KJ: For me, the answer isn’t “OR” it is “AND” when it comes to evaluating Mint.com vs Quicken. I actually use both Quicken and Mint.com to track my personal finances (so it’s less a Quicken vs Mint type of mindset). While some might consider it excessive, I like both systems for different reasons. With Mint.com being a free personal finance software and Quicken being a paid version, how do you decide between which money management software is right for your situation? Consider the following:
1) It’s free!
2) It has a much more robust budgeting tool to help manage my wife and I’s day-to-day expenses to see if we are meeting our savings targets we have set. With the interactive charts and instant connectivity, you can know where you stand at any moment of the month.
3) It has the same bank-level encryption on their servers that many of the top banks use (Chase, Bank of America, etc.), plus you DO NOT have the ability to move money or effect transactions between your accounts on Mint.com since the data it pulls is only transactions and holdings information (in the case of investment and retirement accounts).
4) Access it on the go: download their iPad, iPhone, or Android apps.
1) It is better at tracking historical data. I actually started using Quicken in the first year of college, and I have maintained it since, so it has been a great reference to show longer-term trends in net worth, income, and expenses. Plus, when I categorize the transactions, there isn’t a fear that Mint.com (or another tool) will update their coding and accidentally change your transactions.
2) The data is located on your own computer, so it is at your discretion how often to backup and how to secure your own data instead of leaving that up to a third party.
3) Charts, reports, and tags to transactions are much more customizable.
4) It works for almost all asset and loan types.
1) You have to be at your computer to access Quicken (not necessarily true for their new 2013 cloud capabilities).
2) Mint.com does not have the ability to add “manual” accounts like Quicken does. Sure, you can setup assets/loans with values you update, but you can’t add any transactions for that account. In essence, if you have an account or loan that is at a small bank, you may not be able to link it to track expenses.
3) Many of the more robust charts require the use of Flash, so using on an Apple product can be troublesome (or impossible without a little technical expertise).
3) It takes time. No one said managing your finances was easy, but it’s certainly better (and cheaper) than the alternative of letting it go by the wayside!
Regardless, of your personal finance system, use a different username and password than what you use to connect directly to your bank accounts and financial institutions. You can never be too secure when it comes to safeguarding your personal and financial information with either Quicken or Mint.com (or other system)!
AJ: Mint.com was a personal finance management game changer for me. I can access it from my phone, iPad or computer and have a relatively similar experience in all places. It helps by categorizing transactions for me with little error which saves me time and effort. While I appreciate the transaction-level itemization that Kirby gains from Quicken, it is not as beneficial for my day-to-day finance management. It truly is all about what you hope to gain from a management tool and how you think you will use it. Thankfully, Mint.com is free, so start with a free option with no barrier to entry and see how you feel about the overall experience. If you feel like you could use even more line-item detail, look into Quicken.
What works for you?
Do you use Quicken or Mint.com?
What simple money management programs do you use?
Is there perhaps another method you prefer?
In a battle of Mint.com vs Quicken which would you chose!
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