I hope you are reading this article because you decided to take better control of your finances. After all, the more control you have, the more likely you are to achieve your financial independence by spending and investing money wisely.
Mint.com and Quicken are money management software that let you track your spending, income, investments, mortgage, set goals, budgets, and analyze your finances all in one place. They suggest realistic budgets based on your spending history and automatically classify your expenses into categories you establish to prepare your personal income statement. Both are made by the same company (Intuit) which also makes QuickBooks and TurboTax.
Arguably the most important feature of Quicken and Mint is ability to neatly organize your finances and offer their summary on one page. You most likely have a few credit cards, some type of a loan, a bank account or two; what both products managed to do is to tally up your overall balance and add the following features for better money management:
- Payment reminders via email or text alerts.
- Notifications if any if your account balances fall below a level you established, or if you’ve gone over a budget on any of the spending categories you created.
- Cash flow chart indicating money inflows and outflows on monthly basis.
- Your investments’ performance.
- Value of your retirement savings.
Both products are equally easy to use. If you’re a first time user, it may take some time to set up the programs by adding your bank accounts, establishing income and spending categories, creating budgets, savings goals, and investment categories, but once it’s set in place, programs operate almost like a cruise control. Financial transactions can be easily imported from numerous financial institutions and the software does the rest.
To keep up with technological progress and personal preferences, all information for Quicken and Mint users is also available on tablets and smart phones.
Let’s start with the most obvious, the cost. Mint is free and Quicken costs anywhere from $40 to $160 depending on a version you decide to purchase (you can save up to 40% using one of our Quicken 2014 special offer codes) . Because nothing in life really comes without cost, using Mint means putting up with sponsored ads informing you about credit cards available to you, insurance, home loans, or investment services. Not terribly annoying but present nevertheless.
Another difference is where your data is stored. Mint is a web-based product so your financial information is stored online. Some prefer Quicken because the software is installed on your computer and that’s where the information is stored. Even though Mint offers bank-level security, some people choose to store information on their computers.
Many Mint features overlap those of Quicken 2014 but because Mint is a personal finance software it doesn’t provide all options you can find on Quicken Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business, or Rental Property Manager. Quicken is much more complete when it comes to debt management and retirement planning, investment management, and tax planning. Finally, if you operate a side business, Quicken can categorize personal and business expenses, maximize deductions, simplify your taxes, track performance of rental properties, and create appropriate tax reports.
And last but not least, Quicken’s synchronization with TurboTax. Although this feature comes handy only once a year during the tax season, it saves times as TurboTax is able to import your financials directly form Quicken and populate right fields. Additionally, TurboTax can import your personal and financial information from hundreds of institutions making tax filing more effortless and pleasant.
The bottom line is that whether you decide on Mint or Quicken, both are worth investing in. No matter what influences your choice of product, both guarantee the benefit you helping you become more educated personal money manager.