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  • Microsoft Money

    Is finance management software such as Microsoft Money worth using?

    I mean, I tried the feature that automatically uploads the transactions from my bank's website to Money, which is pretty cool... but besides knowing where your money goes, is such a tool really useful, considering the amount of discipline it requires?

    I would appreciate opinions... how do you use Money? Do you think it adds some value to your life?

    Thanks.

    P.S. : I'm a single, 28 year-old male.

  • #2
    Dave:

    For me, the value added comes from paying bills electronically rather than writing or printing checks. This saves me a few hours per month, well worth the effort.

    When I was single, I used a checkbook program and printed the checks. Check printing saved me some time, since I printed the checks with the sendto address and just signed them and popped them into a window envelope. The reminder functionality kept me from missing bills. Even if I didn't get a bill, I knew that I had one due so I could call the biller and pro-actively pay without being late.

    From time to time the search feature helps me to know if I already paid a bill or renewed my magazine subscription. Some of the magazines will prompt you to renew when you still have YEARS left on your original subscription. When I pay a magazine bill, I put in the memo field the number of months or years I am renewing for ('12 months') so with the search feature I can tell when the subscription ends.

    Some doctors are notorious for double-billing or failing to apply a payment to my account. With a program like Money (I use Quicken) I can make sure I don't overpay. Almost no doctor will refund you an overpayment, they apply it as a credit balance to your account.

    Just my 2 cents...

    Comment


    • #3
      Is it worth it to you.

      That's a question, really only you can answer. I find it very valuable for tracking spending, planning long term finances, etc. I can see my entire financial picture in one program. If those types of things are not valuable to you then you won't find much value.

      In terms of effort required, the newer versions are much simpler. Again it depends on how much of the program you choose to use. I download my transactions from my bank, sync the information with my PocketPC and away I go.

      Again I believe the value you gain depends on how much you value tracking and planning your finances.

      Comment


      • #4
        Money tutorial with 1 free lesson.

        I’m a consumer advocate for a company called Video Professor. My role as consumer advocate is to ensure a better understanding of Video Professor and how our products can give you the tools to use various software programs to your desired level.

        Video Professor is the leader in computer software tutorials for most of the major software programs, and we have helped educate over 5 million people.

        We have a tutorial for Microsoft Money (PC only) that is available either on CD-ROM or online. One FREE lesson is available on CD-ROM, or your first 5 days online are FREE.

        Our tutorial will show you how to analyze your spending habits, start banking online, and prepare for the tax season with ease. Money 2004 tutorial will help you create reports and charts, calculate loan payments, track cash purchases, and keep a budget. You'll also learn how to set reminders to pay bills, add investment accounts, reduce your debt, and much more.

        Please visit http://www.videoprofessor.com/comput...ons/money.html for additional information.

        I hope this information will help you become more proficient in Money.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by CosmoGTD
          Consumer Advocate?
          Actually, that is called a Salesperson working for that company.

          Interesting, an anonymous "question" about MS Money, and then the anonymous salespitch for MS money training.
          Granted that could be the case, however the member that goes by Anonymous (who started the thread) has been posting here for a very long time and any other threads that he/she has started do not reflect this type of behavior. The fact that a "real" anonymous poster chimed in might be coincidence?

          -Steve

          Comment


          • #6
            Answer to original poster's question

            I have been using Money for probably 6 years now and I do find it to be worth it.

            Even if you don't do the categorizing of transactions by category, you can use it to download the information from many credit cards, as well as your bank. By doing this pretty much every day I was able to see very quickly when I had been double-charged by a payee, as well as catch it right away when my credit card number had been stolen and was being used to order things online.

            It can also be a matter of a few mouse clicks to balance the checkbook.

            If you do take the time to put categories into your transactions when you accept them, then it is possible to go back at a future time to see what you've been spending your money on (i.e. if you find yourself needing to control it, as we did when we started an expensive house renovation, and our old system of "spend less than you take in" wasn't working any more), and at tax time those categories are useful to find records of charitable contributions, property taxes paid, etc., saving lots of time going through folders of receipts or checkbook records.

            I don't use it to track investments or do anything particularly sophisticated with it, and, because of server problems and low usage, my bank finally discontinued offering an interface between their online bill-paying service and Microsoft Money (so I have to use their web site to pay the bills, then the bill payments get downloaded to Microsoft Money when I connect). I've also never tried their web-based version, which I assume has you constantly connected when you're online and downloading information as it comes in, so I can't say whether that is any use or not.

            But at this point I would have a hard time imagining going back to a paper-based system for keeping track of money.

            Comment


            • #7
              I use Quicken and PocketQuicken from Landware on my Palm. I use PocketQuicken mainly to track personal and business cash transactions while I'm out and about. There's a Pocket PC version of PocketQuicken available as well. I currently run Quicken on a Windows PC and I'm in the process of migrating to the Mac version. So having a flexible cross-platform solution is very important to me. With Quicken and PocketQuicken I have the option to run any combination of Mac/Windows with Palm/PPC, YMMV.

              I've seen Palm and PPC apps that will sync with MS Money, so that option is also available. But there is no version of MS Money for Mac.

              good luck!

