Since 2003, I had been using Microsoft Money for my personal financing needs. I used it from about 2003 - 20010 or so. I used it for the account balance tracking and the bill calendar, but didn't use any of the reporting capabilities or anything extra.
In 2010, we decided to implement a true budget where we would start tracking our expenses in particular categories and making sure that we don't go over in any particular one. I used a pad of paper to track these expenses - subtracting money out manually into the categories that we had set up. We used this method for about five months until around June, taking them on business trips, short day trips, and even vacations. This started to become hectic and I found myself wishing that it were easier for us to transport our budgeting papers from one place to another.
Me, being the techie that I am, decided that it would be so much better if we had an electronic copy of it that I could open it from anywhere on any computer. So, I converted our paper documents to Google Docs Spreadsheets. It was the same process, but now, I could "split" transactions so that when we went to Target, we could, in a neater fashion, have one transaction, but apply those expenditures to multiple budget categories. This was infinitely better than the pen and paper method simply for it being so mobile, but I was actually still updating Microsoft Money because, if you recall, I never used Money to track budgeting expenses - only for tracking account balances and my monthly bills. Because my Google Docs spreadsheet was only tracking budgeting expenses, I still needed to keep Microsoft Money around so that I could continue to track all of our account balances and our monthly bills. So, when I did the finances every month, I would have to first update MS Money, then update the budget. This process usually took a good two hours to make sure that everything was inputted properly. So, now, I was in search of finding something that that would tell me the balances in each account, give me the budgeting capabilities, but be accessible from anywhere I wanted.
This is where I discovered Mint.com. Mint was just the solution that I was looking for! It provided the budgeting and the account balance watching in one tool, and it was offered online! What's the best part about it, you ask? IT WAS FREE! So, needless to say, I started using Mint and was very excited about it. They even had an iPhone app, so it was VERY mobile! I started using Mint in about October of 2010 and it worked great, but one day, it stopped updating my Bank of America account, which had my main accounts. So, now that I had moved everything over to Mint and it was not working, I realized that I needed to transfer out of it yet again because I could not depend on a service that was not dependable.
I started searching around to see if I could find another online service that could give me what I was looking for and be dependable. I found a few, but I decided that no website was probably going to be as dependable as a software program that I had installed on my computer. At this point, I was ready to move back to Microsoft Money as I knew that it had budgeting features that I had not used previously. So, when I went to look for MS Money, I learned that the product had been discontinued! What was I going to do now?? I decided to buy a copy off of eBay and it's a good thing that I did because I learned shortly after that that Microsoft was discontinuing the use of their online services as well. Now I didn't ever use the online services that Money provided as I liked to do everything myself. Using the online services did not catch things like a check that I had just written, etc. So, I bought Money from eBay, installed it, and activated it, and everything was great!
Everything was great until I decided to buy a new laptop. When I bought a new laptop and was doing some research on Money again, I realized that I could not install it on my new laptop because Microsoft had disabled their Activation service for it! After a little searching, I discovered that Microsoft had created a Sunset version of MS Money that I could use. It was the same version of the program that I was previously using. The only difference was that it did not have the online services built in, which as I said earlier, was fine for me. The other big difference was that it was free! I was incredibly excited at this point. I knew that I did not have support for MS Money on the new Sunset version, but it didn't matter as I had never had an issue with MS Money before anyway.
All of this to say - if you're looking for a solution that can meet your account balance tracking, bill tracking, and also some great budgeting features, check out the now FREE version of the recently discontinued Microsoft Plus Money Deluxe or Microsoft Plus Money Home and Business. They don't have an iPhone application or anything to go with it, but it's an extremely powerful program that Microsoft has now made freely available.
More Information: http://www.microsoft.com/money/sunset.mspx