If you're looking to replace Quicken, you're in the right place.
For years, Quicken was the name in personal finance software.
But let's accept reality – Quicken is often broken. It doesn't sync your accounts problem, you have password problems, screens that should appear are blank, and it's just not a great experience. Sometimes it feels like they're just getting you to buy the newer version, right?
Quicken was once the most popular and powerful personal finance management software out there.
But Quicken isn't what it used to be. It's hard to innovate a platform built in 1983. Back then, cell phones were bricks (if you could afford one) and apps were what you ordered at a restaurant.
Quicken has faced a lot of technical issues and its support is meh at best. (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.
If you're tired of Quicken, its support and sync issues, and want a suitable free alternative or replacement – we have some options.
Here are some of the best Quicken alternatives available:
Our Best Picks
11 Best Quicken Alternatives:
- Personal Capital – free financial dashboard and wealth planner
- Tiller – spreadsheet automation to bring it in house
- You Need a Budget – best in class budgeting tool & mindset
- Mint – ad-supported budgeting tool
- Status Money – compare your situation with your peers
- CountAbout – can import data from Quicken
- MoneyDance – not cloud-based
- EveryDollar – follows Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps
- GoodBudget – follows envelope budgeting method
- GnuCash – open-source and free
- DollarBird – date & calendar based budgeting
If you're more interested how your investment account is performing and less interested in just knowing how much you're spending on groceries, Personal Capital is a great Quicken alternative (but it'll also pull your credit card transactions so you will know how much you spent on groceries if you want!).
Personal Capital is a full-featured, free, personal finance management tool that focuses on helping you with investing.
It has a powerful mobile app (also means it's a cloud-based service) that replicates the web experience. They're free because some users pay them for their wealth management services (optional). They are not stuffed with advertisements like some other free tools. You can read my full review of Personal Capital.
Why it is a good alternative to Quicken: It's better than Quicken because it's updated, has a rich set of tools for investment and retirement, and it has a budget and expense tracking component. It's a website and not a software application, there's no software to download and patch or update (ugh) – that's all done automatically.
I am a fan of their retirement planner, a tool that helps you project your future financial needs and whether you'll get there. It's worth checking out.
One other vote of confidence for this Quicken replacement 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 financial systems that are top notch (the rest of the leadership team is very impressive in their own right!).
What could be better? The budget and expense tracking are good but it's not as old as Quicken, so it's not as developed as Quicken. I don't find it to be a negative because it works for me, but people with really complicated budgets may find it limiting.
Here's a brief over view video of Personal Capital's cash flow and budgeting tools:
(since you access it with a browser, it is compatible with Mac OS!)
People love spreadsheets.
You can customize it, tweak it, and get it tailored to exactly what you need. The only downside to spreadsheets is how you need to pull the data yourself… and who really wants to do that? Quicken was great back in the day when there weren't nearly as many sync issues because it pulled the data for you.
There's a solution:
Welcome Tiller – a $4.92 a month service (after a free 30 day trial) – that pulls your data for you and puts it into a Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel document.
You can start with one of their free templates or build your own, but after the initial work you'll have a fully automated spreadsheet tailored to what you need. You can use this to track your net worth, set a budget, or anything else you can imagine. (see our review of Tiller)
Why it is better than Quicken: Quicken is now cloud-based so if you want to avoid putting your data into the cloud, going with a spreadsheet is your best option. Tiller makes it possible for you to get automation AND keep your data locally.
Think of it like Mint with a personality and a philosophy.
YNAB's philosophy revolves around four rules:
- Give Every Dollar a Job
- Embrace Your True Expenses
- Roll With The Punches
- Age Your Money
Those four pillars form the foundation for a budgeting app that has helped many people transform their financial lives.
If you're looking to transition to a financial 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:
Why it is better than Quicken: Quicken only tracks your budget, YNAB does that AND helps you build a budget that meets the demands of your life and your savings needs. If you want to change the way you budget, while still tracking it, YNAB is your solution.
YNAB is not an entire personal finance management suite – it focuses on budgeting and only budgeting. You won't get investment tools, retirement planning, or wealth management. It's strictly about building, maintaining, and transitioning into the budget you want.
Intuit acquired them in 2010 and that's the reason why they shuttered Quicken Online shortly thereafter.
Later, Intuit sold Quicken to H.I.G. Capital and that's when you knew the end was near!
Why it is a good alternative to Quicken: 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, which I think you'll find is a huge limitation as you get older. 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 entirely on expense tracking, Mint is a good Quicken alternative. It, like Personal Capital, is cloud-based so there's no software to download, patch, or update. If you have investments and want to manage those, Mint will not be able to adequately fulfill your needs.
5. Status Money
It offers all of the tracking functionality of these other tools, will always be free, but adds the comparison component so you can see how you are performing against your peers and against the National Average.
Your peer groups are set by your age range, income range, location (location type), credit score range, and housing status (own, rent). This ensures you are getting a true apples to apples comparison and you aren't compared with someone in another age group, different cost of living, or life phase.
