Leaving Quicken Behind

Toward the end of last year, I finally got completely fed up with Quicken. It had a number of bugs that Intuit never thought important enough to fix, and we lost data from Quicken more than once. (In all fairness, the data loss wasn’t entirely Intuit’s fault, but once it was done, it became much easier to entertain alternatives.)

After reading about a number of packages, and trying a few out, I settled on Moneydance, a Java-based package that’s available for a number of platforms, Mac OS X among them. Because of its Java roots, its UI doesn’t always look quite as polished as some, and certain operations are a bit slow. In spite of that, however, I’ve been delighted with it. Contributing factors to my satisfaction:

  1. For my inner geek, it has a Python plugin that allows you to access all your financial data from your own scripts. Want to have your bank balance text messaged to your cell phone daily so you can keep close tabs on how much you have remaining to spend? It’s pretty easy to write such a module with the scripting support.
  2. A platform neutral file format means you can work on your finances on any of the supported platforms, and that using UNIX copy commands won’t corrupt your data. (Yes, this was how I lost our Quicken data one time — using cp left behind the resource forks, and made the files unusable.)
  3. It’s only $29.95.
  4. Best of all, they have answered every email I’ve ever sent completely, promptly, and courteously. This level of support is unheard of from most large software vendors, and I love it. It’s great to be able to say “Hey, I encountered this bug” and get back a “Sorry about that, we’ve fixed it now, go grab the latest preview build” message, often within 12 hours.

I’ve no affiliation with the Moneydance folks, I’m just a very happy customer. If you’re looking for a good financial management package, I highly recommend it.