For many people, the name Quicken doesn't mean much. Maybe they recognize the name on the Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some even recognize it as the personal finance product that was launched in 1983, when Bill Gates famously (mis)predicted that computers would only ever need more than 640K of memory. Some might be familiar with the money management tool itself.
At its peak, Quicken was the most popular and most powerful personal finance management product available. Intuit, now better known as the creator of TurboTax, was built on the back of Quicken's popularity.
The reality is that Quicken isn't what it used to be. It's hard to innovate on a platform first built in 1983. Back then, cell phones were bricks and apps were what you ordered at a restaurant. While it has been re-written and re-built, it's faced all sorts of technical issues and its standing has eroded. (if you own Quicken for Mac, you know this headache first hand!)
In 2010, Intuit acquired Mint for $170 million. In 2016, Intuit sold Quicken to private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. Do the math. 🙂
If you're tired of Quicken and want to find a suitable free alternative or replacement, we have some options.
Here are some of the best Quicken alternatives available:
Best of the Best
The Quicken Alternatives:
Personal Capital is a full-featured, and free, personal finance management tool that focuses on helping you with investing. They even have a powerful mobile app that replicates the web experience. They're free because you can have them manage your wealth too but that's not required. You can see a full review of Personal Capital.
It's better than Quicken because it's frequently updated (there's no software to download and patch or update)has a rich set of tools for investment and retirement, plus it adds a budget and expense tracking component too. The budget and expense tracking are adequate, it isn't as mature as Quicken, but it works well.
One other vote of confidence for this Quicken killer is their CEO – Bill Harris. He was formerly the CEO of Intuit and PayPal. You know he has the leadership skills to dominate in this space and the ability to lead teams to build systems that are top notch (the rest of the leadership team is very impressive in their own right!).
Here's a brief explainer video from Bill Harris:
(since you access it with a browser, it is compatible with Mac OS!)
YNAB's philosophy revolves around four rules – Give Every Dollar a Job, Embrace Your True Expenses, Roll With The Punches, and Age Your Money. You can read more about them on the YNAB website but those four pillars form the foundation for a budgeting app that has helped many people. If you're looking to transition to a tool that will help you (as in help you make the change, not just record expenses), you should take a look at YNAB.
YNAB made a video showcasing the newest version plus a discussion on their philosophy:
Mint is free and very powerful on the budgeting and expense tracking side. They do not have much to help you with investment and retirement savings. The goal of Mint was always to be a budgeting app and with that in mind, they do a very good job.
If you are sick of Quicken and focus primarily on expense tracking, Mint is a good Quicken alternative. It, like Personal Capital, is cloud-based so there's no software to download, patch, and update. If you have investments and need that component too, Mint will not be able to adequately fulfill your needs.
It's not free (neither is Quicken) but costs a mere $9.99 for the Basic and $39.99 for Premium (which includes automatic transaction download). This also means you won't get annoying ads like you do with Mint.
Check out the key features (reminds me a lot of Quicken):
- Imports data from Quicken and Mint
- 12,500+ financial institutions (including credit cards)
- Multi-factor login protection
- Android and iOS mobile apps
- Category customization (add, delete, rename)
- Tags (add, delete, rename)
- Reporting for Account balances
- Reporting for Category activity
- Reporting for Tag activity
- Report exporting
- Individual Account QIF importing
- Running register balances
- Account reconciliation
- Graphs for Income & Spending
- Recurring transactions
- Investment balances by Institution
- Memorized transactions
- Split transactions
- Description renaming
You can still link your accounts online, so they pull your transactions in automatically, but they don't store them anywhere except locally. You can always enter transactions manually, in case you were unsure about how safe those links are.
Much like YNAB, it's a budgeting tool that uses the principles of zero-based budgeting. Every dollar is assigned a role (given a job, in YNAB parlance) and nothing is left to chance. It's a level of rigor that can be refreshing or restricting, depending on your personality. The app itself is beautiful, available on your smartphone, and you there is both a free and paid version. The paid version costs $99 a year.
(paid version offers phone support and automated transaction importing… which is a pretty big deal; otherwise, you must manually enter the data)
Here's a tutorial video on how to build a budget:
GoodBudget is a free budgeting app based on the envelope budgeting method. Envelope budgeting is when you set aside a prescribed amount for each category of spending, then spend it down each month. It's one of the most popular money management techniques in personal finance. The envelope refers to the manual method of managing these types of budgets where you put the money into an envelope. When you run out of money, you either borrow cash from another envelope or you make do.
GoodBudget adds technology to the mix and will synch up bank accounts to help track your income and your spending. You set the amount for each category and then watch as your spending nears the limit each month. It's available for both iOS and Android phones.
Dollarbird is another personal finance app with an eye towards collaboration and a monthly calendar. You synchronize your accounts (banking, brokerage, and credit cards) with Dollarbird and they build a schedule of future income and expenditures to help with planning. Dollarbird also offers a 5-year financial plan that lets you establish longer-term financial goals and track your performance against them.
One of these will make a fine replacement for Quicken.
If you came here looking for business solutions, for double-entry accounting, payroll, or some other back-office software package, none of the options on the list will help. These are all personal software tools because Quicken is the personal finance money management tool. You may have it confused with QuickBooks. QuickBooks is still owned by Intuit and is accounting software for small to mid-sized business.
If you need a Quickbooks alternative, Xero is often lauded as one of the best cloud accounting software packages. They have a Quickbooks conversion tool, payroll included for free, unlimited users and used by over a million users. They even have a 30-day trial to see if it works well for you.