Ever since I switched back to the Mac, I’ve been trying to find the “right” financial management software to replace Microsoft Money 2000.
I’ve tried Quicken For Mac, iBank, Cha-Ching, Moneydance and Horizon. They all fell short in some aspect of what I needed. Either they were missing scheduled payments, balance forecasting, or just had a terrible user experience. I thought I was going to have to run Windows XP in a Virtual Machine so my wife and I could track our finances forever and it didn’t feel right.
Fast forward to mid 2008 and I’m listening to the MacSB podcast and they had an episode titled “Battling Big Iron Software Companies as a Micro ISV” where the host “Scotty” interviewed Kevin Hoctor of No Thirst Software about his relatively new product MoneyWell. I started researching the product to see if maybe, just maybe, I could finally stop booting Windows on my Mac.
It turns out, by trying to find an exact replica of MS Money, I was looking for the wrong thing. MoneyWell takes an electronic approach to an old way of managing your money: the envelope system. To do this, MoneyWell uses “buckets” for allocating income to spend. As you spend money, you assign those expenditures to a particular bucket. The amount available to that bucket goes down as you spend it until there’s nothing left to spend. If you go over the amount you’ve allocated for that bucket, and you don’t want to go into debt, you have to pull money from another bucket to cover your overage. In that way, you are somewhat forced to live within your means. It’s this approach to money management that Maggie and I had actually been looking for.
I was going to write a full review of MoneyWell and its use, but I’ll leave usage to the very excellent video tutorials provided by No Thirst. If after watching those videos, you still have questions, then I suggest you join the most excellent user group on Google Groups and ask your questions. One thing I love about the user forum is that not only are people talking about how to use MoneyWell specifically, but how to go about managing their finances.
Something that really sets No Thirst Software apart is the amazing level of customer service Kevin provides. I can not emphasize this enough. While several customers, including myself, try and help those that have questions on the Google Group, Kevin generally gets to them faster. He provides the most amazing enthusiasm for supporting his software and trying to solve user’s problems. I have never seen the care and time spent providing such public support from any other developer.
As for my review, I’ll say that MoneyWell works really, really well for Maggie and I and gives us a very accurate picture of how much money we have left to spend on particular things. It also shows us what we’re not going to get when we overspend elsewhere ( such as eating out, which is our Achilles Heal ).
If you’ve been looking for a finances tracking application for the Mac, I’d very much recommend you check out MoneyWell for yourself.