Managing Money on a Mac


My wife and I bought our first copy of Quicken in 1995, right after we got married. Due to the fluctuations in income that a comes with being a missionary, we needed something to help us stick to a budget. Using Quicken saved us from a lot of headaches that young marrieds experience when they blend their two distinct financial lives into one.

We went from Quicken 3 to Quicken 2003, to Quicken 2006. I liked the program less each time we upgraded. Entering in the figures for the budget was something that my wife understood, but it left me scratching my head because it was so anti-intuitive. Ironic, since 

Quicken is a product of Intuit.

Then we made the move from Windows to Mac. We were free from viruses and ugly user interfaces. My wife quit asking me to help her figure out things on her computer after three weeks. After a few months, she declared that she was never going back to Windows. I, however, was stuck with running a copy of Windows on my Mac so we could run two programs: Donor Manager and Quicken.

I began to loathe Quicken because it meant booting into Windows...which meant completely bogging down my laptop. Running Windows slowed my computer down so much that sometimes a simple mouse click took 5 - 10 seconds to register. 

Managing our finances became an odious task, which meant it didn't get done as often as it should have. So, the search was on.

Over the next five years we tried every financial program available for

the Mac. They were either 1) underdeveloped and buggy (read: "we lost data unexpectedly and it messed up our finances"), 2) ugly and clunky, or 3) could not manage an income that fluctuated from month to month.

Then, completely by accident, I discovered YNAB (You Need A Budget). Not a really catchy name, but it had super-high ratings at and the reviews were almost as rabidly positive as Mac-fanatics tend to be. So we downloaded a copy and put our data in.

We had only been using it for six days when we went ahead and paid the $60 for a license. It works with a fluctuating income, the user interface is well designed, and we were able to install it on both of our laptops for the same price, thanks to a reasonable licensing agreement.

And here's the kicker. YNAB is isn't just a software program, it's a mindset The developer of YNAB isn't about making software that tries to do everything. He's about helping people create a budget that is easy to understand and then live by it. His entire site is dedicated to making those who purchase his software successful at living on a budget. YNAB has several videos to help beginners understand how to set up the program. They offer on-line classes and you can also subscribe to the founder's down-to-earth emails which encourage YNAB users to stick with their budgets.