Quicken: Still the Best for Budgeting

If you can spare the time, Quicken Premier offers a more complete picture of your finances than free online sites.

The rise of Mint.com and its online budgeting cousins helped speed the demise of Microsoft Money personal-finance software, and it scared the daylights out of Intuit, which owns Quicken. But Intuit fought back -- by acquiring Mint in 2009. Now, Intuit's new Premier version of Quicken ($65 at Amazon.com) incorporates many of the same colorful graphs and user-friendly features that Mint uses to help you budget and set goals.

So why not save $65 and sign up for Mint or another of the growing number of free online budgeting sites (see Easy Ways to Track Your Cash)? They're fine for budgeting beginners, or if you just want budgeting lite. But if you want a more comprehensive view of your finances, including your investments, and you are willing to devote more time to the task, Quicken Premier can do the job. Desktop-based software is also a good option for anyone nervous about storing financial information online.

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Senior Reporter, Kiplinger's Personal Finance