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I have one free download code for Quicken 2015 for Mac to give away to a lucky reader. Instructions are at the bottom of this article.

It’s been nine years since Intuit released a version of Quicken that was both fully-featured and designed to run on Apple’s hardware and operating systems. The Quicken Essentials for Mac bridged a technology gap between Quicken Mac 2007 and the Windows versions of the software, but many important pieces were missing.

Intuit has no announced their plans to release Quicken 2015 for Mac, and the software is available for pre-order beginning today. I had a chance to take a look at Quicken 2015 for Mac earlier this week. I am not a Mac user; I’ve been using Quicken Deluxe or Quicken Home & Business on Windows for years, and I’ve upgraded every year except this past year. But every time I’ve written a review of the latest Quicken product for Windows, I’ve heard from many readers who have been dreaming of a Quicken Mac version that contains all the features of the Windows version that can be run natively in OS X.

And that’s what Intuit is presenting today. It’s a complete re-write of the Quicken codebase (as it would need to be because of the requirements of OS X). And sometimes, from an application development perspective, when you’ve been modifying the same code for two decades, it’s good to start from the beginning with a fresh codebase.

Mac users will like the improvements. The interface borrows from what has worked well in Quicken’s mobile versions, and in fact, Intuit is also releasing an update mobile application for Quicken (the 2014/2015 mobile app).

The Quicken 2014/2015 mobile app.

Intuit promises the new mobile app will provide faster syncing between your desktop financial information and your mobile. A new feature allows you to easily take a snapshot of your receipts and enter the information for easier entry as a transaction, either on the spot or later. There are many mobile applications that allow you to organize your receipts, but if you’re a Quicken user, this built-in feature is essential.

Quicken 2015 for Mac desktop.

The sleek new interface is a welcome change. This overview screen shows how Quicken has improved its budget tracking features over the years, and most newer Quicken users are interested in tracking a budget. Quicken has really focused on household spending, and this has been seen more in the recent versions of the Quicken mobile app, and the same approach is now being featured in the desktop version of Quicken 2015 for Mac.

But the new version also finally gives Mac users powerful tools for tracking investments. It’s been almost ten years since a version of Quicken for Mac was able to do anything more than track investment balances. Like Windows users, Mac users can now track not only the balances in investment accounts, but the transactions as well. The investment features of the latest software are finally on par not just with the Windows version, but with users’ expectations for fully-featured personal financial management software.

Mac users can now track gains and losses, investment performance over time, and other important facets of all types of investment accounts, from stock trading portfolios to 401(k) retirement accounts.

Automatic upgrades for one year.

Intuit is trying something new with Quicken 2015 for Mac. When you buy the software, you will receive free, automatic software upgrades for one year. This is somewhat similar to how the Windows version works. Every time you open the Quicken software, the software checks to see if any new updates are available. There’s an important difference, however. The Windows updates are only bug fixes. And as most Quicken for Windows users know, there are undoubtedly bugs that need to be fixed with every new version.

However, with Quicken 2015 for Mac, the updates throughout the year will also include new features. According to Intuit, they are closely listening to their community of Mac users to determine what features to include. Any new features for one year will be automatically rolled out to all Mac users.

What’s missing from Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Intuit prioritized the features to include in the software based on feedback from Mac users. But as this is a new piece of software, built from the ground-up, and because Intuit is keeping to a release schedule, there are many interesting features available in the Windows version of Quicken that have not yet found their way into this new release for Mac users.

For instance, there is no calendar view of upcoming bills. The Mac version doesn’t include a debt reduction planner, something that many Windows users have found useful or at least interesting. Quicken for Mac doesn’t support some types of investment transactions, particularly those dealing with employee stock purchasing plans (ESPP). That would have been a deal-breaker for me. The retirement planner and goals planner are among some of the Windows features that are still missing from the Mac.

You can, however, vote on the features you’d like to see added to Quicken for Mac 2015 throughout the year. Intuit plans to listen to its community of users as much as possible, and implement the features that are most desired.

Final words.

For a Mac user that is serious about his or her finances, Quicken 2015 for Mac is a must buy. There’s always the alternative of running Quicken for Windows on a Mac through emulation, but the new interface makes the native version more appealing, but only if you don’t need the features that are currently missing from the Mac version.

The new software is an amazing improvement over what has previously been available for Apple’s operating systems, and the integration with mobile is a advantage worth the upgrade for users still hanging onto Quicken Mac 2007. Furthermore, any version of Quicken is much more feature-rich than any other financial management software available.

