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Toss Quicken and Grab a Mint

I’ve been a Quicken user for about twenty years.  At first, I only used Quicken for account reconciliation, but still used a checkbook to make payments.  As time went on, I purchased Quicken-branded checks for my printer and would have Quicken print my checks, but I would still stuff them in envelopes and drop them off at the post office in the middle of the night so they would go out in the next day’s first delivery.  Then, I took a leap and became one of the early adopters of electronic checking through Quicken and their Quicken BillPay service.  I used this service for many years, gladly paying the monthly surcharge (up to $9 and change) to get those payments transferred directly to my creditors.  And more importantly, now I could *schedule* them to occur automagically.  Payment due Monday, March 15th?  No problemo, I would schedule the payment to go out to arrive their on Friday, March 12th.  This kept the money in my bank account for as long as possible to maximize my interest income.

But that monthly charge started to gnaw at me — that’s almost $100 a year for my laziness!  And at about $50 a pop every year or two for a new Quicken version, my dirty personal finance habit was definitely burning up any interest income I gained through it’s scheduling features.  I could think of plenty of other things to do with $100.

At about the same time, I signed up with INGDirect to replace my CommerceBank accounts.  You see, I had been a big fan of Commerce Bank which was a NY/NJ/PA  area bank with great service hours and personable “small bank style” tellers — for example if I overdrew, a teller would call me and give me enough advanced warning to run down to the branch office and make a deposit.  But they got purchased by the TDBank borg, and started charging for various services and I revolted!  No more!

No more money to Intuit for Quicken!  No more money to Quicken BillPay for sending out my checks!  No more money to TDBank for their unwanted charges!  No more keeping my money in accounts that didn’t yield interest!

Setting up an ING Direct account is easy.  On the other hand, the online banking interface at ING Direct isn’t exactly straightforward, at least not for someone that’s been using Quicken for this long.  But after a month of building up the address book with my payees and using it, it has become second nature for bill paying.  A free service by a bank that pays interest in both my checking and savings accounts.  Two months later, I stopped using Quicken and Quicken BillPay.  ING Direct process automatic transfers and bill payments for me.  Free.

It was then that I noticed I was missing something — the one killer feature of Quicken that I needed… the categorization of all payments, transfers and income.  NOW what was I going to do?  NO GRAPHS!  NO CHARTS!  NO REPORTS!

And then I remembered hearing about Mint.  A website with a free service — you input your accounts and passwords, and then a page is maintained for you with all your information in a single window.  Accessible from anywhere you can logon with a browser.  Secure.  Free.  (Yes, I know Intuit purchased Mint.  I’m not happy about it, but apparently they are taking great pains to make sure that Mint stays free and true to its original ideals – to help people save money).

Quicken begone!  And now that I’ve tossed another platform-dependent application, I can dream of using another computer and OS.  Or perhaps this one.  Or maybe even this one when it’s really ready…

Go on, give Mint a shot.  It may even sparkle when you chew it.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jerry in Indiana June 16, 2010, 3:08 am

    Hey Mike,
    Found my way over here from Jimbo’s site. I recently returned from a trip to PA, and notice that my old Commerce Bank was now Metro Bank. I loved Commerce Bank, back in the pre-online banking days.

    I had thought about getting organized and getting Quicken. I’m glad I read your post.

  • mike June 16, 2010, 9:36 am

    Thanks for the comment, Jerry. There’s so much more to Mint than what I said in my post. For instance, you can also categorize all transactions. Just like Quicken. In fact, the Quicken Online product was dumped in favor of Mint: http://blog.quicken.intuit.com/announcement/2009/12/02/quicken-online-mint-com-the-best-of-both/

  • Gary from Jersey June 16, 2010, 10:03 am

    Finally, a computer site I actually can at least try to understand. I’m more in Jimbo’s what-the-hell-is-this-button-for camp and now I think I have at least a glimmer of hope I won’t be killing poor children when I push it.

  • Gary from Jersey June 16, 2010, 10:04 am

    Now if you’d just tell me how to stop the italics…

  • mike June 16, 2010, 10:10 am

    Holy smokes I didn’t even know you could do italics in here!

    italics on italics off

    Here you go.

    <i> turns italic on.
    </i> turns italic off.

  • mike June 16, 2010, 10:19 am

    And thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Gary from Jersey June 16, 2010, 10:33 am

    Thanks. ,i.Now,/i> let’s see if I can actually do it.

  • Adam June 16, 2010, 11:14 am

    Firstib.com. Check it out. It pays interest and pays your bills. I’ve been with them for about 10 years and have never had even a small problem. I especially like the repeating bills. My housepayment goes, without fail, every month and I get an email telling me so. And I like Mint a lot. I have it on my cellphone. It tracks my bank accounts, credit card accounts and summarizes at a glance. Perfect.

  • mike June 16, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Hi Adam, thanks for the comment. I took a look at http://www.firstib.com and they look like a decent operation. The only concern I have, just with regard to my personal needs, is overdraft protection. With INGDirect I get $1000 overdraft protection and a unique fee. Instead of a flat $30 fee, I get charged a small interest rate for a loan. For example, I had an overdraft on my checking account last month of a few hundred dollars. I got an email from ING, and responded to it immediately by transferring money from savings. The transfer itself was instantaneous. I got charged 13 cents for the overdraft.

  • physical therapist July 18, 2010, 6:19 pm

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!