If you’re considering downloading a personal finance tool, Quicken may be a good option.
In this article, I’ll take a close look at five things to know about Quicken before you buy the software.
I’ve researched what’s available through Quicken and Simplfi by Quicken, checked out what resources are available and compared the products to other budgeting tools to see whether or not it’s worth the price.
5 Things to Know About Quicken
If you have financial goals that you’re trying to achieve, budgeting is a crucial step. It’s important to delegate where your money is going so that you aren’t left wondering where it went. While you can set up a budget on your own, there are tons of budgeting apps and websites that can set one up for you. Perhaps one of the most well-known is Quicken.
Formerly owned by Intuit, Quicken offers five distinct products to best meet your needs. Unfortunately, none of Quicken’s products are free.
Mobile app users will enjoy Simplifi by Quicken, which does offer a 30-day free trial, while business owners will best benefit from Quicken Home & Business. However, most customers find the best deal with Quicken Deluxe, which costs $35.88 for the first year.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a Quicken product, here are five things to know:
Table of Contents:
- Quicken Products and Pricing
- How Does Quicken Work?
- How To Get the Most Out of Quicken
- How Does Quicken Compare?
- Final Thoughts: Should You Pay for Quicken?
Below, you’ll find more detailed information on Quicken including how to best use the budgeting tool and which of Quicken’s products make the most sense for you.
1. Quicken Products and Pricing
Quicken offers five different products for consumers to choose from. Unfortunately, none of these products are free. Additionally, the only product to offer a free trial is Simpilifi by Quicken. However, the features may be worth paying for if a free budgeting app isn’t working for you.
In the table below, you’ll see each of Quicken’s products, what each is best for, how much it costs for the first year’s subscription, how much it costs each year afterward and which platforms the product is compatible with.
|Program||Best For||New Member Price (Billed Annually)||Regular Price (Billed Annually)||Platforms|
|Simplifi by Quicken||Managing your personal finances in a few minutes each week||$24||$47.88||Mobile & Web App|
|Quicken Starter||Organize your basic finances with a simple monthly budget||$41.88||$41.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Deluxe||Managing your personal finances and investments||$30||$59.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Premier||Maximizing your personal finances and investments||$42||$83.88||Desktop App (Windows and Mac)|
|Quicken Home & Business||Managing home, business and rentals||$60||$119.88||Desktop App (Windows Only)|
The prices in the table above reflect the prices available on Quicken’s main website. However, I also found Simplifi by Quicken available for $47.88 annually or $5.99 monthly at this link. These two options both offer a 30-day free trial that I didn’t see when adding Simlplifi by Quicken to my shopping cart from the product comparison page.
If you’re looking for a user-friendly mobile app for your iPhone or Android phone, I do recommend looking into Simplifi by Quicken. While the other four products do sync with a Quicken mobile companion app for iOS or Android, you won’t have access to all the same features as you’ll have on the desktop app. It’s also worth noting that Quicken Home & Business is only available for Windows.
Each product offers a variety of different features, but all of Quicken’s products include the same tools for managing spending & savings including automatic downloads of all transactions, the ability to add manual accounts, automatic organization of income and expenses, etc.
One of the biggest differences in Quicken’s products is the approach to budgeting. According to Quicken’s website, Simplifi by Quicken automatically generates a personalized monthly spending plan based on your income, bills and remaining available money. Alternatively, Quicken uses a traditional category-based budgeting method with set amounts for spending in each category. Each product is highly customizable.
Each of Quicken’s products also allows you to track your income, expenses, debt, mortgage and investments. Additionally, each offers features for bill management, tax planning, investments, reporting and more.
If you’re trying to decide which product is best for you, here’s my recommendation: Mobile app users will want to opt for Simplifi by Quicken. For Desktop users, I recommend Quicken Deluxe for a balance of excellent features and a reasonable price. If you plan on managing your business account(s) in addition to your personal finances, Quicken Home & Business will likely be worth it to you.
For a more detailed look at the different features available with Simplifi by Quicken, Quicken Deluxe, Quicken Premier and Quicken Home & Business, check out this detailed product comparison.
2. How Does Quicken Work?
Quicken works by allowing you to see your entire financial life all in one place. Here are a few of Quicken’s key features:
- View and pay bills
- Plan for retirement
- Create a budget
- Manage spending
- Track investments
- Run your own business
- Property management
Of course, the level of customization and user-friendliness will vary based on which Quicken product you choose. Visit Quicken’s website for a full comparison of each product’s tools and features.
Once you’ve decided which product is best for your budgeting needs, I recommend checking out the Quick Start Guides on Quicken’s website. These provide an excellent in-depth look at how to get started with Quicken on Windows or Mac desktop apps.
To set up the desktop app on either type of computer, you’ll begin by installing the software. Then, you’ll be able to set up your accounts, explore/manage your spending, track and pay your bills then create a budget.
Quicken’s website also includes helpful information for getting started including helpful videos like key buttons and controls, creating an expense report by category and more.
Alternatively, if you’re looking into the Simplifi by Quicken app, I recommend checking out this YouTube video on how to get started with Simplifi by Quicken:
Once you’ve set up your budget on Quicken or Simplifi by Quicken, you’ll be able to continually track your spending, goals, investments and more.
3. How To Get The Most Out Of Quicken
Once you have installed Quicken and added your accounts, you can start reviewing your transactions and creating a budget.