Intuit’s own (through acquisition) Mint has captured the interest of a new generation of financially-minded individuals and households, but Quicken holds so much more power, and as someone moved beyond basic budgeting and spending tracking to grown-up financial needs like investing for retirement or being the head of a household, Quicken is an essential upgrade over Mint.

Not surprisingly, having the Intuit team take me through a demo of the software earlier this week has piqued my interest for the latest Windows upgrade. I skipped Quicken 2014 for Windows, and I’ve been reading that users are still having problems with this version. I’d like to see some of the interface improvements and underlying technology fixed with the next version for Windows. It would be great to see a ground-up rewrite of the code, just like the Mac version, but with a tight yearly upgrade cycle, I doubt that will be the case any time soon for Windows users.

How to buy Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Quicken 2015 for Mac is available today for immediate download from Intuit, the Mac App store, or Amazon.com. If you prefer receiving software in a box in CD-ROM or DVD-ROM format (does anyone?), the software will be available in October in retail locations.

The price today is $74.99.

I have one free download code for Quicken 2015 for Mac to give away to a lucky reader. Instructions are at the bottom of this article.

Quicken 2015 for Mac FAQs.

Here are some of the questions I’ve received so far.

Can you edit investment transactions?

Yes. Unlike Quicken Essential for Mac, the investment features are implemented the same way as all other accounts, so you can add, edit, and delete transactions. The software does more than just track your investment balances.

Can you import old data?

Yes. You can import data from any previous version of Quicken for Mac or Windows into Quicken 2015 for Mac.

Give us your feedback.

Once you’ve downloaded the software and have had a chance to import your data (or begin from scratch), let other potential users know about your experiences. I’ve had a chance to look at the software from afar, and I like what I see, but I don’t have a Mac to run the software for myself. Do you like the new features, and do they work as expected? Are you missing the few aspects of the program that are available on the Windows version but not yet on Mac?

Free download giveaway.

Want to download Quicken 2015 for Mac for free? I have one download code to give away to a Consumerism Commentary reader. In order to qualify, follow these instructions:

  • For one point, post the following to Twitter: Read the @Quicken 2015 for Mac review by @luke_landes and win a copy! http://flexo.me/1pUASYZ #giveaway or just click on this link and submit the tweet easily.
  • Get an extra point if you have over 1,000 followers, another extra point if you have over 5,000, another extra point if you have over 10,000, another extra point if you have over 50,000, etc.
  • Leave a comment below with your Twitter ID and write briefly about your experience with Quicken. If you leave a comment and don’t post to Twitter, you’ll still get one point.

Every point you receive gives you one entry in the giveaway. I’ll choose the winner randomly on September 1.

The images in this post were provided by Intuit.

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Naked With Cash is an ongoing series at Consumerism Commentary in which readers share their households’ finances with other readers. These participants benefit from the accountability that comes from tracking their finances publicly and the feedback of the four expert Certified Financial Planners (CFPs).

For more information, read this introduction.

This year, we have four participants who will share their financial reports, exposing the results of their financial choices. Each participant is paired with one of our Certified Financial Planners. The experts will provide insight and guidance that will help our participants take their finances to the next level by the end of 2014. Learn about this year’s participants and experts.

Laura recently received a raise, the combined household income for Laura and Leon is more than $125,000 a year. They want to tackle their student debt, and perhaps start a family soon. They hope to pay better attention to their finances in order get on track for a comfortable retirement, and to ensure that they are in a good position when they decide to have children. (Read last month’s update.)

After reading Laura and Leon’s comments, you can read commentary from Roger Wohlner, CFP. Roger Wohlner appears courtesy of The Chicago Financial Planner. This month, there is a focus on changes to income.

Read the full article →

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As more consumers in the United States are jumping on the smartphone and tablet bandwagon — personally, I contribute to this mess with one of the latest phones with Android software as well as a first-generation iPad — there’s less room in the limited airwaves for customers’ needs to access the internet and occasionally make telephone calls over mobile networks. Mobile carriers are doing what they can to preserve what remains of the spectrum, usually by increasing prices or limiting bandwidth.

The idea behind the peak oil movement is that in the future — and sometime soon — the world will not be able to efficiently produce as much oil as the citizens of the world need to consume, and due to the imbalance between supply and demand, prices for oil (and thus everything else that relies on oil) will skyrocket. Peak oil has been proven difficult to predict.