              -michael

              Comment


              • #8
                I run a small non-profit foundation and keep track of all income and expenditures with Money, been using it since 2001 and now have all that info in one place. I also use it to do all my financial reports to fund raisers and to government agencies here in Europe.
                sandie

                Comment


                • #9
                  MS Money -- too complicated, in my opinion

                  For about 5 years, I have tried using MS Money for expenses, both personal and small business.

                  On the positive side, MS Money is an excellent repository for all financial transactions -- credit cards, checkbooks, etc. It's great for finding quickly how much we spent on, say, automobiles in the past year, or late fees, or restaurants. It's great for finding what the name of the restaurant is that we went to in 2004 in Chicago.

                  But Money is also very complex. It has taken several weekends for me to try and understand even the basic functionailty. Its main screen dazzles with so many options it is overwhelming. Drawbacks include:

                  - Many tasks in MS Money are easier done on paper or in Excel. That includes creating a family budget. Just do it in Excel.

                  - Bill payment is usually much simpler and cleaner when initiated by a person's bank directly rather than through MS Money. Many banks offer that, free.

                  - It is difficult to track retirement accounts (and net worth) because every monthly contribution to an IRA or 401K has to be entered manually into MS Money (because not all financial institutions allow automatic electronic interchange with MS Money). This is very time consuming. And I found it difficult to track retirement accounts because most mutual funds do not have public tickers so they can not be tracked. I had to constantly update the value that MS Money had for retirement accounts. Frankly, I found it impossible.

                  - Also, for MS Money to capture 100% of our expenses, I would need to track pocket expenses (like how I spend money taken out at an ATM) and that is not worth it. Then I would need some form of MS Money on a PDA, or I would need to file receipts for any cash items. Too much!

                  With MS Money, I was spending more time processing transactions and learning how to process them than I was living life. Now I just use it to download financial transactions as an adjunct to print statements.

                  Any others share this perspective?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Scott716
                    Any others share this perspective?
                    Yes, I've had a very similar experience. In fact, I think as I've gotten better about applying GTD, I've become more and more frustrated with MS Money.

                    I think it's a good tool for the "runway" and 10,000 ft levels of managing finances, but I was never able to get to the point where it was very useful at a higher level.

                    I've started just using Money to reconcile accounts monthly. For budgeting I've gone to Excel (found this template to be an interesting starting point). I've been doing this for about three months now -- I feel like I have a better grasp of my actual financial situation and spend less time fighting with software.

                    I've considered looking at Quicken but fear it'll just be the same thing all over again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      PearBudget

                      Originally posted by hcd
                      For budgeting I've gone to Excel (found this template to be an interesting starting point). I've been doing this for about three months now -- I feel like I have a better grasp of my actual financial situation and spend less time fighting with software.
                      The link doesn't work -- takes me to the dreaded HTTP 404 Not Found screen. I Googled, and it took me back to your link. Then I looked at the Comments, and EUREKA! He has set up a new page: PearBudget. I am going to give it a whirl.

                      Carolyn

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        use of money

                        All i can say is i'm 28, debt free except for a house payment which will be paid off in 12 years, and owe it all to microsoft money. I've been a user for 3 years now.

                        Yeah, I had to spend a few weekends learning all of the features and programming stuff. I'll even say that the first year was very hard, especially with the tracking of spending. Now I spend less than 5 minutes every weekend updating accounts and tax time was a breeze. I know it takes a lot longer for paper users. The debt/life planners got me back on track (I had $36000 of CCard debt alone) and it helps you feel like you have control over personal finance.

                        I also found the cash flow planner to be a great help. It helped me identify some extra cash I could save every month until I had enough saved up so that I paid cash for a newer but still used car. By the way, when you walk into a dealership with $100 bills, the price of the car drops really quickly

                        However, like everything else, the budget had to be accurate, and it took some time to figure out were it got the numbers from...but it was time well spent.

                        So think of it as a small time investment in order to get your life back. I very strongly recommend using it!

                        MS - Louisville, KY

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          help with ms money 2003

                          I work for a business and for some reason printing checks is not working, but wierd thing is it will work if you have two checks to print...does anyone out there know what has happened and how i can fix this problem. thank you in advance
                          susie

                          please email responce to susiepage@a-m-u.net

                          thank you

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Anonymous
                            Is finance management software such as Microsoft Money worth using?
                            It depends. Personally, I couldn't keep my financial life in order without some kind of finance software. Well, I could, but it would be a lot more work. I've been using Quicken since 1989, but after the all of the bugs and terrible tech support for the Mac version, I recently switched to Moneydance:

                            http://www.moneydance.com/

                            It runs on nearly every operating system, it's simple, and it's fast. It's what Quicken used to be.

                            Ken

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have used Money for 4-5 years and the only thing I do with it is download my banking transactions which include many debit card charges for groceries, gas and the like plus the usual ATM and checking activities. Every Saturday I balance my checkbook to Money and also to the banks online balance. If I can't make things equal I usually ask the wife about purchases that she "forgot" about I don't bother balancing my checkbook to the old bank monthly statements because I know what's on them before I get them.

                              Comment

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