You can also build custom groups too if you feel you're in a special situation not captured by basic demographic information.
Like Quicken, CountAbout isn't free but it costs $9.99 for the Basic subscription and $39.99 for Premium subscription. The Premium subscription includes automatic transaction download. A subscription model means you have complete data privacy and you won't get annoying ads like with Mint.
Why is it a good alternative to Quicken? CountAbout has a lot of similar features to Quicken’s: split transactions, recurring transactions, attachments, budgeting and more.
CountAbout is web-based, with multi-factor account security, so you don't have to download a program onto your computer, and there's no need to deal with unwieldy syncing issues – all you need is a web browser. And with CountAbout’s iOS and Android apps, your financial information is always at your fingertips.
Check out the key features (reminds me a lot of Quicken):
- Imports data from Quicken and Mint
- Thousands of financial institutions
- Multi-factor login protection
- Android and iOS 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 only store them on your computer. You can enter transactions manually if you didn't want to link your accounts.
MoneyDance looks and feels like a checkbook, with the check register for transactions, but has charts and tables for reporting. It does budgeting but can also track your investments as well, albeit not as feature rich as others.
MoneyDance is free to download and try but it costs $49.99. The free version has all the features as the paid version. The free version's limitation is that you can only enter 100 manual transactions.
Many folks swear by his approach and EveryDollar is built with that in mind. His approach takes into account human psychology, rather than relying solely on math, and explains why it is so effective. It also explains why ideas like the debt snowball work so well, we need to work with our biases and tendences if we hope to succeed. EveryDollar is a budgeting tool affiliated with Dave Ramsey's group, the Lampo Group.
Much like YNAB, it's a budgeting tool that uses the principles of zero-based budgeting.
In zero-based budgeting, you assign every dollar to a category (or job, in YNAB parlance). 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 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 big time saver; 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.
It offers a lot of the functionality of Quicken like splitting transactions, categorizing transactions, managing multiple accounts, schedule transactions, and reporting that includes all kinds of charts and reports (balance sheet, P&L, portfolio valuation, etc).
The big benefit is that it does budgeting as well as investments. It's not strictly a budgeting tool.
Lastly, it offers QIF importing, so you can import your Quicken files, plus OFX (Open Financial Exchange) protocol. So you can pull in your data if your bank offers you the ability to export transactions.
The innovation they bring to the table is the idea of calendar-based money management. You can collaborate with other people (partner, family, or a team) to manage a team budget, though the collaborative piece requires the Pro version ($39.99 / year).
One of these will make a fine replacement for Quicken.
Intuit created Quicken Online to try to compete with Mint. Near the end of 2009, they gave up and acquired Mint.
Afterward, they opted to shut down Quicken Online and sold the entire Quicken unit to H.I.G. Capital in 2016. Quicken Online no longer exists.
Quicken does have an online experience, something they've only recently created, but it's not free and it's playing catch up.
Why is budgeting so important?
A lot of folks start using Quicken to help them maintain a budget. As the tool started having problems, you may be tempted to quit altogether. Don't!
We wanted to briefly discuss why budgeting, whether with Quicken or one of these other alternatives, is a good idea.
1. Why do you believe it is important for individuals to budget?With credit card spending superseding cash spending as the predominant form of payment, it’s especially important for people to budget because it’s tougher to experience the “slim wallet feel” of spending. Instead, the impact of spending hits all at once on each credit card statement. That means overspending is far more likely – and far more costly given that credit card interest rates are on the rise again.
2. Many folks think of budgeting as tracking what you've spent, how do forecasting and planning fit into budgeting?
Most people spend more on fixed expenses each month than on variable expenses. Fixed expenses are your mortgage or rent, utility bills, phone and internet bills, daycare expenses, etc. The largest variable expenses are typically food and transportation. Planning a month or two ahead will not only help you keep track of what you have already spent, but it will give you an idea of what you can spend moving ahead. It’s also important for people who enjoy taking a vacation or who want to make a large purchase in the future. Planning ahead can help an individual figure out how much disposable income should be saved each month.
3. Personally, how do you budget and how has that changed over the years?
I use Microsoft Excel and I plan a quarterly budget which, at this point, revolves around my childcare expenses. But prior to having children I used to budget out one month in advance so that I could be sure to allocate a certain amount to savings. I find it easiest to put together a simple balance sheet listing when paychecks come in and when various bills or direct debits will come due.
4. If you were advising a student or recent graduate on budgeting, how would you suggest they get started?
First of all, I’d recommend calling their credit card company to place a hard cap on their spending limit (preferably well below the overall card limit) so they do not exceed a fixed amount of spending or incur penalties for exceeding their card limit. Once that preventative step is taken, the rest involves keeping track of due dates for bills and deposit dates for paychecks. I would recommend just looking at the current month at first and then eventually expanding out to the month ahead as well. Saving is far less important for students since their income will rise quite a bit after graduation, but falling into default on their personal debt can haunt them for years.