When it comes to keeping our finances in check and budgeting effectively we need all the help we can get.
It can be struggle to juggle mortgage payments, bills, day-to-day expenses and keep track of all your incomings and investments.
However, there is some excellent software available that will help to take the pain out of managing your finances.
Here we review Microsoft Money, one of the most popular personal finance applications.
Other money management applications we’ve reviewed which you might find useful are Personal Accountz, now called Home Accountz, Quicken and Moneydance.
Microsoft Money is one of the most popular money management applications, and as you would expect from Microsoft it doesn’t do things by halves. This application is rich in features that will help you to synch with your online banking accounts, manage your debts, take care of investments and much, much more.
One of the biggest criticisms is that if you are new to this kind of software the learning curve can be fairly steep. You will probably need to sit down with the manual for a few hours if you want to get the most from this application, but it is well worth the effort.
If you really want to get the most from Microsoft Money you need to synch it with your online bank and credit card accounts. Be sure to check with your bank first to make sure that it supports Microsoft Money, most of the major UK banks do. If so, you will be able to download statements directly into Microsoft Money with the click of a button. If not, Microsoft Money probably isn’t worth your while.
Microsoft Money’s debt management feature is definitely one of its strong points. Credit Centre will help you to track loans, credit card debts and overdrafts, and will even help you come up with a workable plan for clearing these debts.
If you’re willing to take the time to sit down and enter exactly how you spend your cash, Microsoft Money can be an excellent aid when it comes to budgeting effectively. To get the most from it you need to enter everything you spend your money on down to the smallest details. So don’t forget to include your daily newspaper, or your trip to Starbucks every morning as these all add up. Once you can clearly see how your money is spent you would be surprised at how much money you could save by making a few small changes.
It is nice to keep track of where your money is invested and how much it is earning for you. Microsoft Money allows you to manage your stocks, savings and ISAs from one convenient location.
These are just some of the features that will help you manage your finances. One important feature that is missing from the latest UK version of Microsoft Money is a tax manager to help you make your annual returns. If you are self-employed you will miss this feature. However, there are plenty of good tax-management applications out there, many of them free.
Our biggest criticism of Microsoft Money is that the UK version hasn’t been updated in a couple of years. Microsoft Money 2007 was conspicuous in its absence in the UK and now there is no sign of a 2008 update on this side of the Atlantic either. This means it can be had for the relatively low price of around £20. Microsoft Money is an impressive piece of software that is rich in features, however we can not be quick to recommend any money management application that hasn’t received an update for over two years. Our advice: Wait for an update before buying.
Come back again next week when we take a look at Microsoft Money’s chief rival, Quicken.