I’m a late starter when it comes to using personal finance software. I’ve always viewed it as a boring spreadsheet that I could make myself in Excel if I really wanted to. Boy was I wrong! I was lucky enough to receive Quicken as gift yesterday. I had heard great things about it from family members so I was eager to get it installed. After starting the registration process, I realized that it was able to link directly to my bank account. I was very happy with this because I really didn’t want to enter everything manually. Once everything was in sync (not the boy band), I received a ton of information. It was definitely an eye opener! I don’t understand why there are so many blogs written about how to keep track of your personal finances when software like Quicken exists. Those blogs should all be titled “Buy Personal Finance Budgeting Software if You Want to Make Your Life Easier”. I suppose there is a lot to be said for someone that can do it by hand, but who has time for that nowadays?
I’ve only had the program for a day, but here are some good/bad things I’ve noticed so far:
– It syncs to your bank account which saves time: I was blown away by this. It gives you an automatic starting point. If you did this by hand you would either have to wait a month to get the new information, or you would have to dig through all your old bank records.
– It automatically sorts your expenses: My expenses showed up in a nice, color coded pie chart.
– If you set spending goals for yourself they are easy to follow: They just show up on the front page. Apparently I’m already ¾ the way to my monthly goal on food.
– It seems to be user friendly: So far I haven’t had any issues with it. It only took me 15 minutes to set up.
– Some of the expense sorting is inaccurate: When I bought food at Wal-Mart it went into the shopping category instead of the food category. I guess you can’t expect it to know everything right off the bat.
– You can’t pay bills from it (that I know of): Quicken has you list all your expenses, but it didn’t offer me an option to pay them. It seems like that would be a huge time saver.
– I don’t know how to sync other billing information to it: For example, when I entered my Charter monthly billing expense I had to mark that it changed monthly. I think it would be helpful if Quicken could sync to my Charter account to know what my bill will be. This might be possible, but it wasn’t apparent to me.
What software like Quicken shows is that budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult. The information it has given me is so valuable. I’m pretty sure my copy was purchased from Ebay for $30, which is a great deal. I’m sure there are other useful things Quicken 2011 can do. If you know of any, please share!
April 19, 2012 at 1:48 PM
I’ve never used Quicken, but I have used Mint.com and I love it. It sounds very similar to Quicken. One thing I love about Mint is the smartphone app; I can go on it anytime and check out how I’m doing financially. Mint let’s you sync not just bank accounts, but car loans, credit cards and a lot more.
April 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM
That does sound useful. I’m sure quicken can probably do stuff like that too. I’ll have to figure it out!
April 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Oh, and I forgot to mention: Mint.com is free to use 🙂
April 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM
Well then I really need to figure out the advantages of Quicken or I’ll feel bad for my girlfriend’s dad who bought it for us.
April 19, 2012 at 4:26 PM
Haha. I’m sure there are. Free stuff usually doesn’t have everything you need.
April 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM
My favorite app is You need a budget for finances. MY husband and I have it on our computers and our Iphones and it’s super sweet because we can sync them up to each other using the computer. It’s awesome, and it’s woman friendly 😉
April 19, 2012 at 7:26 PM
I’ll have to check that App out. Thanks for the advice!
April 20, 2012 at 9:41 AM
Nice article! Quicken is a very good program to organized your finances. Thanks for liking my post too. I posted about family budgeting because for years I demo’d my home budget as an Excel practice example. I was always surprised at the number of people who were interested, but just did not know how to begin.
April 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I was right there with them! I didn’t know how to begin. I had a general idea, but it was going to take a lot of effort. I think using personal finance software takes a lot of effort too, but people that use that software get more of a reward for their effort (better information). Thanks for the comment and have a nice weekend.
April 27, 2012 at 10:29 AM
I’ve had others tell me Quicken is good, and I’m playing around with Mint.com right now. For the truly frugal, there is a free piece of software called GnuCash. It does most of what Quicken does, but it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles. It’s also a bit more complicated to set up. If you’re a computer power user, and don’t want to pay for software, it’s worth looking into.
April 27, 2012 at 7:26 PM
I’ve asked someone why they would buy Quicken instead of use Mint, and they said, “If you’re going to put all your financial information on something would you really want to use a free website?” I think I agree with that. I’d rather own what I’m using in the hopes that it’s more secure, and that’s why I never tried mint.com. I could be totally wrong about that though. Thanks for the advice.
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