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Quicken Starter Review

PROS / This less-expensive version has all of the powerful budgeting and reporting features the Premier version has.

CONS / It doesn't monitor investment accounts.

 VERDICT / If you don't need advanced features and you want simple, straightforward budgeting software, Quicken Starter is a great choice.

Quicken Starter is a trimmed-down version of Quicken Premier, an all-inclusive financial software application with features for investment accounts and financial planning. Quicken Starter provides the same basic budgeting and financial tracking features as the Premier version, without the additional investment features. However, if you don't need those extra tools, Quicken Start is a fine choice and a great value for personal finance software. Keep in mind that this program download is only compatible with PCs, and a separate version of the software is available for Macs.

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With this home finance software, you can sync directly to your financial institutions to import transactions and balances into the software. This ensures you don't miss anything by manually adding in all transactions, although this is an option if you choose not to sync your accounts. While this version doesn't sync to investment accounts, you can sync to banks, credit unions and credit card accounts. You can manually create accounts as well, including investment accounts, where you can keep track of trades and balances, though all of those must be entered manually.

If you have a smartphone, you can download mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices so you can manage your finances away from your desktop. You can add transactions, view your budget and balances, and use additional features. One such additional feature allows you to snap and store receipts, which means you can take a picture of a receipt and keep it in the program for your records.

When it comes to budgeting, Quicken Starter makes it quick and easy. You can choose which categories to budget and which to hide, and then you simply enter the budget limit for each category. When you are at or below budget, the category is green in the system, indicating that you haven't exceeded the allotted amount. If you exceed your budget, it goes red. You can set email or text message alerts for when you near or exceed a specific budget limit.

The reporting options with this financial planning software are top notch, offering reports for the most vital financial data as well as some additional helpful information. You can run reports that detail your income versus expenses, spending by category and budget reports. You can print or save reports into common file types, like CSV, which can be used in other programs. You cannot export these reports to tax programs, however.

Summary

Quicken Starter has impressive budgeting and reporting features, allowing you to sync your checking, savings and credit card accounts to automatically transfer your balances and transactions into the system. Creating a budget is simple, and alerts and warnings help you stay within the budget you've established. While it doesn't have the advanced features that Quicken Premier offers, such as investment features, Quicken Starter is an excellent value in personal finance management software.

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