Five Free Alternatives to Quicken

Category: Finance

For years, I've been using Quicken to manage my personal finances, balance the checkbook, and track expenses against my budget goals. I'd also like to manage my investments, but that requires Quicken Premier, which goes for $89. Are there any free Quicken software alternatives that can do it all?

Free Personal Finance Software

The personal finance software market is dominated by Intuit's Quicken. Granted, Quicken has been around for years, and millions of people find it useful for managing their money, paying bills, and tracking investment accounts. It's easy to use, and has tons of features. Quicken is so popular, it has become the #2 selling software title of all time. (TurboTax, also from Intuit, tops the list.) But with a list price of $69 for the basic version, and $89 for the Premier version (which includes investment and tax time features), it's not cheap.

So naturally, many people are looking for free alternatives to Quicken. And aside from the price tag concerns, many Mac users are looking for a Quicken replacement, because it won't run on the latest Mac OS X "Lion" operating system. Fortunately, there are several free Quicken alternatives for Windows, Mac and even Linux users. Here are five free personal finance software titles for your consideration.
Free Quicken Alternatives

Mint.com is a free online service that aggregates data from all of your financial accounts in one convenient interface - that is, all of your financial accounts that provide online access. Mint can connect to thousands of checking, savings, credit card, loan, investment, and other financial accounts, downloading your data and presenting it in the Mint interface. You can also add entries to checking accounts manually, and perform budgeting operations. Mint is free, and supported by lead-generation revenue. Based on its knowledge of your financial interests, Mint presents ads for targeted financial services that may interest you. Intuit Corp., maker of Quicken, acquired Mint in 2009.

GnuCash.org is the home of GnuCash, a free personal finance and small business accounting package. Versions of this open source software are available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix flavors. GnuCash offers double-entry bookkeeping, yet is so simple to use that no accounting training is required. It also handles stock, bond, and mutual fund accounts. It prints checks and supports online stock and mutual fund quotes. GnuCash's small business functions include invoicing, AR/AP, expense vouchers, depreciation, export to TXF format for tax preparation software, and setup of sales tax tables. However, GnuCash does not do inventory management, payroll, or point-of-sale functions.

AceMoney Lite by MechCAD is a personal finance and budgeting program. Using AceMoney Lite, you can easily organize and track your spending, create budgets, track investment performance, set up payment reminders, create reports complete with pie charts, and more - for free. AceMoney Lite is limited to two accounts (i. e., yours and spouse), but many users won't need any more.

Grisbi (French slang for "stash") is another open source, cross-platform personal finance program. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac computers. Grisbi can manage multiple accounts, handles many currencies, and will accommodate more than one user. Grisbi is suitable for association accounting, unless the association needs double-entry bookkeeping. Features include a graphical user interface, totally customizable and printable reports, scheduled transactions, importing of OFX, QIF, GnuCash, and CSV file formats, exporting of QIF and CSV formats, and multi-currency transaction support.

Some people roll their own personal finance programs, like the Get Rich Slowly Budget Workbook v2.0. This is a sophisticated Microsoft Excel workbook created by Stephen Popick, an economist and statistician. Actually, you get two budget workbooks - one for you and another for a spouse. Also included is a retirement planning module, and a mortgage calculator. If you already have the Excel software, you can can download this free spreadsheet and use it to manage your budget.

Do you use or recommend any of these free Quicken alternatives? Or do you have another one to suggest? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Posted by on 8 Dec 2011


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Most recent comments on "Five Free Alternatives to Quicken"

(See all 25 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

karen e
08 Dec 2011

I looked into this recently when I had to reformat a hard disk and didn't want to buy new Quicken nor reinstall the old out-dated version. But I wanted to keep the history. In reading user reviews of all of these (I think) they all seemed to say that while they work well, they don't handle imported Quicken history, specifically split transactions. Does anyone know of any freeware that can import historical split transactions without turning the whole thing to gobbledygook?


Posted by:

Dee
08 Dec 2011

Bob, are there any solid free Quicken alternatives that are small business-oriented? This article seemed to focus on personal finance options, though it appeared Gnucash might fill the needs of small business. Others worth considering?


Posted by:

Jime Gansle
08 Dec 2011

I've been using Moneydance now for some time, after leaving Quicken. Meets my needs well.


Posted by:

BillK
08 Dec 2011

I use Microsoft Money. No longer supported, so the online facilities don't work, but excellent stand-alone money manager.

The Microsoft Money Plus Sunset versions are replacements for expired versions of Microsoft Money Essentials, Deluxe, Premium and Home and Business.
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2118008


Posted by:

faye
08 Dec 2011

Friend told me that if you read the fine print with Mint.com you are giving Power of Attorney to the organization. Is this true?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sort of, but it's nothing evil. It's a limited power of attorney granting them permission to log in to your financial web sites and download your account information.


Posted by:

Vicki
08 Dec 2011

I use AceMoney and definitely recommend it. I do not use the Lite version. The premium version is only $30 on sale right now and I think the full price is $35. And it doesn't use so much of your computer's resources like QuickBooks does. The only feature of QuickBooks that I miss is the classes.


Posted by:

chirodoc
08 Dec 2011

Hi Bob These look worthwhile, but I need a program that does payroll (currently using Quickbooks). Are there any free or reasonably priced alternatives that you could recommend?

