Thursday, March 06, 2008

Quicken and Funding Your FSA

Where I work, it's that time of year again. Over the next few days we'll be having our annual health insurance meetings.

I suspect most readers know the drill at these things: Gather the employees in cramped quarters. Make them listen to hour-long spiels from insurance reps. Tell them how much health and dental insurance premiums will be doing up this year. Pass out packets full of glossy brochures and small-print forms to fill out.

Such a party.

It's at these meetings that we employees get to determine how much we want to set aside in our Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) over the next twelve months. I use the FSA to save up pretax dollars for expected medical expenses; if child-care expenses were an issue for us (they're not, as my beloved Battleaxe is a Stay-at-Home Battleaxe), I'd darn sure use it for that, too.

Planning Your FSA Contributions

If you're a Quicken user like I am, then knowing how much to contribute to your FSA each year is a cinch. Here, for example, is my Quicken spending report for the "Medical" category for 2007:

Quicken Spending Report

I put $1,150 into my FSA, but by the time the year was over, we'd spent another $800+ in medical expenses. There wasn't much out-of-the-ordinary in there; a few prescription costs increased, and our daughter (now in school) certainly made her share of doctor visits.

So this report is Quicken telling me, quite clearly, that for 2008, my FSA paycheck deductions need to increase. Will I bump it all the way to $2k? Probably not. But I'll be sure to get a lot closer.

FSA funding: Yet another reason for me to love the heck out of Quicken.

Labels: ,

— Posted by Michael @ 9:02 AM


I like Quicken too...a couple questions. Do you use the cash system? I find that makes it tricky to track my expenditures.

Also, do you think it's worthwhile to upgrade your version of Quicken each year?



If you mean by "using the cash system" that "Do you track your cash spending in Quicken?" then the answer is yes.

I have an account called "Cash in Hand." When I grab cash from checking (via ATM or whatever), I transfer it to the Cash in Hand account. Then, when I spend the cash, I log the expenditure in my Cash in Hand account just like any other purchase.

Regarding upgrades, I upgrade Quicken every two years. I'm now using Quicken 2008 Deluxe (working on a review now), to which I upgraded from 2006 Premier.

Buying Quicken every year seems a bit of overkill to me, personally.


Thanks for the speedy answer, Michael. I'm going to follow your lead on the "cash in hand" account. Excellent idea!

I'll keep an eye out for your review of Quicken 2008.



My wife and I have been big Quicken fans for years. We use Deluxe 2007, and also upgrade once every 2 years. We track four cash accounts: Grocery Cash, Her Cash, His Cash, and Unassigned Cash (in an envelope in our safe). ATM withdrawals are basically handled as transfers from the bank to one or more cash accounts; then we track our cash spending just like any other transaction. Works great, wouldn't be without it. Her cash is her cash and my cash is her cash. Huh? Wait a minute here...

Anonymous ExcelGeek
, at 3:48 PM, March 07, 2008  
** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]