Quicken remains the money management app with brand recognition but the Mac app usually ends up being castigated and criticized incessantly by the Mac community, and with good reason. There are alternatives. Here’s a good one.
MoneyWell, Not Money Pit
Yes, sad to say, I was one of those Mac users burned by Intuit’s Quicken back in the day when the company thought so little of Mac users that it abandoned the platform altogether. Amazingly, Mac sales have been on a tear since then, increasing the market for Quicken.
Unfortunately, while Quicken was away, the money mice were busy playing and developing alternatives like iBank and MoneyWell and others. If you need a full featured comprehensive money management solution, for for iBank.
If you need a Mac money app that’s easier to use, well balanced, and available on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, choose MoneyWell, which uses a time-honored budgeting approach. Think digital envelope.
This is not a checkbook app, and it’s not a portfolio manager. MoneyWell lets you create a budget– income and expenses– in the easiest way possible. The ‘envelope budgeting‘ method.
Back before computers and electronic banking, money management was more basic, but having a budget was still essential. An easy way to manage cash flow was to lay out several envelopes and write a budget category on each along with an amount.
Then when you got paid, you’d cash your check and divide it up according to the amount on each envelope and then set aside those envelopes until you needed to pay your bills.
MoneyWell takes the same approach, but digitally; on the Mac’s screen. Your income is assigned to an income bucket, which fill the expense buckets, which are also used for withdrawals from your accounts. It’s about as easy as stuffing cash into various envelopes. You’ll always know how much money you have, what you need, and where it goes.
MoneyWell is not devoid of features, though. It handles direct connections to banks, imports standard QIF files, makes nice-nice with Excel or Numbers, but the approach to managing money is just easier to understand than all but the simplest Mac checkbook apps.
MoneyWell features built-in reports with charts and graphs so you can see income and expenses over time. The Reports tool lets you create, view, and save reports. The app even handles multiple currencies. Another facet of MoneyWell I appreciate are the iPad and iPhone versions. There’s no better way to keep a budget intact than to carry it with you, and MoneyWell Express for iPhone does that.
Whatever transaction you make on one device gets synchronized to the other devices and financial data is password protected. So far, all three apps work great and MoneyWell gets plenty of four star reviews, all highly deserved.
One issue that caught my eye, though, has to do with updates. Mac MoneyWell was updated recently, but the iPhone and iPad haven’t been updated recently; over 18 months for both apps. It’s that kind of neglect that reminds me of Quicken.