September 19, 2018

Moneydance Review: Is It Good?

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The days of manually balancing a checkbook are slowly fading away. Today, it's all about automation, which can be good news for those who look at a check register as if it's in a foreign language.

Moneydance is one of the many budgeting tools out there that not only balance your checkbook, but help you effortlessly track your spending and income. With Moneydance, you can track your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and even your investments.

At first glance, Moneydance looks like a big checkbook. With a little prodding, though, you'll see that the program is as automated as you will let it be. You can link your bank account and let the transactions download automatically, or you can enter them manually.

You can even access your bank information on your mobile device while on the go. It offers the features many consumers look for, including online banking, online bill payment, budgeting, and tracking investments.

Does it deliver what it promises? We help you determine this answer below.

How Does It Work?

You can download Moneydance right to your computer and begin setting up your accounts immediately. You can choose to enter your categories manually or import your old informant on a QIF file (Quicken file).

Moneydance offers the following features:

  • Budgeting: If you have a hard time staying within your designed budget, Moneydance may help. Once you set your budget, Moneydance shows you where you stand with color-coded graphs. If you haven't spent anything yet, the graph remains green. As you near your allotted budget, it turns yellow to encourage you to proceed with caution. If you happen to go over your budget, the graph turns red, giving you a quick visual of where you stand.

  • Online bill pay: You can set up your bills for automatic payment through Moneydance. With this feature, you can view your upcoming bills on the calendar on your home page.

  • Get alerts: Do you pay bills late and then grumble as you pay the late fee? Moneydance allows you to set up alerts to help you put an end to those late payments.

  • Customized reports: You can create reports that detail every aspect of your financial life. You can also create reports exclusive to certain expense categories so you can see where your cash goes. You can also print or save the graphs if you wish.

  • Account registers: You can enter, edit, and delete line items on your account register. Many users find it user-friendly, since it looks just like a checkbook register. The nice thing, though, is that you don't have to do the math—it calculates everything for you automatically.

  • Investments: You can track your investments in CDs and mutual funds as well as investments in the market, including stocks and bonds. You can see an overview of your financial worth as well as individual looks at each account to see how they perform.

What Are the Fees?

It costs $49.99 to purchase the Moneydance program, and you can use this program for as long as you want. There are no subscription fees and your service doesn't stop at the end of 12 months. If you choose to use the older version in the future, that's your choice.

Sometimes Moneydance does offer promotions for the latest update. Sometimes they offer the upgrade for free for current customers. Other times, they offer a promotion, such as 50% off if you are a current customer. You can simply click on "upgrade" to find out what specials are available to you at any given time.

Reasons We Like Moneydance

  • Moneydance is user friendly. Because its ledger looks much like a checkbook register, there isn't a large learning curve to use the program. You set up your accounts and start recording your transactions. The calculations are done for you, and the program also has an auto-complete function that takes care of entering the information for repeat transactions.

  • You can automatically sync your bank account. If you don't want to manually enter your transactions, you can link your bank account to Moneydance. Now your transactions are automatically synced as they occur. This eliminates the risk of human mistakes.

  • Moneydance creates categories for your expenses. This allows you to see where you spend the most money and where you might need to cut back.

  • You can see all financial accounts in one dashboard. The homepage offers a summary of all accounts you link to Moneydance. This means you can view your checking, savings, CDs, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and upcoming liabilities—all on one page.

  • Moneydance has a mobile app that syncs with the desktop version automatically. No matter where you look at your accounts, whether the desktop, iOS app, or Android app, you will see the same up-to-date information. You can also make manual changes via the app, such as adding transactions or changing your budget.

  • You can track your investments with your budget. Usually you can track just your investments or just your budget, not both. Moneydance makes it possible to do it all. You can set Moneydance to download prices, compute cost basis for you, or just give you a summary of your investments.

  • You can set up as many accounts as you wish. If you want to keep your accounts separate, you can have as many accounts as you see fit. Maybe you have a business budget and a personal budget. Keeping them separate is a good idea. You can also merge all of your finances together into one large budget.

  • You can customize your reports. You are in charge of what you see. If you want reports strictly on your spending, you can run those. If you want reports that show cash flow with income and spending, you can do that as well. With the click of just a few buttons, you can get your hands on the information you need the most.

  • It may be easier to track your finances with the visual reports. Some users are just visual learners. Having access to color-coded graphs and easy-to-read visuals can help some people understand their finances better. Seeing quickly where you overspend can get you started on making changes in your financial life to stop overspending and start saving.

  • You can load the program on as many personal computers as you want. You only have to pay the fee one time in order to be able to use the program on multiple devices, as long as it's for personal use.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • You can't set up goals. Some budgeting software programs allow you to set up goals, such as "saving for vacation" or "rainy day fund." Moneydance strictly offers budgeting tools, though. It lacks the goal-setting tools that might encourage more saving.

  • The list of bills includes past and present bills. If you are looking for a specific bill or want to know what to expect to pay out this month, it could take a while to weed through the list of bills to determine which are current and which are paid and taken care of already.

  • If you use Moneydance for business purposes, you will need multiple licenses. You may only use Moneydance on one computer with each license for business purposes. This can eat into your profits as you buy a program for each computer.

How It Compares

  • Quicken: Quicken is the household name in finance software, but Moneydance gives them good competition.

    Quicken charges an annual subscription fee in order to keep using the program after 12 months. Quicken is also a little less user-friendly and more overwhelming to new users as they try to figure out the lay of the land. Quicken does offer budgeting, online bill pay, and bank synchronization, much like Moneydance.

  • YNAB: YNAB charges users a monthly fee and doesn't offer online bill pay. But they do offer features you won't find with Moneydance, such as debt pay down calculators and goal tracking.

    Each of these features can be motivating, helping users to get out of debt or reach a specific financial goal. YNAB also offers auto-syncing between the desktop and mobile version and visually appealing reports.

  • Mint: Mint stands out because it's free to use; there's no annual fee or one-time charge. Mint doesn't offer online bill pay.

    They do offer bank synchronization, but many users report issues with its accuracy. Mint is a decent budgeting software for personal or even simple business use, and the fact that it's free makes it even better.

Related: Empower

Bottom Line

If you are looking for simple budgeting software that won't cost an arm and a leg, Moneydance does offer many features for a low price.

Moneydance offers the opportunity to see all of your finances in one place. If you aren't comfortable with auto synchronization, you will have to commit to manually entering all information often, which can be seen as a downside to some. But if you aren't using any type of budgeting software, this could be a good place to start.

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Empower Personal Wealth, LLC (“EPW”) compensates CREDITDONKEY INC for new leads. CREDITDONKEY INC is not an investment client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation or Empower Advisory Group, LLC.

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