I’ve been using Microsoft Money to manage my personal finances (such as they are) since about 1996. Today I upgraded to the last version that was produced for the UK by Microsoft: Microsoft Money 2005 (version 188.8.131.525); in contrast the US edition went on until version 17.
I used the 16-bit Microsoft Money version 3.0 for Windows 3.1 for about seven years, until I upgraded to Windows XP in 2003. I then moved to Money 2004 and had all but given up hope that I could obtain the last localised UK edition (2005) until I discovered this afternoon that Microsoft now make it available for free download (see below for links).
Import RBS transactions
I’m a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customer and they still make all my statements available for download in Microsoft Money format (.ofx) which I can then import and track, which is really helpful.
Bills and deposits
I’ve set up in Money all my regular bills and deposits (e.g. mortgage payment, direct debits, salary) and so I can see what bills are still to go out, and when I’m next due to be paid. It really keeps me on top of all our accounts; we currently have about 11 accounts including credit cards and the boys’ Rainbow Savings accounts.
One of the most useful functions I find is the ability to categorise payments and deposits which is great for setting a budget, and tracking just exactly where our money has gone.
This month, for example, I can see that we’ve spent £242.34 on food, £253.76 on fuel (!!) and withdrawn a total of £150 from cash machines (including supermarket cashback facilities).
I found the reports a little buggy in Money 2004, in 2005 they are much improved.
The upgrade I found painless. I backed-up my Money 2004 (.mny) file, uninstalled Money 2004 and installed Money 2005 its the default location. On the first run I opened my existing Money file which 2005 ably and promptly upgraded and I was good to go.
Since Microsoft have halted development I have been tempted to move to another application but to be honest, this does what I need it to, and I can’t really justify the expense or hassle of moving to another, unfamiliar application.
I tried a demo of Accountz. I uninstalled it within a couple of hours. Personal taste: I just didn’t like it. It didn’t feel as polished an application as even Money 3.0. I’m probably doing it a huge disservice, but it just wasn’t for me.
The only other option, really, is Quicken which looks great and there seems to be a version for just about everybody. Obviously, RBS also offer downloads in Quicken format so it could be a viable option. The most basic versions, Quicken Starter Edition 2012 costs US $29.99 (approx. £19.41), next up is Quicken Deluxe 2012 which costs a very reasonable US $59.99 (approx. GPB £38.85) but that’s thirty-eight quid that I don’t have at the moment.
I’m happy with Microsoft Money, I’ve been using for years, I’m familiar with it, I trust it and it really keeps me on top of my finances.
You can download the localised US and UK versions here: