Last year, Microsoft decided to stop selling its Money personal finance software and announced that no future updates to the software will be available. Existing Money Plus customers can continue to use the software and access online services (such as data sync with MSN Money or statement downloads) until their copy expires on Jan. 31, 2011. At that time Microsoft also announced that it will soon be releasing a “Sunset” version of Money Plus that will not require online activation and will not have an expiry date.

Recently, Microsoft made good on that promise and made Sunset versions of Money Plus Deluxe and Money Plus Home & Business available for download (here and here). Here’s the surprise: you do not have to be a current Money user or provide proof of purchase of any earlier version of Money to download and install the Sunset version. That’s very good news if you are looking for free personal finance software and have been frustrated with competing offerings such as GNU Cash. Though the Sunset versions do not offer online services such as portfolio updates, a number of home brew hacks are already available (such as this one called PocketSense) that update stock price information from financial websites.

If you are a current user of Money Plus, you may want to wait until Jan. 31, 2011 to install the sunset version of Money. If you are still running an earlier version of Money, make sure you first backup the Money file before installing and trying out the Sunset version. Better yet, try out the Sunset version by installing it in an entirely different machine and copying over your current Money data file.

Microsoft deserves a pat for making a fine personal finance product available for free for anyone to download. It would have been even more wonderful if Microsoft had made the Money source code available to the open source community to continue to develop and improve.

This article has 10 comments

  1. This is neat. I saw the post on the forum, and will be trying this out.

  2. CC: I remember you writing at some point that you use Money for your own personal finance tracking. I’m wondering about any gotchas for us Canadian users given that they’ve never really released a deluxe Canadian version. Any thoughts on typical problems and how you may have worked around them might be a useful addition to the article. e.g. anything worth mentioning about RRSPs?

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  4. Hey CC – no malintent, meant only as a statement of fact 🙂
    And now for the download….

  5. I used to use MS Money to track my finance, but I always failed to balance my accounts, and I soon lost interest in tracking every single entry in my credit card bill. Now I just set a threshold for the big items, retirement savings X%, auto expenses, Y% housing expenses Z%, etc. For my purposes, which is to save enough to retirement and other irregular expenses, this works way better than MS Money or other tracking software.

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  7. I used to use MS Money several years ago when I first started becoming interested in managing my personal finances. While it is a great program (especially now at a price of “free”) I made it simpler to use by:

    – rounding everything to $5 (basically ignoring purchases I made with coins, etc.)
    – not using it to track mutual funds and investments that had reinvested distributions

    Eventually, I switched to a basic excel spreadsheet which I find much easier and simpler.

  8. I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i would like to hear more about this in future.

  9. Kaye Argandona

    I am going to look into this. My big issue with cloud backup was always the initial load times.