GNUCash != MS Money

Time to vent…

I am an open source advocate, and have been for 15 years or more. I live and breathe Linux, and both economically and politically push for free and open protocols along with standards-based software. That being said, I have to say the open source world has been lacking in staying in sync with the world in personal finance. I’ve used many different styles of personal finance software, from both purchased to public domain along open source. All seem to be missing the main three features together: multiple accounts, rotating scheduled transactions (bills/deposits/transfers), along with cash flow forecasting. This is something used by people who do not want to work on a paycheck-to-paycheck forecasting model. That being said, everytime I have mentioned it (either online, or in person) I’ve always heard the same assinine retort: “use GNUCash, it’s free, GAH!”

I’ve used GNUCash since it’s inception, and to be quite honest I could do the same in Excel or OpenOffice. The missing features are advanced financial tools that are used by the average individual when dealing with their personal finances. As much as I hate to say it, MS Money is probably the best software to look at to see what is needed. Multiple accounts of varying styles (checking, savings, interest and non-interest based accounts, 401k, etc) along with the ability to set rotating scheduled bills/transfers/deposits on a daily/weekly/bi-weekly/monthly/bi-monthly/half-year/yearly schedule. Link those together into a cash flow forecasting tool, and you have yourself a graph of where the balances go for each account so you can plan transfers and changes in your fiscal path in the next month or more to avoid any catastrophes along with planning for high-dollar things coming up.
I’ve found myself relying upon MS Money, and with it out of commission (Microsoft discontinued it), along with not liking MS Money Deluxe so I use 2002, I rely upon Win XP in a virtual machine or Wine on my Linux laptop. I used to use as my finance application, and it was perfect but unfortunately it died and took it’s good stuff to the grave.
Mint, thrive, and various other financial sites pale in comparison sadly. They lack the three features together that make a comprehensive package. I started a web-based PHP app a long time ago to replace MS Money but unfortunately the massive lack of time in my life (along with other things going on) it never materialized. Well that, and I’m still learning about using PHP in such a way other than basic tables and rows… I suck at any HTML beyond HTML 2.x…

So, before I step down from my soapbox I have to say one last time… GNUCash != MS Money. Stop saying it is, and acting like people are missing the entire picture when they disagree. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.

5 thoughts on “GNUCash != MS Money

  1. Within the last week or two, I found MoneyGuru ( was a great alternative… well, for those that understand true double-entry accounting.
    It’s open-source (BSD), and available on Windows, Linux, & Apple OS/X. I use it on OS/X, but it’s the same across all OS.
    The last time I tried kmymoney was right around the time that I wrote that post.

  2. Just a note that I’ve become platform agnostic with finances, using nearly every OS it seems…
    Because of my use of Linux/OSX/Windows/iOS/Android/etc, I moved to a web app called PocketSmith that I’ve actually grown to really enjoy quite a bit! it’s at and is free for the following:

    12 event categories
    2 calendars
    2 accounts
    6 months’ projection
    3 months’ history

    I signed up for it like a year ago when it was a lower price than currently for the other plans. It’s proved perfect!

  3. For a while I was simply using MS Money through Wine on my Linux desktop & Macbook pro (with a NAS share).
    Life has changed so much I’m not home much anymore, so started using web-based apps. After banging my head against the wall with lots of apps like Mint and others like it, I’ve settled with one that fits my needs perfect. I’ve used for probably 3 years now and I’m happy with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.