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If you’re serious about budgeting and tracking your spending, you likely have some tools in your arsenal that help you tackle the task. Some people are set with a good old-fashioned pen and paper, but others prefer a personal finance program or app to do the heavy lifting.
For a long time, Quicken was the major player in that arena. In recent years, there’s more competition on the scene. Mint is just one free budgeting app that gives Quicken a run for its money.
In this review, we’ll compare Quicken and Mint and help you decide if one of them is a good fit for your financial management needs.
Mint: A Quick Overview
Mint, owned by Intuit (who used to own Quicken), is a financial tracking tool available for Windows and Mac. You can use the desktop site or download the mobile app.
Mint lets you quickly connect your bank, investment, and credit accounts. The program uses the data to summarize your financial picture, track spending, and monitor bill payments. In our opinion, the platform’s best feature is its customizable budgeting system.
Mint’s Key Features
Budgeting and Expense Tracking
Mint is a powerhouse budgeting and expense tracking tool. It imports your transactions from connected accounts and sorts them into spending categories. You can use the built-in categories or create custom categories to suit your unique situation. Then, simply create budgets for each category and track your progress over the month.
Mint has cool graphs to help you visualize your spending trends by category, by merchant, or over time. You’re not just limited to the month, either. You can look at annual trends or even look at all the data since you started using Mint.
Sometimes you may have to change the category Mint assigns a transaction, but over time, the software will remember those changes and start getting it right. In some situations, you’ll have to manually split a transaction into categories. For example, if you buy gardening supplies, groceries, toiletries, and clothes at a trip to Walmart, Mint can’t know that. This is the same with any good expense tracker; they’re not magic.
Setting and Tracking Your Goals
Mint also lets you set and track financial goals. Name your goal, choose a target date, and Mint will tell you how much you need to save each month to get there. Want to buy a house or save for that vacation? Mint can help you get there.
Like some other programs (such as Personal Capital), Mint helps you track your investments by displaying your asset allocation for all your investment accounts in one place. It lets you track performance and compare to market benchmarks to make sure you’re on target to hit your investment goals. It’s easy to review transaction history so you know exactly what your money is doing.
Track Your Bills
Mint tracks all your bills in one place. That means you never have to check another app or site for your balance. They send notifications when your due date approaches, so you never miss a beat. Because your full financial picture is accessible in the same place, it’s easy to verify that you have the money to cover an upcoming payment.
Note that Mint used to support a bill payment function, but it was discontinued in June 2018. So, although you can keep track of bills in Mint, you can’t pay them using the program.
How often do you check your credit score? With Mint, you can check in for free anytime, and you get more than just a number.
Mint interprets your credit score, explains how it’s calculated, and offers tips for improving it. They keep you on alert by sending notifications if TransUnion receives new info for your report. This helps you stay aware and nip inaccuracies in the bud.
Additionally, Mint analyzes your spending habits and makes recommendations to help you save money. It also suggests products that can help you save.
For example, if you answer a few questions about your finances and the type of rewards you’re interested in, they’ll suggest credit cards that fit the bill. They even show you the annual net value of the rewards and the recommended credit score for qualification. Pretty neat, right? They offer recommendations for bank accounts, investment products, insurance policies, and loans, as well.
Net Worth Tracking
Mint tallies up the data from all connected accounts and calculates your net worth. It shows the total value of your assets and debts, so you know exactly what you’re working with. Net worth is a powerful summary of your financial picture, and seeing it plain as day on your dashboard can be very satisfying and motivating.
Great news: Mint is free! No signup fees, service fees, or hidden fees. They make money by referring products you might like and running ads.
Quicken: An Overview
Quicken is a subscription-based financial management product that offers four different service packages.
The entry-level package, Starter, allows you to see bank and credit card accounts and bills in one place, build a monthly budget, and track your spending. The Deluxe package offers a more advanced analysis of loans and investments, along with customizable goals. Quicken’s Premier package includes bill payments and priority access to customer support.
The Home and Business Plan is tailored to business owners. It separates business and personal spending, offers invoicing, and tracks profits and tax deductions.
You can use Quicken to manage your money with the desktop software (most robust version), on the web, or using the mobile app.
