Budgeting With Moneydance

I recently switched from Quicken 2009 to Moneydance 2010 back in February of this year.  Since then I’ve been on sort of a quest to fix our finances.  Part of that quest has been to set a budget and stick to it.  I toyed with budgeting in Quicken a few years back but back then I was trying to budget each subcategory and, since I have so many, I found that difficult and ultimately useless.

So I thought I’d give Moneydance’s budgeting features a go and see what happened.  First though a bit of a disclaimer: this isn’t intended to be a tutorial per se; rather this is an account of how I use the software.  That said, if you find that this information is helpful then all the better.  Also, this article assumes that you have a working knowledge of the software; for example, you have one or more accounts set up and have entered transactions that are assigned to one or more categories.  Hopefully you also have at least a few subcategories set up too.  It’s also a good idea to first read the instructions for the budgeting component of Moneydance, located here.

Creating A Budget

To create a budget you first choose “Budget Manager” from the “Tools” menu.  Then click the “New” button.  You’ll see this window:

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Moneydance 2010

In the spring of 2010 I’d been a Quicken user for a little more than ten years (since 1999 to be exact).  In the summer of 2008 I made the switch from Windows to a Mac but I had to hang onto Windows XP for a couple applications for which I just couldn’t find Mac equivalents.  One of these two applications was Beyond Compare for which I finally found a suitable replacement in DeltaWalker.  The other was Quicken.  Quicken for Mac does exist but every review I’ve ever read about it is completely unfavorable.  I’ve never seen a product more universally panned.  It hasn’t been updated since version 2007 and the first proposed update since (Quicken Financial Life) had a fraction of the features of its Windows counterpart.  That initiative was scrapped by Intuit (generally read sentiments being that it was pretty terrible) and has since been tasked to a company Intuit recently purchased called Mint.com.  That product at the time of this writing is called Quicken Essentials for Mac (the title really a euphemism meaning fewer features for the same price).  It’s still pretty lame in comparison to its Windows counterpart, so much that I’m not willing to spend $60 on it only to likely have to request a refund (since I can’t seem to get a trial version).

So after having the Mac for about a year and a half I went on the search once again for a suitable Quicken replacement for the Mac.  There were more players than I had originally thought but most of them did not have a comparable feature set to Quicken.  After doing some research I ended up settling on four possible replacements; iBank, GnuCash, Moneywell, and Moneydance.  What I found is that I experienced such poor performance on many of the replacement solutions I was unable to test most of these “feature by feature”.  All of the other applications had problems of varying degree importing my Quicken data as well.  Instead this is more of a review of Moneydance than anything else.  For more extensive reviews on multiple personal finance products click here.

(I’ve added an addendum review to include a short review on a Mac personal finance application called SEE Fiance after it was recommended in a comment below by Robert Tell.  I’ve also added a follow up review on iBank 4.)

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