It’s not a budgeting app, exactly, because it doesn’t force users to adhere to a formal rules-based budgeting program. But it can certainly help you spend and save smarter — and should, when used consistently and to the full extent of its capabilities.
But while Simplifi trades on the Quicken name, it’s an entirely separate product that’s less clunky and spreadsheet-y than the historically desktop-based “original” Quicken. Simplifi is built to run on a mobile device, and it doesn’t even integrate with Quicken itself due to intentional differences in data formatting.
In this way, Simplifi is a fresh start for the makers of Quicken. Just as it can be a fresh start for people whose current money management practices — whatever form they take — are no longer working.
Everything about Simplifi seems tailored to one big goal: helping users gain control over their financial lives.
Its key features provide broad visibility into personal finances while enabling customized, even personalized tracking, management, and planning regardless of your income, family size, or lifestyle.
Plan and Pricing
Simplifi has a single paid plan that includes all of its features and capabilities.
After a 30-day free trial, during which new sign-ups can cancel with no obligation and no out-of-pocket expense, Simplifi costs $2.99 per month when paid annually (about $36 per year) or $3.99 per month when paid monthly (about $48 per year).
Consolidated Financial Snapshot
Simplifi makes it easy to achieve a big-picture view of your finances from a single account dashboard. The app securely connects to financial accounts held with more than 14,000 U.S. institutions, including:
- Bank accounts
- Credit cards
- Investment accounts
- Installment loans, including personal loans and mortgages
In short, if it’s a U.S.-based account that directly affects your net worth or cash flow — whether positively or negatively — Simplifi can integrate it into your consolidated financial snapshot.
Spend Tracking and Bill Management Tools
Simplifi has a useful set of tools to help users track spending, manage bills, and get more visibility into how much they’re spending relative to their actual income and savings goals:
- Find and Track Recurring Bills. Simplifi identifies recurring bills, enabling users to find subscriptions and other recurring charges that aren’t serving them well without the help of a bill negotiation service.
- Automatic Transaction Categorization. Simplifi automatically assigns transactions to general categories like “eating out” and “rent,” providing uncluttered visibility into the share of total cash flow each category or type of expense takes up.
- Upcoming Credits and Debits. Over time, Simplifi learns each user’s cash flow patterns and can help them peek ahead at upcoming income, bills, and other inflows and outflows that could impact their spending and savings plans.
- Custom Expense Watchlists. Simplifi’s custom watchlists let users search, filter, and monitor purchases and bills by payee, expense category, or custom tag (such as “splurge”) for more granular expense tracking.
It doesn’t matter whether you pay bills with credit cards, debit cards, direct debit, personal checks, or a mix of them all. As long as it occurs through a linked financial account, Simplifi can track it all.
Personalized Spending Plan
Simplifi keeps a real-time tally of your monthly income, scheduled or recurring bills, discretionary purchases, savings and investment account contributions, and funds set aside for savings goals.
These inputs all factor into a personalized spending plan that’s basically a running tally of what you can safely spend for the remainder of the month. Your personalized spending plan changes whenever these inputs change, whether because you got a raise at work or because you adjusted your savings rate for a new saving goal.
Goals are fully customizable by objective, dollar amount, monthly contribution, and full funding date, although the last three are all functions of one another. You can shorten the time to full funding by increasing your monthly contribution or reducing the goal’s dollar value.
In any case, Simplifi’s saving goals feature shows your progress toward each goal on a monthly basis and updates after each contribution.
Simplifi’s key advantages mostly relate to its ease of use and personalization potential. Its design, which adapts equally well to mobile and desktop devices, is a big selling point too.
- Comprehensive Financial Snapshot in One Account. Simplifi provides users with a comprehensive snapshot of their personal finances in one place, visible at a single glance. While this feature isn’t revolutionary, Simplifi does it better than most competitors, and the fact that the app integrates with so many U.S.-based banks and credit card issuers — more than 14,000 in all — is a distinct advantage over money management apps that, in practice, require lots of manual updating.
- Longer-Range Planning Tools for Spending and Saving. Simplifi isn’t a full replacement for a human financial advisor, nor a hybrid advisory and wealth management platform like Personal Capital. On the other hand, it’s far cheaper than Personal Capital, much less a human advisor, and the one-two punch of its personalized spending plan and saving goals features make it practical for planning over three- to five-year time spans, and possibly even longer.
- Customizable Watchlists. Simplifi’s customizable watchlists help users drill down quickly on potentially problematic spending — and, if warranted, to eliminate it without the help of an expensive bill negotiation service.
- Mobile and Desktop App Are Virtually Identical. Simplifi is a mobile-friendly platform that works equally well on small- and large-screened devices, including iPhone and Android devices. In fact, its desktop and mobile versions are virtually identical, making for a truly anytime, anywhere budgeting experience.
- Has a 30-Day Free Trial. Every new Simplifi sign-up comes with a 30-day free trial, during which new users are free to try the platform with no obligations or out-of-pocket expense. If the app doesn’t meet expectations, simply cancel and walk away.
Simplifi has some important limitations when measured against other popular budgeting apps, including the lack of a free plan (after the 30-day free trial) and no built-in banking or investing capabilities.
- Has No Free Plan. Simplifi is a paid subscription app with no free plan after the 30-day free trial ends. This compares unfavorably with other popular money management tools, including Mint, and is a distinct disadvantage for users who don’t believe they should have to pay to track spending and saving in one place.
- Has No Built-in Banking Features. Simplifi is not a banking app or investment platform. It doesn’t have a built-in checking account or savings account protected by FDIC insurance and certainly doesn’t allow users to buy and sell stocks online. In this way, it’s markedly less capable than financial apps that directly enable spending and saving first and offer money management features like those at Simplifi’s core only as a value-add.
- Doesn’t Integrate With Quicken Data. Although it’s made by the developer of Quicken and vocally trades on the better-known platform’s name, Simplifi is not compatible with the “original” Quicken financial management suite. As a user, you’ll need to choose one or the other — Simplifi can’t read Quicken data, nor vice versa.
Unlike strict, proscriptive apps and methods that set hard rules for when and how much you can spend, Simplifi is more of a guide that helps you avoid overspending and stay on track to reach your goals without feeling like you’re doing without.
That’s probably why the app touts its sunny “glass half full” approach. It’s more cheerleader than drill sergeant.
Does that mean Simplifi is guaranteed to work for you? That you’re certain to find yourself in a better financial position after a few months of consistent use?
Not necessarily. But if you’ve had mixed results with more traditional budgeting tools in the past, or you just aren’t a big fan of rules-based budgeting, you owe it to yourself to give this reasonably priced platform a chance.