Week 2 with the Mac Mini: Personal finance software

Mac Mini (late 2012 version)The second week with the Mac Mini has passed, and things are going along quite well.

The most noteworthy Mac related items done this week:

Finding new personal finance software

I had a tough time deciding which personal finance software program to use to replace GnuCash, which I’d been using for years on Linux. While GnuCash runs on OS X, its Mac version is pretty awful. For starters, it doesn’t keep with the OS X UI, plus some windows won’t close when their close buttons are pressed. There’s also a lack of ability to easily export its files to a common finance software file format (such as QIF or CSV), meaning I’d have to start over from scratch with any new program. On top of all that, GnuCash even prevented me from shutting the Mac down if I didn’t quit GnuCash first. Despite being cross-platform and open-source, ironically GnuCash seems to be a more locked-down, poorer choice than proprietary alternatives. Thus, my search for an alternative program.

My finance program needs consist of: balancing my checking, savings, and credit card accounts (no obscure or complicated investments); tracking my spending; and entering in future spending needs. For full fledged budgeting, I use a separate spreadsheet.

Quicken was my first choice, as I’d been using it for years back on my OS 9 days. However, it seems Intuit (Quicken’s maker) hasn’t bothered to keep its Mac version updated like its Windows versions, instead releasing a stripped-down version called “Quicken Essentials.” Given it has rather strongly negative reviews online, I decided to look at other programs. I considered Mint.com (owned by Intuit), but it didn’t sound like it’d allow me to enter much (if any) of my own data. As I already can access my bank accounts online, it also sounded a bit redundant.

After looking at Checkbook, Checkbook Pro, Moneydance, SEE Finance, and iBank, I decided to go with Jumsoft’s “Money” program. Its interface seems adequately intuitive (though I dislike that all the software choices don’t let one just click in the register directly and enter data, like GnuCash or the old-school Quicken does); it has sufficient features; Money supports exporting/importing QIF files; finally, Money is one of the cheaper options (if $39 can be called “cheap”), versus $50 or $60 for Moneydance and iBank respectively.

Upgrading the Mini’s RAM

I also wanted to upgrade the Mini’s RAM from the stock 4GB to 8GB. Apple would’ve charged way too much for this, so I ordered my own RAM from Amazon. It arrived fairly quickly (on Friday night). Upgrading the Mini’s RAM is easy, as the bottom twists off, allowing access to the memory slots. The new upgraded RAM’s working smoothly.

I’ll have more to say about my Mac Mini experiences in the future…

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