Several online banks allow you to export your financial data as a Quicken Interchange Format file. Standard text editors and spreadsheet software cannot read QIF files unless you use a format converter. If you need to make edits to your statements, such as by adding comments and categories, it's best to use accounting software. This type of application can also import multiple QIF files in case you need to merge business financial data coming from different sources.
Intuit created the QIF format for use in its Quicken software. Although Intuit considers QIF an outdated format, recent versions of Quicken still allow you to import QIF files to some types of accounts, including cash, asset and liability accounts. You can also choose which elements of the QIF file to include, such as the transactions and category list.
Microsoft Money Plus Sunset is also capable of importing QIF files. Although it lacks online features and is no longer supported by Microsoft, the software is free of charge with no time limits. GnuCash is a free, open-source program that supports QIF files and is available on multiple platforms including Mac OS X, Linux and Android.
You Need A Budget and Moneydance are competitive paid alternatives to Quicken that can also import QIF files. YNAB focuses more on budgeting, while Moneydance offers wide support for various online institutions. These apps can sync with mobile devices as well so you can manage your accounting on the go.
Web-based accounting software like Xero and Kashoo work within your Web browser so you can do your accounting and import QIF files using any computer with an Internet connection. Although you have to pay a monthly subscription, you can try these online services for free.
Anyone sticking to a budget and wanting to know where their money is going most likely uses financial software. In fact, I've rarely seen someone be successful with their money without using some type of software tool to help (even if it's just Excel).
Often this means Quicken. But Quicken isn’t the only game in town. In fact, over the last several years we've seen some struggles with Quicken (especially Quicken for Mac), and other awesome tools come onto the market.
In this article, we look at several Quicken alternatives that offer interesting features and can cost less.
Quicken Alternatives Video
Personal Capital is a focused on investment management rather than budgeting. It does include budgeting, net worth and a great looking dashboard of your financial life.
But its budgeting feature isn’t as strong as the above three apps.
If you are wanting to view your investments and understand how well they are performing, this is where Personal Capital shines. You can sign up for free and sync your investment accounts. Or sync all accounts if you want to see your net worth.
Personal Capital has strong analysis tools and helps you discover hidden fees in your investments. You’ll be able to look at various retirement scenarios and understand if you are on track or not.
Personal Capital can manage your money and provide access to financial advisors for a 0.89% fee up to the first $1 million. There after, the fee continues dropping to 0.49% once you are over $10 million.
Personal Capital’s app is available via web and mobile.
Mint is made by the same company that created Quicken - Intuit.
Mint comes in two forms - website and mobile app. It’s an incredibly simple app to use. Your monthly spending and income are front and center when you log in. This lets you know right away if you are spending more than you should.
To setup a budget, you’ll want to sync your accounts. Once you’ve synced various accounts with Mint, it will begin pulling in transactions from these accounts.
All transactions are located in one place. Mint does a good job of sorting your transactions into categories. You’ll want to go in periodically and tweak them in case something has gone into an incorrect category.
With your accounts synced and transactions categorized, you can begin setting budgets on broad categories. Next time you log in, you’ll see each category with color codes, letting you know if you’ve gone over your budget and by how much.
You’ll find that Mint is very easy to use and reliable. It’s also free.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
YNAB stands for You Need A Budget. Budgeting is it all YNAB does. It’s also very good at it. YNAB makes you give every dollar a job. This means you assign each dollar of income to a category, virtually cutting out any chance that you’ll spend money spontaneously.
Categories are setup to group expenses. If you happen to go over in one category, you can take from another category to cover the difference.
Eventually, the goal with YNAB is that you are living off of the previous month’s income. The way you get there is through consistent use of YNAB and making sure you follow its rules, which is difficult not to do.
YNAB can be installed as a desktop app on Windows or Mac, mobile app on Android or iPhone or simply run it from the web. It offers a 34-day trial and thereafter will cost $83.99/yr. YNAB is able to justify this cost through the amount you’ll save by using the software.
The following is from their website, “On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year! Pretty solid return on investment.”
EveryDollar is the budgeting app created by Dave Ramsey’s company. Similar to YNAB, EveryDollar follows the zero-sum budgeting concept, which is the same as “give every dollar a job”.
EveryDollar has free and paid versions. The paid version has a 15-day trial and cost $99/yr. Without the paid version, you can’t sync your accounts, which means you’ll have to manually enter in every transaction. The paid version pulls them in automatically.
If you are familiar with Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps system, EveryDollar follows them. You’ll be able to automatically see which step you are on.
EveryDollar focuses on budgeting. That’s all it does. If you follow the Baby Steps and want a way to track them through a budgeting app, EveryDollar is for you.
EveryDollar is available online and on mobile.
NewRetirement is a retirement planning service with some great free tools for beginners. You can set up a basic retirement plan or for a small monthly fee upgrade to more robust calculators.
NewRetirement also allows you to run simulations and play with variables like how long you expect to live, the effects of runaway inflation, unforeseen medical expenses and other black swans.
You can also link your current bank and investment accounts to get instant updates on your readiness for retirement. Updating your plan when circumstances change is easy.
NewRetirement’s tool is different from other retirement calculators or budgeting apps in several ways. The NewRetirement Planner tool can help you compare traditional IRAs to Roth and the cost of conversion as well as the pros and cons of making annuities part of your retirement income.
Quicken has been around for a while and use to be one of the only financial management app worth using.
With the rise of so many fintechs offering great alternatives, Quicken is no longer king of the hill.
For those who are focused on budgeting, Mint, YNAB and EveryDollar are great apps. Of those, Mint is free and EveryDollar offers a free option. Although, you’ll likely want to pay for the upgrade to avoid manually entering in all of your transactions.
While Personal Capital isn’t as strong on the budgeting side, it makes up for it in investment analysis.
Linking your accounts doesn’t cost anything and you’ll have all of Personal Capital’s investment tools at your disposal.