Cool MS Money 2005 trick

I was an avid Quicken devotee going all the way back to the old DOS version, but in an effort to be a "company man" I switched to MS Money when I joined Microsoft (which is going on 4 1/2 years now).  Say what you want about MS Money 2005, I haven't experienced the issues that many have reported, especially since I upgraded from 2004 (which is where I've read a lot of complaints).

Nonetheless, I finally got my act together and laid out a budget in the tool, the thing is when you're done setting up the budget you can only pick three categories you want to track closely - meaning those three appear as thermometers on the home page so you can gauge how your spending is tracking.  But what if you want to watch more than three?  I always thought previous version allowed you to do it, and it turns out someone else did too when they posted to the internal MS Money discussion list.  The functionality is still there, just not as obvious to get to:

From one of the devs on Money: “You can access the Money 2004-style interface for selecting favorite categories to watch by going to Tools|Alerts Center, selecting the “Customize your Advisor FYI alerts” link, and selecting the “Monthly Spending” tab. You can then select categories and have your spending tracked against your budget (if you have one) or against any arbitrary limit you wish.”

Not a trick that will directly put more money in you account, but may help you to keep what you have there better.

Comments (4)

  1. Thanks for the tip, I’ve been worndering about this.

    Now I don’t have any excuse for not keeping track of the budget.

  2. Jeff Parker says:

    Here is another little tip for you, up at the top you can create shortcuts. Don’t ask me how I only figured out once. But once you figure out how to create shortcuts at the top first thing create a short cut to creating short cuts.

    Ok in the create shortcut screen it lists every single module in MS money 2005, Now unfortunately you can only create like 5 or 6 shortcuts and Money has some up there already, So this is why you create a short cut to create shortcuts because really some of these modules I have never found another way to get to them. So I just go add and delete short cuts every time I need to go to different screens. While clunky at least it is a way to find what you want in there without hunting. Most of the better modules lets you put somethig on your home page to monitor it, even if you arent monitoring it and just want to use the tool once in a while it gives you a way to get to it quickly from the home page. I really wish you would have started money back with Money 2001-2002 that was when money UI was the most excellent easy to use interface yet.

    There are some really cool modules in there. Just no way to use them, I used the What If calculator the other night, that allows you to mess around with a lot of What if Financial situations. So I sat there and knew I was 3 months away from paying off my truck, So What if I go with a rapid refund, Take a hit from the Rapid Refund Charge, if I pay my truck off with my tax return early how much will I save on the interest. It allows you to do things like that. Kind of a really usefull little tool. But never would have known it was there if I had not figure out the create shortcut screen existed. Anyway when you get some time worth exploring all the modules in there, see what all they can do. Again only place I know that lists all the modules is the create shortcut screen.

  3. Derek says:

    I do have to say it is pretty obvious in their effort to dumb down the interface for the so-called "unwashed masses" the Money team buried a lot of the real power of this application.

    In their defense, I know that the bulk of people out there buying their first computer will list "track my finances" as on of the top reasons for the purchase, and a lot of effort has gone into simplifying the interface for those folks. I have no first hand knowledge of this, just a very educated guess knowing how most of our PG’s work.

    I’ve always thought it a bit weird that the menu system across the top of money wasn’t very useful for anything beyond closing the program, manually kicking off a backup, or setting some options.

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