When you think of money management applications for the Mac, what do you think of? Top of mind for many Mac users will be Intuit’s laughable Quicken. Or, perhaps the alternative that’s better than Quicken, the popular iBank.
Both apps will do the job of managing your money (though I worry about Quicken pulling the rug out from under Mac users; again), but each comes with a level of complexity, when what I want most is simplicity. My checkbook is simple, so why not have a digital checkbook on my Mac?
Simple Money Manager
With apologies to Robert Palmer and Simply Irresistible (“She’s so fine there’s no telling where the money went!“) there is a way to track your money without taking a college finance course, or investing in a complicated full featured money app with a steep learning curve.
Enter CheckBook and CheckBook Pro. That’s right. Both CheckBook apps are like a digital checkbook for your Mac– a checkbook that mimics a personal checkbook but does all the calculations automatically and keeps detailed records of every transaction.
Start using CheckBook by setting up a checking or savings account (or both), set the beginning balance, then add Deposits, enter Debits, and even keep track of expenditures by category. Just like a good checkbook made of paper.
Click or tap on the image above for a larger version with more detail.
CheckBook captures the entry date, lets you set customizable categories for each transaction, detail who the check is written to (or, where the money comes from), enter a simple description of the transaction, and record the amount.
Balances are adjust automatically as you enter a transaction, but every item can be edited for amount, notes, type, category, and more.
To make sure CheckBook remains an accurate reflection of your income and expenses, each account can be reconciled whenever you choose. Check off your entered items from the bank’s statement, one by one. Unlike your checkbook, CheckBook has plenty of useful options.
Transactions are easily searched and edited. Monthly bills and paychecks can have scheduled transactions which are entered automatically (good for rent, car payment, school loan, paycheck, etc.). And, importantly, there’s a graphic display with charts and reports so you can see where the money went at a glance (and, where it came from, too).
CheckBook and CheckBook Pro are both mature Mac app that plays nice-nice with OFX, QFX, QIF, CSV and Text files from other money apps, and you can import files from Quicken Essentials for Mac. They handle multiple currencies, allow transfers between accounts (with a single transaction), and the Mac App Store version lets you use iCloud to sync data between Macs. The Pro version comes with more features and a heftier price tag.
The only negative isn’t really for CheckBook Pro itself, but it’s the lack of an iOS version. This Mac app is so good that simply having an iPhone version would be huge.