Managing Your Personal Finances with Quicken
Book Review

Managing Your Personal Finances with Quicken
by Tom Negrino

Peachpit Press
147 pages
ISBN 0-321-29365-7
US $12.99 CN $18.99

When I purchased my Mac mini several months ago, I was surprised to see a copy of Intuit’s Quicken 2005 personal finance software fully installed. I had been shopping around for such a program, but didn’t want shell a lot of money for one. So I decided that even it didn’t have all the features I wanted or needed, I’d make it work because I didn’t have to spend extra money for it.

Opening and starting program wasn’t that difficult and I could have accessed online guides and help, but I don’t like reading manuals online, and most them of I find tedious to read anyway. No doubt I could have learned how to use Quicken without a manual, but I like to learn as much as I can about program so that I can get the most out of it.

So I turned to Tom Negrino’s Managing Your Personal Finances with Quicken, an affordably priced book that would get me up and running with Quicken in no time. Like other Visual QuickProject guides, Negrino’s book is well laid out with large, color coded chapter headings and concise instructions.

There’s no need to read this book from cover to cover. Its design and structure are for accessing what you need to know as you work through the program. The book is written for both Mac and Window’s users, the latter getting a little more instruction–perhaps because those users need it.

Beyond setting up my accounts, what I found most useful are instructions on many time saving features of the program like setting scheduled transactions and downloads, setting up categories for income and spending, and creating reports for tax purposes. Wish I could say I used the section on setting up investment portfolios, but unfortunately it’s not a book on how make that kind of money–only how to record what you make, which in my case is nothing. At least for now anyhow.

Negrino, who has written other QuickProject guides, including Quicken 2003 for Mac, also provides instruction for using Quicken’s main features: check writing, balancing transactions, managing credit cards and mortgage payments, paying bills online, and making split transactions. Handy colorful screenshots of the software are used throughout the book. And his “extra bits” sections provide useful tidbits of personal finance advice for and beyond the program.

If you’ve never used an accounting program and you’re wanting to get more efficient with your personal or small business financing, this QuickProject book will be useful. I have to admit, though, I haven’t referenced the book beyond the first few times I used to learn the program. Thus the book lives up to its subtitle–a visual guide that will save you the time and headache of learning a particular program. Rating: 5 out of 5


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