PS I got on the Internet Tourbus sometime in the mid-90's, but never thought of posting a question until now...must be the new format.


Posted by:

Larry Cotton
09 Dec 2011

I've been using http://waveaccounting.com/ and like it. It can login to many banks (not mine) and import and has business features, invoicing, etc.


Posted by:

olamoree
09 Dec 2011

Good recommendations... BUT, to migrate from Quicken to "something else" would require the ability to import my most recent data from Quicken to The New Guy On The Block... so what do you recommend that He be? Otherwise, it is a question of the dreaded, "starting over" and "learning a new program".. which, like AOHELL captures the mind and activity of the user.


Posted by:

Stan Duncan
09 Dec 2011

I have been a user of Mint for about two years now and it is a terrible program. It has lots of whistles and bells but a good number of them do not work. And if you write to their tech support you get boilerplate responses by people who do not read your requests. the most common response that I have received, regardless the question, is "sorry for the inconvenience, but our engineers are working on it." I've received that answer for nearly every question for two years with no end in sight. Once I receivEd a popup saying there was a problem and I should write [blank] email for more information. I did so and spent the next three months corresponding with someone whose name was "jeffrey" who kept telling me the "my" issue had been resolve, but absolutely refused to admit that he had no idea what the problem was. It was Twilight-Zone-ish. One famous problem with the program (frequently complained about in the forums) is the "Auto-categorization" feature. That is, when a transaction comes in from the bank and the merchant's name is left off or is unusual, Mint will pull something of similar price at random from one of the legitimate transactions of the last three or four months and apply it to the unknown transaction. It is a nightmare. I have to watch each day's debit card purchases to make sure that it does not rename gas for groceries or books for wine. And Mint, even though it invented the feature, incredibly tells us that it has no idea about how to turn it off. But with each complaint (and the forums are full of them), the response always is that the engineers are working on it.
Right now I'm kind of stuck with Mint because I have been with it for so long and my transaction history is with them. However, slowly I am putting down all of my transactions for the last couple of years and putting them in an excel spreadsheet. And eventually I'll move on, but I waited too long to get fed up and move, so it isn't easy.

My hunch is that the reason they care so little about their users is that we are not the real customers. Their customers are the banks that advertise with them. Unless a high percentage of their users finally throw in the towel and have an impact on their advertising revenue, they will never change.


Posted by:

Max
09 Dec 2011

I'm using https://www.inexfinance.com/ and it's a fair alternative to Quicken. It's a web based personal finance program that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. Apart from the basic expense tracking and budgeting tools, it allows to create personal events and set reminders that can be synced with my Google calendar as well.


Posted by:

Steve
10 Dec 2011

Chirodoc.

A good alternative at a very reasonable price is Medlin at Medlin.com I think it's like shareware. I use it in my CPA Practice.


Posted by:

Laurence
10 Dec 2011

Hi, I have used for several years in my small business Easy Cash Manager from Moor Computer Productions, fast simple and free.

http://www.moor-software.com/0.php?page=easy-cash-manager


Posted by:

Kit Kimes
10 Dec 2011

I'm still using Quicken 98 and have seen no reason to update it. It works fine for checking, savings and my investments including 401ks. If I can get that many years out of a program, I'm sure a person could justify spending $90 for the latest version.


Posted by:

Sunil Goel
22 Dec 2011

I partially agree with Kit Times. I am also using quicken for windows for several years and it ideally suits my personal accounting, which by the way includes several bank accounts, credit card and investments (stocks & mutual funds). My only wish is to get that working in Linux, to which I plan to move. Some of the the later versions of quicken work in Linux on wine, but it is frankly too costly in India and also too tedious to convert all the old data. Any ideas on this are welcome with thanks.


Posted by:

SarahM
20 Nov 2012

I cannot say that I have used any other program except quicken in the past however, would like to throw a thought out. As we are coming to the end of the year, couldn't you simply balance out your accounts in the current program effective and then switch beginning the new year with just a carried balance. Most of the programs do give you a way to save data, put a copy of it on a flash drive and label with the years. I am exploring these new methods and as a personal finance major, this is how I plan to switch when I find a program I choose to use.


Posted by:

Dave
07 Jan 2013

I believe Quicken is getting to big for its britches. They have made too many mistakes just in my association with them. I cancelled my Quicken Bill Pay. Let me know of another "good" one I can check out.


Posted by:

Steve
01 Jul 2013

I found a simple Excel spreadsheet on-line at visualbankbook.com Supports QIF download directly into an Excel spreadsheet including automatic categorization and renaming. Even imports all your existing Quicken data. So far its free, looks like QFX/OFX support is coming in the future. Nice if you're just looking to maintain an Electronic register of transactions although it also has some basic Income and Expense analysis in pivot charts too.


Posted by:

Jim Michaels
17 Mar 2014

I use KmyMoney in both Linux and Windows. You can import Quicken files and your bank info. It has a much nicer user interface (UI) and is more a lot more customizable. The bonus, it's FREE.


Posted by:

Rhonda Lea Fries
22 Apr 2014

New email client for Windows:
http://inky.com/

I haven't tried it yet, but if it works as advertised, it's an excellent choice.


There's more reader feedback... See all 25 comments for this article.

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