Quicken Deluxe 2015 Review - Best Features of Quicken Deluxe

Review of Quicken Deluxe 2015

Quicken Deluxe is a complete personal finance software package which provides all the tools for easy personal finance management. It has a well-designed and intuitive interface and excellent online banking features. Financial Planners help with savings goals and a Portfolio Analyzer provides tools for managing investments.

Quicken Deluxe has modules or Centers which provide in-depth information about your financial situation.

Cash Flow Center

Quicken’s central function is its management of your accounts. Providing online bank access (currently over 12,000 participating financial institutions) the program automates transaction entry. If you don't have online access you can still manually enter transactions in your relevant Account Registers.

You can track your credit card accounts in the same way as your bank accounts. Credit card transactions can be downloaded directly into Quicken, helping you keep track of your payments, balances and any finance charges.

The Cash Flow Center view provides a summary of all your account balances and your net worth in one place. It also provides access to graphs that show spending by category and payee, as well as income vs expenses. The Projected Cash Flow monthly summary shows your income, expenses and amount available to spend or save.

Projected Cash Flow Summary

Billminder. This application displays a window outside the Quicken program which summarizes any scheduled transactions and alerts (such as credit card limits exceeded). To take advantage of this feature Billminder should be configured to run automatically when you start your PC.

Bill Pay. You may wish to take advantage of this feature to pay bills online. Quicken Bill Pay costs $9.95 a month and you can schedule repeating online payments to save time but more importantly to avoid missing any payments and incurring extra charges.

My Savings Plan. This view shows your income and spending by category and payee. You can enter monthly spending budgets and Quicken will measure your actual versus allocated spending. Quicken also provides a rollover reserve (the difference between allocated and actual amounts spent) so you can add any extra money to your target for that category next month.

My Data View. Here you can set up cash flow alerts, view spending & savings and credit card accounts snapshot, and view scheduled bills & deposits. Alerts which you can set include: Account Minimum Balances; Credit Card Limits; Monthly Expenses (shows when category spending is exceeded); Savings Goals (shows when goals are not met).

Write Checks. You can create and print professional-looking checks in Quicken. Checks & Supplies page allows you to re-order checks when necessary.

Attach Notes and Files. Attachment feature allows you to add notes, reminders and important documents (such as scanned receipts or photographs) to any transactions or accounts.

WebEntry. WebEntry is a great feature for those who spend time away from home. Allows you to enter transactions from any computer with internet access and download to your data file next time you’re at your home computer.

Budgets. If you’ve categorized all your transactions, Quicken can help you create budgets based on your spending patterns. You can have a budget generated for you based on past transactions, which you can then edit. Or you can create a budget yourself from scratch. Reports and graphs help you track your progress - you can analyze your spending in many different ways. Alerts can be set up so you're notified when you over-spend in any expense category.

Reports and Graphs. Some of the many reports and graphs available include: Net Worth & Balances, Cash Flow, Spending by Category, Year-to-Date Income & Expenses, Investment Portfolio and Tax. Graphs and reports can be customized and manipulated to include only certain information; saved for easy re-creation and printed.

Property & Debt Center

This Center provides tools to help you keep track of your assets & liabilities. The Loan Accounts Summary tracks the principal, interest and loan payments on any loans you may have set up. There's also an Auto Expenses area that help you keep track of those types of costs.

You can make use of two alerts that relate to property and debt: Insurance Reappraisal and Mortgage Reappraisal.

Planning Center

This Center contains the Quicken Planner tool and five more in-depth, specific financial planners (Retirement Planner, College Planner, Home Purchase Planner, Debt Reduction Planner, Special Purchase Planner). To use the Quicken Planner tool, you just need to enter some general plan assumptions (by answering questions and providing details about your finances). Quicken then produces a general savings plan based on calculations it performs. As you enter more transactions into your Quicken data file over time, the plan is regularly updated. Plan results are displayed on screen. You can also use "What If" scenarios to view different outcomes of your plan. Outcomes are displayed side by side as graphs for easy comparison.

Retirement Planner. This planner helps you plan for retirement and is the most thorough of all the planners. Your Plan screen displays your retirement plan.

College Planner. This planner will help plan for your children's college education.

Home Purchase Planner. Helps you plan for buying a new home. Has a calculator to help you determine what you can afford. Plan information is summarized on screen.

Debt Reduction Planner. This great Planner creates a debt reduction plan for you. It orders your debts based on interest rate so debts with higher interest rates get paid first; and provides suggested minimum payments. It also shows you the effect of using your savings to reduce your debt, and exactly how much you can save and how quickly you can pay off your debt. It even analyzes your budget and suggests categories to cut back spending on. Plan results are shown in graph format.

You can also set up alerts for spending by category - so you'll be notified as soon as you go over any pre-determined spending limits.

Tax Center

Quicken Deluxe has a few great tools for helping at tax time. The Tax Center displays accurate tax information, if you've entered it in when seting up your accounts (you can always go back in later to do this). Tax calculators and tax reports and summaries are provided, so you'll be able to prepare tax reports which you can provide to your tax preparer. The data file can also be exported to TurboTax if you're interested in doing your tax return yourself.

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