Once upon a time, Microsoft produced and supported a money, budgeting, and personal finance software called Microsoft Money. It was an attempt to compete with Inuit and its near monopoly in tax and finance software. It was one of the best personal finance software options out there, and it was free.
While Microsoft Money had a hard core following, it never built a large following and was eventually abandoned by Microsoft who put out a final version sunset edition, and let everyone know that it was free, but there would be no more support.
Microsoft Excel Money Template
Microsoft is back with a template add-on for Microsoft Excel that offers the kind of personal finance management that used to come from its standalone software offering.
By making MS Money into an Excel template instead of its own software, the Microsoft Money team has to support and update a lot less. You have to be a Microsoft 365 Personal or Microsoft 365 Family subscriber in order to get the Money in Excel template.
Like Mint has done for a long time, Money in Excel will automatically pull in your transactions and keep them updated via a third-party called Plaid.
I had never heard of Plaid before, so I dug around to see if Plaid is safe, and make sure that is ok to give financial login information to Plaid. It seems that Plaid is legit, which I suppose Microsoft would have checked out before patterning with them.
Categorize Expenses and Use Templates
Once your accounts are connected, it imports your transactions and makes a best effort to categorize those. It does better on certain things than others. You can go through and fix the categories. Once you do that, you can import templates and take a look at where your money goes, how you spend your money, the growth of your net worth and so on.
Ironically, most people want to use their financial software to budget their money, but the budget template sits in the Word for Excel pane as “coming soon.” I don’t know who works on Microsoft Money for Excel, but that should probably be a pretty high priority.
Is Microsoft Money Worth It?
Microsoft Money in Excel is free, but it is also fairly limited. If you are comfortable with Intuit’s Mint personal finance software, it does more, and has more “templates” you can use.
For now, if you like Excel and you want your finance in there, especially if you are good enough with Excel that you can create your own money sheets and formulas to manage your finances, then the free Money in Excel is worthwhile.
If you aren’t a fan of Excel, or if you just want more powerful personal finance software, go ahead and check out me. In the Microsoft Money in Excel vs Mint, it is no contest. Mint is better than Money in Excel.