For years, Quicken reigned as the number one personal finance software on the market.
But over time, more companies have released free personal finance budgeting and tracking software services. Companies like Tiller Money allow power users to create bespoke financial spreadsheets, and Personal Capital and Clarity Money have made easy-to-use apps that track every part of your financial life.
While it’s a little late to the party, Quicken has recently released Simplifi, a mobile app for tracking personal finances.
- A basic personal finance tracking and budgeting app
- Still lacking in-depth tracking that Quicken users really want
- $39.99 per year after your 30 day free trial
Simplifi by Quicken Details
Spending Tracking and Budgeting
What Is the Simplifi App?
Simplifi is a personal finance app designed to help users manage their cash flow and get a big picture view of their finances.
The app is mobile-friendly and available as a desktop website.
What Makes Simplifi Special?
Since Simplifi is a basic financial tracking and budgeting app, it can be tough to stand out.
However, Simplifi has several nice features. For example, it has a great net worth tracker that allows you to see your net worth broken down by account or all together.
The app also has a simplified budget called a spending plan where users track income, fixed bills, and discretionary spending.
If you’re into detailed spending reports, splitting transactions, or ignoring certain transactions (such as work expenses that will be reimbursed later), the app works very smoothly. The visualizations of spending were especially good (on both the desktop and app versions).
Best Features in Simplifi
Simplifi has two amazing features. The first is its spending plan. The spending plan essentially forecasts your income and fixed expenses for the month. The difference between the two is your “spending plan,” or the discretionary income you have to spend.
Some months, the extra income will go towards a vacation, and other months it will go towards snow tires for your vehicle and copays at the doctor. Instead of worrying about the details, you can focus on spending within your means.
The watchlists, which give users a way to keep tabs on specific spending targets, are also helpful. If you love going out to restaurants with friends, but you want to limit monthly spending to $150 on restaurants, you can set up a watchlist.
With the watchlist, you can easily see how much money you have left in your “budget.” That way, you can decide whether it’s a boozy-brunch kind of a day, or a split-a-Little-Caesars-pizza-four-ways kind of a day.
Where Simplifi Doesn’t Shine
Although Simplifi gives a great overview of cash flow, it doesn’t do much to motivate users to save money or pay off debt. The design of the app, especially the “spending plan” feature, makes it too easy (in my mind) to ignore savings, investing, and eliminating debt.
That said, the spending plan feature can work well as long as users already have a lot of their finances automated. For example, if you save for retirement through work, and you automatically draft to a savings account for short- and mid-term goals (such as a vacation, new furniture, or a vehicle fund), the spending plan will work perfectly. There is no need to beat yourself up over natural fluctuations in spending.
How Much Does Simplifi Cost?
The first 30 days with Simplifi are free, but it costs $3.33 per month after your initial trial. The price is somewhat lower than most “high-end” personal finance apps (such as Tiller Money, You Need a Budget, or Emma).
Even with a relatively low price, I’m not sure that Simplifi is worth the price. Apps such as Emma, Personal Capital, and Clarity Money offer similar functionality for free.
Should You Download Simplifi?
Right now, I can’t recommend Simplifi for most people. While it offers excellent functionality, I don’t think that the spending plan and watchlist features are compelling enough to make the app worth the monthly cost. While these features are somewhat unique, many apps offer similar functionality in my opinion - for free!
While they are continuing to develop the app, I think it's a wait and see how much it improves before paying.
That said, if you’re the type of person who wants to give yourself a 10,000-foot view of your finances, and only get alerts when something is wrong, Simplifi could be the app for you.
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Hannah is a wife, mom, and described personal finance geek. She excels with spreadsheets (and puns)! She regularly explores in-depth financial topics and enjoys looking at the latest tools and trends with money.