Life without Quicken

Just re-reading my Quicken tirades. I still think they had horrible at customer service, and will not use their products again. Just in case you were wondering.

But, now I had to put my money where my morals were, and stop using Quicken. Yes, the customer service people doing Quicken BillPay, and the whole BillPay service might be an entirely different division of Intuit, but I had a bad taste in my mouth, and it was time for a change.

I’d been a loyal Quicken user for 10 years. Had a decade of financial information in there, used it to manage all my bank accounts, and in fact, chose banks based on how they supported Quicken. So, going cold turkey, well, I wasn’t sure how that’d really go. And, if I’d end up crawling back to Quicken as a management tool, and editing my blogs to cover my tracks. If I delete it after I’ve published it, it disappears from the web forever, right? I read that somewhere, I’m sure I did. OK, I just made it up.

Well, I’m happy to report that after going to all my billers, and turning on alerts for my accounts, and cancelling the only biller that didn’t support that, and then going whole hog with my Credit Union and their bill pay service, I haven’t looked back. I also turned on paperless billing from everyone, and since I’m online all the time anyway, I never miss any activity. I now know every single time a debit or credit occurs to all of my accounts, in nearly real time. Bills get paid faster paying them throught the Credit Union, or inversely, having the biller suck mail out of my checking account, in which case I can pay bills the day before they’re due. More interest for me! No longer do I have to pay things a week or more in advance, since I was never quite sure how long it’d take for Quicken to get it there.

In fact, I’ve now got bill pay set up with both my credit union AND with my investment broker. I’ll be paying my larger regular bills like the mortgage through my investment accounts, and my more real-time changing bills through the credit union, letting me keep the bulk of my money where it gets the highest interest.

Oh, and for budgeting, well, I just used Numbers, that came with my iWork purchase, loaded the budget spreadsheet, and I now have a really good monthly budgeting tool too! OK, so it doesn’t take my checking accounts, and each individual payment, and semi-automatically categorize and file it so I could monitor cash flow, it is a bit clunkier, but that made me streamline my budget, which actually means I’m (at least so far) using it, which I never got to doing regularly enough with Quicken.

By finally stepping outside the comfy blanket of Quicken taking care of my accounts, I now have more information, more quickly than I had before, and am able to more wisely allocate my assets. So, thanks, Intuit, for making me mad enough to dump you!

Update October 2008, I’ve augmented all the above with as well, which gives me a great history and budget facility, mostly automated, and it learns.

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