• Highly comprehensive money management solution
• Debt reduction and budget planning tools
• Connects directly and securely to your accounts
• The detail can be overwhelming
• Limited support options
Quicken Deluxe is a solid, full-featured solution for managing your personal finances. With a variety of tools for reporting, budgeting, and syncing your balances, this is a useful solution for household budgets.
Intuit has been producing personal finance software since 1983 and while other products have come and gone, its Quicken brand has stuck around. But has it gone from strength to strength? Quicken is for individuals as QuickBooks is for companies. It begins with the Starter version at $29.99, up through Deluxe at $64.99 and to Premier at $94.99. The main difference between them is Premier has extra investment tools attached, and the Starter program is more limited as it does not link to all your different accounts or include debt and savings plans. You can install Quicken Deluxe on three computers with the same operating system – we found installation to be quick and easy and you start by auto-importing previous data files from other versions of Quicken. There’s no free trial.
Quicken Deluxe connects directly to your checking, savings, credit card, loan, investments and retirement accounts, bringing balances and transactions into one place. You can set up different types of accounts in the software including spending and saving accounts, property and assets, loans and debt, and investment. Bank and credit card accounts are shown together. You can also pay bills directly online and also set up reminders that are linked to your accounts so you don’t miss any due dates.
As you directly import and manually enter your expenses into the software, you get an indication of your spending patterns and a calculation of your net worth. The calculations can also be used to predict the future balances in your accounts.
With Quicken Deluxe it is easy to set up a budget where you know exactly where your money needs to go in any given month or week. Using step-by-step guidelines you set up your budget and put expenses into different categories. Once you make a payment or spend towards a category the information is transferred from your bank or credit card account, or you input it manually. This results in the visual display of your budget changing color – green means you have money left in a category, and red is when you go over. By being able to easily see where your money is going and how much you have left, you make wiser spending decisions. (It is helpful to have the mobile app installed so you can check on your budget when you are actually in the store considering a purchase.)
In addition, you can see when bills are due and when pay checks are scheduled to come in, which helps remove the element of surprise that can so often cause budget mayhem. Once you have planned for something, you can meet the commitment with less stress. Also, you can set up a project that is designed to cut your debt and bring your balance back into the black each month. Using this plan you can get email and text alerts if you are straying off course.
If you want a budget goal but you don’t want to spend time setting it, Quicken gives you a goal based on your previous month’s spending. You can accept this plan as is, or customize it. Then Quicken tracks your progress and with a simple click you can see how well you are doing. A retirement goals plan is another structured plan to help you save for retirement.
The Spending tab which contains all the budget information gives an overview of the money coming in and the money coming out. But you can dig deeper and customize and categorize various expenses to a high level of detail.
A Quicken feature not included everywhere else is the free credit score. This is updated every six months and provides a summary of your score and explains the factors that affect this score. It’s a quick process; you can check your score in just a few minutes. Regular updates and advisory notifications help protect you against identity theft. Based on the information in your credit score the software tells you if you are likely to qualify for financial products and whether the interest rates are likely to be high or low. Quicken also imports into TurboTax which makes it easier to get your returns done quickly.
The simple graphs in the opening interface tell you at a glance where your money has been spent. You can also use a variety of reports and customize these reports based on the date range you want to include, and the detail.
The free Quicken mobile app for iOS and Android syncs your data between your tablet, computer, and phone. You can add expenses, look at your budget, and check your balance on your phone. The system automatically updates your phone when there are new transactions, and if you don’t have internet connection at a particular time the sync will catch up when you do get connected.
Syncing is reportedly faster and more efficient in the new version of Quicken Deluxe, and you can even take pictures of your receipts and record them to your phone and computer if you need a record of your expenses, and don’t want to fill boxes with paper clutter.
There are robust SSL firewalls on Quicken servers to protect the data that transfers between your device and the servers. It is encrypted so it cannot be deciphered by anyone that unlawfully accesses the information.
You have the option to password-protect your Quicken files. You can also store passwords in a vault that is also password protected. The Quicken mobile app is password-protected and security is enhanced by state of the art security measures. If you lose your mobile you can turn off the Quicken app from your PC.
Help & Support
You can call for free technical support if you are having problems with installation or other technical issues. Quicken Community offers a lot of answers to common questions and issues other people are experiencing. In addition, there are a number of videos on the Quicken YouTube account that give advice, hints and tips on managing money and using the Quicken products.
The level of detail you can go into with Quicken may overwhelm those looking for a simple budget strategy solution. But there’s no doubt this software does offer many tools for managing your money, and it’s a good option for those that like the detail.
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