. With XP, this can be a copy and paste operation. Otherwise
    use the burning software that came with your CDR drive.

    I strongly suggest use of a USB Flash drive also, in addition to
    backing up to your hard drive.  They typically act like a big
    floppy. Money 2005 cannot back up to a removable
    drive, such as a USB flash drive, unless there is 2 GB or less of
    free space (bug).

    * This has two advantages.  You can change the file name
    occasionally.  I like to pick a name something like money170811.
    Then it is easy to change the name to have multiple backups.  The
    .mbf extension is automatic.  The other advantage is that you can
    choose "Don't Back Up, or you change your mind about exiting by
    simply clicking the X in the upper right of the pop-up box.  If I
    went into Money 5 times in a day, I would not want to back up 5
    times, nor would I want to delete 5 other backup files.  You will
    be given the choice to BackUpNow or to Postpone.

    Friday, August 11, 2017 2:23 PM
  • You mention the Savings & Spending Budget and Money Plus so I think you re running Money 2007 or later.  That has the ability to do multiple backups and you should take advantage of that.  And be sure to follow Cal's advice about doing any experiments on a copy of your real file. 

    You may find that you have better luck if you use the Advanced Budget rather than the Saving and Spending budget.  Here is some (very dated) commentary from Dick Watson on the S&S budget:

    Q) What's this 'Savings & Spending Budget'? Where's the real budget tool?
         [Relevant to Money2007 (v.16) and up]

    A) Lots of people, apparently, found the long time Advanced Budget, *née*
    Budget Planner, budgeting method too hard or cumbersome or just not useful.
    Somewhere along the way, Richard Jenkins, an editor at the MSN Money website,
    "invented" a simpler one-size-fits-all solution that he called "the 60%
    solution". M07 incorporated this and calls it the "Savings & Spending Budget".
    Collectively, they seem very proud of it.

    Perhaps it will work well for some people and if it does, more power to the
    60% scheme, to Money for adding it, and to the users it works well for. It
    seems like a simplistic toy to me, but that's just me.

    Where the new toy budget gets a little more complicated is that they hide the
    old Advanced Budget, *née* Budget Planner, tool from anyone who didn't have an
    Advanced Budget in their file pre-dating M07. But a crafty poster, Ronald
    Pierce, resorted to reading the help files and found out that there is a way
    to get to it by typing "money://navigate/newadvbgt" into the M07 URL text box.
    As Michael Gordon pointed out, this is finally a useful purpose for the URL
    text box. Perhaps a more strategic question is how long Money will continue to
    support the budget tool the developers seem intent on making disappear.

    So you may be able to switch to the Advanced Budget using this trick.

    IMHO, budgeting in Money is a complex tool that doesn't work the way one might think.  For example, when you change a budget value for a month, Money "helps out" and makes other changes and maybe changes the previous monthly values also.  Or maybe not.  Confusion ensues.  And undoing changes is even messier.

    To circumvent this I use a hybrid approach.  I have set up a budget in my US Money Plus Sunset using the Advanced Budget capability and plugged in some budget numbers (placeholders) for each expense category.  But I don't actually use the budget values in Money.  Instead, each month or so I run an Annual Budget report and export it to Excel. Then I massage the data a bit and import the actual monthly expense values into a second Excel spreadsheet.  That spreadsheet has a table of budget values that I maintain separate from Money.  I can then look at the actual expenses vs the budget values that I fully control.  It's a chore to set up but it works really well once it's running.

    If you want to try something like that, post back and I'll link you up with some documentation on my process.

    Bill Becker

    • Edited by Bill Becker Saturday, August 12, 2017 3:12 AM Typo
    Saturday, August 12, 2017 2:59 AM