Frustrating Money Management Software

Over the years, I have jumped from program to program for managing my checkbook and finances. Back in the day, I used Quicken exclusively. When I bought my Mac in 2007, I immediately bought Quicken 2007 for Mac. That particular program turned out to be an ugly beast. It wasn’t made for the Intel chipset, it was slow, and not intuitive at all.

Since dumping Quicken 2007 in search for a better alternative, I have experimented with numerous other programs. Those include Moneydance, Moneywell, iBank, Cha-Ching and others. I have never been completely satisfied with my experience with any of them. I believe Moneywell is the best program I’ve used, but lately I’ve grown frustrated with a few issues that I believe must be software bugs.

A wider question is whether to use money management software at all these days. A lot of people don’t bother. I can think of three alternatives to not using said software: 1) Not keep track of your money at all, 2) Use an online solution like Mint. I am not interested in using an online service to house my banking information, so that option can be tossed out immediately. 3) Track your finances using a spreadsheet.

Quicken has been promising a new Mac version for a couple of years now. It has been delayed time and time again. In fact, some in the tech press have called it vaporware. However, it seems that they are finally about to release it. I received an email from Intuit saying that the new version will be released by the end of this month. It is called Quicken Essentials for Mac. The screenshots look attractive, but is it worth it for me to spend any more money on software to help manage my money? After all, I find something that I dislike in all of them.

My needs in money management are pretty simple. I manually enter the data and I just want to know the bottom line to avoid possible overdrafts. With that in mind, I’m now trying a new approach to managing my checkbook. I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet that will house my transaction data. I tried a few iterations of my own, but I’ve taken a liking to the attractive Excel 2008 checkbook template that Microsoft offers for download on their Mactopia website.

So far, I like the complete control over the fields and information that I can store using Excel over a money application. Over time, I’ll see if tweaking the spreadsheet will be enough to satisfy my needs. If not, perhaps I’ll test drive Quicken’s new offering. Maybe they’ll get it right this time.

Author: Craig Tisinger


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