If you’re like many Mac users through the years your Mac was home to Quicken. Despite Intuit’s dismissal of the Mac as a viable platform earlier this century, I stuck it out with various versions, fixes, workarounds, and some discontent, all to avoid the suffering that comes from switching from one Mac money management app to another.
In recent years Intuit decided to make a Quicken comeback to the Mac. I tried the versions and stuck with the replacement I’d picked up a few years ago. MoneyWell. Alright, to be fair, MoneyWell is not Quicken, and doesn’t have the same point-for-point feature set, but it gets updated regularly, works well, costs less, and oh, by the way, Intuit sold Quicken.
What MoneyWell has is what I want– a good way to track expenses and income, a quick and easy way to see how my money is doing and where it went, and, importantly (and what Quicken does not do well), an iPhone app that I can take with me but that syncs back to MoneyWell on my Mac.
First, the eye candy. Looks a bit like Quicken, no? Well, most Mac money management apps have a similar look, handle multiple accounts and budgets, and display charts so you can see where the money went and you’ll know exactly why there’s more month left over at the end of your money.
Beyond the standards of multiple accounts and charts, the real value, in my humble opinion, that separates MoneyWell from Quicken and most other mid-range money management apps is the budget process.
This is simplicity personified, folks.
MoneyWell uses a tried and true budgeting method, one that my parents used in the early days of my life. Envelope budgeting.
The envelope method is simple. Budget your expense money into envelopes, write a category and an amount on each envelope, and pay bills accordingly.
MoneyWell uses a digital envelop approach which makes it easy to set up expenses, recurring expenses, total debt, as well as income and cash on hand.
You don’t even need cash to use the envelope method in MoneyWell, just the proper categories for expenses and income (think buckets). MoneyWell has a few extra bells and whistles, including direct banking, and a simple way to click and download transactions as recorded at the bank.
MoneyWell has priorities straight, though. Reduce debt by focusing on where the money goes by event. Reports are simple to generate, too, so you’ll know how much money came to you, how much left you, and how much month you have left over at the end of your money.
Interestingly, MoneyWell is priced about right because it’s not Quicken and not cluttered with all of Intuit’s (or whoever owns Quicken now) bells and whistles, and frankly, it’s even more usable, especially if you get the iPhone version to match.