According to Quicken’s website, the software will create a personalized budget for you based on your actual spending habits, and then you can adjust it by creating customized categories and tags to you best fit your needs.
The best way to get the most out of Quicken is by making it a habit. The more closely you watch your budget, the more likely you are to stick to it.
Here are a few things you can do to help make using Quicken a habit, according to the website:
Daily or Weekly
- Check your account balances and transactions
- Track and pay upcoming bills
- See what’s left to spend in your budget
- Flag any overdue invoices owed to your business
Monthly or Quarterly
- Reconcile your accounts
- Review estimated-tax payments with your accountant
- Run a net worth report to see how you’re trending
- Review your budget and adjust as needed
- Run tax schedule reports for your accountant
- Check your recurring bills for places you could save
Quicken also provides additional tips on how to take Quicken to the next level including tracking and paying bills, monitoring your investments and managing your business/rental properties with the software.
Additionally, while Simplifi by Quicken is the only mobile app available with full features, know that it isn’t cross-compatible with other Quicken products including Quicken Starter, Deluxe, Premiere or Home & Business.
If you are thinking about trying out Simplifi by Quicken, you can check out a few tips for getting the most out of Simplifi by Quicken on the company’s website.
Alternatively, if you purchase a Quicken product like Starter, Deluxe, Premier or Home & Business, you can (and should) still download the Quicken Companion Apps. Here’s a quick introduction to setting up these apps on your phone or computer:
Finally, I recommend checking out the online Quicken community for additional help and advice. Long-term users of Quicken products (as well as new customers) are regularly sharing tips, tricks and troubleshooting methods on Reddit under r/quicken.
4. How Does Quicken Compare?
Compared to other budgeting apps, Quicken is going to provide access to the biggest variety of premium features. Quicken offers a wide selection of products to choose from based on your needs, whether you’re looking for a simple mobile app, a business management tool or something in-between.
Still, it’s far from the only personal budgeting tool available. If you’ve been searching for the best budgeting tools, you’ve probably also come across competitors like Mint, Empower, PocketGuard, YNAB and Honeydue.
Here’s a quick highlight of what to know about the features available with each of these budgeting tools:
|Best for||Investments||Budgeting||Avoiding overspending||Budgeting with a partner||Premium features|
|Free to use||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Monthly budget planner||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bill payment alerts||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free credit score||No||No||No||No||Yes|
As you can see, all six budgeting apps offer a variety of different features that help you track your spending and net worth to build a practical budget. But they each specialize in different areas of your finances.
Money expert Clark Howard is a fan of Mint and says it’s great for tracking your expenses. If you’re mostly interested in seeing what you’ve spent and watching your overall financial health, Mint may be a great free alternative to try before paying for Quicken.
If you’re mostly focused on watching your investments or planning for retirement, Empower may be enough to meet your needs. Plus, like Mint, it’s free!
PocketGuard automatically sets up a budget for you and categorizes your transactions in real time. If you’re budgeting on your own and need these automated features to avoid overspending, PocketGuard may be a great free alternative for you. To manage your finances with a partner, I recommend trying out Honeydue.
YNAB, like Quicken, is a paid option. It’s an excellent resource if you need a strict monthly budgeting tool, though you’ll find far more features with Quicken including bill payment, free credit reports, retirement planning and investment tracking.
In fact, Quicken offers more features than any of the other personal finance tools I’ve reviewed. However, you will have to pay for those features.
5. Final Thoughts: Should You Pay for Quicken?
Budgeting is essential if you’re serious about reaching your financial goals, and Quicken provides everything you need to take absolute control of your money. While you will have to pay for this personal finance tool, the features may be worth it.
Before you buy Quicken, here are a few questions to ask yourself first to help you determine whether or not it’s worth the price:
- Have you tried a free budgeting method? Whether it’s pen and paper, cash envelopes or a free budgeting app like Mint or PocketGuard, there are several ways to budget for free. However, not all of these methods include the premium features that you’ll get with Quicken. If free budgeting methods aren’t working for you, it may be time to pay for a premium budgeting tool like Quicken.
- Are you willing to pay for a budgeting tool? Simplifi by Quicken offers a 30-day free trial, but otherwise, you have to pay for Quicken products before you download them. The first year starts at $47.88 for Simplifi or $59.88 for Quicken Deluxe.
- Are you willing to learn how to use the software? Quicken includes a lot of great features to help you manage your finances, but all of these tools can seem a little overwhelming at first. If you buy the software, you will have to invest some time in learning how to effectively use it. Additionally, you’ll need to make a habit of checking in on your finances through Quicken for your budget to stick.
If you can answer “yes” to each of these questions, Quicken is likely going to be worth the cost. Fortunately, new customers are eligible for a 40% discount the first year, which is a great way to test the service and see if it will meet your budgeting needs.
Plus, no matter which product you choose, you can expect a 30-day money back guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied with Quicken, you can get a full refund within 30 days of purchase according to Quicken’s website. You can check out the full details here.
Before you purchase Quicken, take the time to really look at all the different features available with each unique product. I also recommend checking out the company’s excellent online resource on how to get started with Quicken once you’ve decided which product to purchase.
Do you use Quicken or another personal finance tool to stay on budget? Tell us about your experience in the Clark.com Community.