You Need a Budget

Update: October 22, 2012

For the last few months I’ve been using You Need a Budget for the Mac. It’s not quite the same as Microsoft Money, but it is a fantastic program and I highly recommend it.

Money for the MacWarning! Do not be fooled by what you might read anywhere on the Internet. If you have been using Microsoft Money and you switch to a Mac, you are screwed. There is nothing comparable for the Mac. No … Quicken is not an option. No, there is no version of Microsoft Money in development for the Mac. No, there are no other software programs available which are even remotely similar. No, none of the other potential financial software programs will allow you to successfully import your MSMoney data. No, you are not going to find another financial software application that is freeware or shareware or open source that comes close to Microsoft Money. No, you should not believe any website that attempts to explain how to convert your Microsoft Money file(s) for use in any Macintosh program.

And, no, you are not going to be able to return the $49.99 copy of the Mac version of Quicken 2007 once you’ve installed it and seen what a pathetic piece of crap it is.

No matter how in love you are with your new Mac, you are going to have to keep a Windows machine in your life so you can continue to use Microsoft Money. (Or, at the very least, you’re going to have to use Bootcamp, VMWare Fusion, or Parallels to use XP on your Mac.)

Just in case you think that this is a case of me simply not doing my homework, here is a quick, short list of other Mac users complaining about the same issue:

If you have just converted from Windows to Mac and are looking for a replacement for Microsoft Money, I’ve gone to the trouble of compiling a list of financial software applications that will not impress you. None of these will make you happy. Epic fail.

  1. Moneydance
  2. My Money Minder
  3. Jumsoft’s Money3
  4. iCash
  5. Budget
  6. Cashbox
  7. Cha-Ching
  8. Checkbook
  9. Finance
  10. iBank
  11. Liquid Ledger
  12. Fortora Fresh Finance
  13. MyMoney
  14. Flowing Pennies
  15. Squirrel
  16. MoneyWell
  17. Personal Finance
  18. Horizon
  19. Buddi
  20. prospects
  21. onTrack!
  22. iCompta
  23. Balance
  24. FinanceToGo
  25. iFinance
  26. Accounts
  27. EasyMoney
  28. SpendThrift

Update: March 20, 2012

It’s been four years since I wrote this post and there is still not a viable replacement.

Update: July 26, 2011

If you only are concerned with tracking bills and don’t care about investments or balancing your checkbook or importing statements or anything like that, I can recommend Chronicle. It’s a very well-done app that lets you stay on top of your pending bills. It is not a replacement for MSMoney, but it may be helpful for some. The interface is quite nice, and if they added the ability to track line items in your checkbook and savings accounts and credit cards, it would be fantastic. But they don’t. So there is STILL no viable Mac alternative to MSMoney.

Update: July 2011

I am really getting disgusted with my old Dell laptop and dealing with Microsoft Windows XP, so I tried once again to use a Mac alternative to MS Money 2007. I tried the new version of iBank, but just can’t handle the interface. (Why the hell can nobody recreate the register style UI of a fifteen year old Microsoft program?!) I also tried using SEE Finance, which someone recommended in the comments here, but that was a catastrophic failure. I tried importing about a year’s worth of my checking account and it completely locked my Mac for ten minutes! My Mac never crashes, so the fact that SEE Finance caused it to choke so quickly on a simple import was a bad sign and I just quit.

Update: April 2010

I decided to try the new Quicken Essentials for Mac in March 2010. I used it for about two weeks but just couldn’t stand it. The transaction interface is terrible and the categorization system is even worse. I also attempted to use MoneyWell again, but the latest version is just as bad as the last version I tried. So — as much as I hate to admit it — I am still using Microsoft Money 2008 on my old Dell laptop. It is the only reason I ever use a PC these days and I would supremely love to find a financial software package for the Mac as good as it.