Quicken may well be the single most ubiquitous piece of financial software on the market, and with good reason -- it's been around for more than 25 years. Originally sold in banks in 1984, Quicken grew alongside the software market, eventually adopting the Windows platform in 1991 and regularly adding new features and support for new operating systems [source: Intuit]. Quicken 2011 is just a bit more advanced than the now-ancient check-writing program that started it all in 1984.
If you're looking for a powerful piece of software to manage multiple checking accounts, savings accounts, online transactions and credit card bills -- pretty much every single dollar that goes in or out of your coffers -- Quicken is a good choice. You can use it to craft a budget, pay bills, and set goals to plan for retirement or that pool you've always wanted for the backyard. The basic version of Quicken 2011 costs $69.99, while the more powerful Quicken Premier costs $104.99. If you're interested in a tool to track and manage investments and stock market decisions, Quicken Premier is the better pick.
Quicken is a powerful money management application that may be a bit overwhelming for some users. If you need a simpler budgeting program and don't have multiple accounts to track, a less expensive solution may be for you. One last important thing to note: Quicken is primarily a Windows program, and the Mac software, Quicken Essentials, lacks the breadth of features available in the Windows version. With that in mind, let's take a look at one of Quicken's most popular competitors.