Quicken’s Key Features
Manage Your Spending
Quicken displays all connected account balances and transactions in one place, making it easy to see where you’re spending your money. Every transaction is categorized automatically, and you can create custom categories to fit your spending habits.
Like Mint, Quicken comes equipped with machine learning that will remember how you categorize your spending at specific merchants. You can see your spending data over time, by category, or by payee. Quicken makes it visual by displaying your spending on a circular graph.
Quicken scans your transaction and creates a monthly budget based on your recurring spending. Once they’ve done the legwork, you can edit the budget to suit your needs. You can easily see how much you’ve spent in each budget category and how much is left, helping you plan your spending. The Deluxe and Premier packages come with more options and let you create a customized budget.
All versions of Quicken allow you to view your bills in one place. You do this by connecting to each payee or by entering the details manually. Quicken Premier takes it one step further by allowing you to pay your bills through the platform, something Mint doesn’t offer.
Quicken Starter displays credit card balances, but if you want to track loans and mortgages, you have to spring for the Deluxe package. Principal and interest tracking and “what-if” analysis help you pay your loans down faster.
Quicken Deluxe and Premier offer advanced investment tracking options. You can create a customizable portfolio view that allows you to easily monitor investment performance, compare to market benchmarks, and see realized and unrealized gains. Quicken also includes tax planning and long-term financial planning tools that can help investors reach their goals.
Home and Small Business Management
Quicken Home and Business includes all the features of Premier, plus it simplifies small business and rental property ownership. It separates personal and business expenses and tracks profits, losses, and tax deductions. It provides tools to manage your rental property and allows you to send custom invoices.
Even though Quicken is a great alternative to Mint, it is a subscription-based service. That means, you’re looking at an annual fee. There are four packages to choose from:
- Starter $34.99/year
- Deluxe $49.99/year
- Premier $74.99/year
- Home and Business $99.99/year
These are current as of May 2019. The packages do go on sale, though, so you may be able to sign up for less.
Mint Vs. Quicken: What Can You Get With Both?
- Budgeting and Expense Tracking – If your primary goal is to create a budget and track your expenses, you can do it with either Mint or Quicken.
- Financial Snap Shot – Both platforms show you a snapshot of your financial picture on the main dashboard. There’s no room for confusion when the details are laid out in an easy-to-understand way.
- Bills in One Place – With both Mint and Quicken, you can view all your bills in one place. This simplifies keeping track of payments and due dates. Note that only Quicken gives you the ability to pay bills within the platform, though, and only if you spring for the Premier package.
- Mobile app – Mint and Quicken both come with a mobile app so you can manage your money on the go.
Mint Vs. Quicken: Best Features of Each
Mint: Budgeting on a Budget
Mint has some extra features like investment tracking, but at its core, it’s a budgeting app – and it excels at it.
You can create custom budgets based on your unique financial goals and spending patterns. When you connect your bank accounts, Mint categorizes your transactions for you, taking the work out of tracking your spending.
Mint offers a customized, polished budgeting experience for free. For anyone looking to get their spending under control without paying a fee, it’s a no-brainer.
Quicken: Comprehensive Financial Management
While Mint offers an impressive no-fee platform, Quicken takes it up a notch by offering more robust features. Of course, these services come with an annual price tag.
Quicken’s budgeting system, paired with extra features like in-depth investment tracking and analysis, in-platform bill payments, tax planning, and rental property management, makes it an excellent choice for people looking for a suite of tools to help them manage their complete financial picture.
Mint Vs. Quicken: The Verdict
Both Mint and Quicken help people take control of their finances by tracking spending through automation and creating custom budgets.
If you’re looking to budget like a boss, track your net worth, and keep your bills organized, Mint or Quicken will meet your needs. Because Mint is 100% free and Quicken comes with an annual subscription fee, we recommend going with Mint to save some money.
However, if your needs are more complex, Quicken’s suite of comprehensive tools are up to the challenge. Just remember that the Starter package won’t cut it – you’ll have to spring for one of the more expensive tiers to unlock the extras.
What’s your favorite budgeting app? What is the best feature it offers? Let us know in the comments!