TabletUnlike peak oil, wireless carriers know how much spectrum they have left before they can’t support any additional traffic over the air. The situation is similar to real estate. There’s only so much available land for construction, and as the available land in any area with adequate demand is sold, the pressure of the lack of supply drives prices up. Dish Network, for example, has a significant amount of unused spectrum, and it would like to sell what it isn’t using to a wireless provider that desperately needs the spectrum to satisfy its customers.

As companies need to devote more of their resources towards increasing spectrum — whether through consolidation attempts in the industry like AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile — or through buying spectrum from other owners at a high price — and as companies use pricing to limit customers’ use of the spectrum, the cost for a family or an individual to receive the same level of service is going to increase.

Save money on your cell phone bills

You can keep your cell phone bills in check:

  • Use a service like Validas to make sure you’re paying for the best mobile plan for you.
  • Compare prices across carriers. Don’t just consider the mainstream plans with the major carriers; pre-paid mobile phone plans could cost less.
  • Consider skipping internet-enabled devices. If all you need to do is talk, you can save yourself the expense of the latest high-tech phones and stay on a less expensive voice plan.
  • If you have other telecommunication services, like cable television and home phone, consider bundling these services to save money.
  • Call and ask for a discount. Sometimes, you can get a price break just by asking. Don’t threaten to leave, though, unless you’re willing to live up to that promise.

I’m currently paying over $100 per month for my mobile phone service with Verizon Wireless, which includes my phone with 4G smartphone service as well as a 3G service for my iPad through a separate device. How much do you pay for your mobile phone service? Are you prepared for this cost to increase in the next year or two as companies fight over remaining broadband spectrum?

Photo: @iannnnn
CNN Money

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It wouldn’t be a weekday in May without another giveaway. This month is Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Each day, I’ll have some to reward readers valued $50 or more. Today’s a good day for the winner; thanks to a partnership with personal finance blog Beating Broke, I am able to offer Amazon.com’s reading device, the Kindle. This is the ad-free Wi-Fi only version.

Beating Broke is a website about becoming debt free. Avoiding unnecessary debt — and changing life to make debt unnecessary — is key to securing a financial future. Being in debt means the money you earn belongs to someone else. For some, the comparison between debt and slavery is easy to make.

Amazon KindleIf you’re interested in winning a Kindle, you’ll need to complete the following tasks by 11:59 PM Eastern Time, May 20, 2011. Late entries will not be accepted.

  1. Subscribe to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed using your favorite RSS reader. You can use these buttons to add Consumerism Commentary directly into your favorite software, and if you’re already a subscriber, you can skip this step.
  2. Subscribe to the Beating Broke RSS feed using your favorite RSS reader. You can use these buttons, and if you’re already a subscriber, you can skip this step.
  3. Look for the phrases of the day at the end (or at the beginning) of the latest articles in your RSS reader. There will be one phrase from Consumerism Commentary and a different phrase from Beating Broke.
  4. Email both phrases of the day to may20@consumerismcommentary.com by 11:59 PM Eastern Time Friday, May 20, 2011.

If you win, you’ll need to meet all the conditions outlined in the Giveaway May introduction. Good luck!

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May 10: Win a Free Kindle With Wi-Fi

by Luke Landes

All this month is Giveaway May at Consumerism Commentary. Every day, I’ll be choosing one winner randomly for a prize. Each day there is a small challenge in order to qualify for the giveaway, and today is no exception. Today I have a Kindle With Wi-Fi from Amazon.com to give away. This is the version ... Continue reading this article…

148 comments Read the full article →

Verizon Wireless Kills “New Every Two” Discount

by Luke Landes
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The year 2000 was not an easy one for me. I had hardly any money thanks to a low-paying non-profit job and student loan debt. Even when not spending much beyond the necessities, I wasn’t improving my financial condition. I was moving around from apartment to apartment; by 2004 I would had lived in seven ... Continue reading this article…

39 comments Read the full article →

Make Sure You Really Want to Jailbreak Your iPhone

by Smithee

If you heard about it at all, you heard right: it’s no longer illegal to jailbreak your iPhone. That means you can install any app you want on it, regardless of whether it exists in the official App Store. But according to Apple, this will void your warranty, so proceed with caution. I’d recommend looking ... Continue reading this article…

6 comments Read the full article →

Amazon Kindle, Chapter Three

by Smithee

Amazon’s 3rd-generation Kindle e-reader, set to be released on August 27th, had me worried for a little while. My gadget-y friends and I often wonder aloud about upcoming features and technology advances, and many of them assumed Amazon would try to make it more like an iPad. As a happy owner of a 2nd-generation Kindle, ... Continue reading this article…

0 comments Read the full article →
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