Simplifi by Quicken review: Budgeting and tracking driven by a sleek interface

Simplifi by Quicken is, as its name suggests, a simplified approach to personal finance. This cloud-based service makes it easy to track your money and budget from anywhere.

Now owned by Aquiline Capital Partners, Simplifi comes from the same stewards as longtime mainstay Quicken. While Quicken is a full-scale personal finance package with desktop apps and online/mobile support, Simplifi goes back to basics, and it does so with a visually appealing new interface and a logical workflow for tracking accounts, set savings goals and create budgets. . Read the rest of our Simplifi review to see why it’s one of the best budget apps around.

Simplifi by Quicken review: Cost

Simplifi costs $5.99 per month and $3.99 per month billed annually ($47.99). The company offers a 30-day free trial, but you must sign up with a credit or debit card or PayPal account.

Simplifi by Quicken Review: Features

Simplifi by Quicken is designed to provide a visual snapshot of your financial health. The service manages account tracking in banks, investments, credit cards and payment services, and combines this with spending and savings plans, billing alerts and trend analysis of your spending, income, savings, etc. Unlike its well-known personal finance sibling, Quicken, Simplifi started life as a web service, and its graphical appearance reflects that history.

Simplifi’s feature set compares well to Quicken’s Deluxe tier (the improvement to Quicken Starter Edition). Quicken sets itself apart by offering desktop software for Mac and PC in addition to its online and web applications; and Quicken has stronger support for tax planning and investments. Simplifi does not support cryptocurrency investments, unlike its competitor Mint.

(Image credit: Quicken)

The service has strong budgeting features, although you won’t see the word budget anywhere in the interface. You can create a budget for a month and choose to ignore one-time transactions from a monthly spending plan (which Quicken cannot do). It can help you reach your savings goals and make suggestions for your budget based on your spending, but it doesn’t create multiple budgets or carry-over budgets or year-over-year budgeting, which Quicken can to manage.

Simplifi by Quicken review: Help available

When you first log in to the service, Simplifi offers a guided tour that walks you through the sections. Additional tips appear when you first enter a section, like when we checked out the spending plan.

The right navigation bar has a support icon; click on the question mark and a chat and help pop-up will appear on the right side of the screen. We could search for more information on a topic or engage in a conversation with the bot and then a live agent. The service has live chat support from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific, seven days a week. We had to consult the help files and the support community to troubleshoot account connection issues. While we couldn’t find direct answers from Simplifi, we did find related community tips that helped us figure out what we needed to do on our bank’s side to enable the connection. Phone support buried in the Help Center can set up a Coach to call back as soon as possible.

Simplifi by Quicken review: Ease of use

After choosing between a monthly or annual plan, you will set up a login account with your email address and provide payment information. Then you’ll add your mobile number and password, and that’s it – you’re there. Add your mobile number again to have the Android or iOS app link texted to you. And reconnect.

A welcome screen initiates a basic onboarding process. The first verifies your name and zip code (pre-populated based on your billing information). Then you will connect accounts. As Quicken supports over 14,000 financial institutions; you can also manually add and track an asset or account.

(Image credit: Quicken)

Unfortunately, this was my first usability issue. I chose an institution and put the login credentials to my account, but I had trouble with the two-factor authentication. (I resolved the issue with Simplifi and received no resolution or resolution timeframe more than a week after the case was escalated).

(Image credit: Quicken)

I then added accounts from other institutions with no problem. A drop-down menu allows you to choose the accounts to add if you have several accounts in an institution.

Once I added accounts, Simplifi dropped me into the main dashboard. The default view is a highly visual dashboard consisting of multiple cards containing snapshots of data pulled from different sections of the service. On first use, the interface gave me a quick and helpful tour of the elements.

(Image credit: Quicken)

We liked that Simplifi’s interface is highly customizable. For example, we might rearrange the maps on the dashboard to ensure the view is as useful as possible for your needs. The service lets you edit tags and set rules and filters, adding layers of flexibility beyond its own smarts. We also appreciated that Simplifi gave us guidance within the service, which competitors like Mint lack.

As with the interface, Simplifi’s budgeting capabilities have a degree of flexibility. The term “budget” does not appear anywhere in the interface; instead, Simplifi has a natural language and workflow that effectively translates into creating a budget by completing the previous steps. Instead of setting a “budget” like in Mint, you set a watchlist to track how much you spend on a particular category.

(Image credit: Quicken)

The service’s help options feature helpful budgeting tips entries to help you understand how to use Simplifi’s tools to your advantage. Simplifi is unusual in that it not only works on multiple budgeting approaches, but also describes how it can be used in four budgeting styles: zero-based, envelope, pay yourself first, and 50/30/20.

Your budget is gathered in Simplifi’s spending plan. Simplifi analyzes your recurring transactions based on your accounts to identify your available funds based on what’s left of your income after your paid and expected bills and your savings. You can manually add income and expense events, add tags and categorization if needed.

(Image credit: Quicken)

For the most part, we found Simplifi’s tools to monitor spending and report on your financial health in a logical and easy-to-navigate way. We really liked how we could create a watchlist to keep tabs on spending, based on category, payee, or tag. This makes it easy to track how much you spend on coffee, dining out, or shopping at a particular store. Savings Goal Setting for Savings provides simple and easy visuals that help you reach your goal on the due date.

The biggest interface hurdle we had was when we were manually adding unrepresented revenue into our accounts. The manual add form is actually the same across all categories, but oddly the revenue category falls under a drop down list, while “uncategorized” just leaves invoices or subscriptions as checkboxes below, outside of this drop-down list. Once we selected “Personal Income” from the category dropdown, the context of the available “type” of added funds changed.

Simplified Review by Quicken: Mobile

Like the web service, the Simplifi mobile app for iOS and Android is highly customizable. By default, the bank card is at the top, so you can see your funds at a glance, but you can rearrange the cards as you wish. A hamburger menu at the top left reveals each section, making navigating between items simple and a few clicks away. The presentation is beautiful, with easy-to-read text, helpful graphics, and logical organization. The functionality follows what you get on a web browser, just in a more condensed form.

Simplifi Review by Quicken: Verdict

With its sleek design and flexible approach, Simplifi by Quicken makes tracking your money attractive and provides reports that help you stay on top of your finances. We especially liked the logical flow of how budgeting could work, how we could monitor how much we were spending on specific categories, and how we could set savings goals. The service costs $5.99 per month, a small price to ditch the annoying offers that are continually present with free competitor Mint.

Simplifi and Mint are more similar than dissimilar in that they look at a wide swath of your financial situation, and budgets are one element of one that uses the account monitoring you’ve already entered. Although YNAB is the best budgeting app overall, it focuses on zero-based budgeting. So, if you’re looking for more robust net worth monitoring features and accounts, Simplifi and Mint are the best options.