Free Cloud-based online Microsoft Money using Dropbox

I have used Microsoft Money to manage my finances for coming up 6 years now and still find it the best personal finance app around. The last version in the UK was 2005 after Microsoft cancelled the product and let Quicken take the market. Microsoft then discontinued the international versions in the wake of Mint.com and other Yodlee-based web applications. Mint.com appears to be the most successful of the bunch and was bought by Quicken to replace their terrible Quicken Online.

Microsoft Money was fantastic because it:

  • Supported multiple currencies properly (I need GBP, USD and JPY with the ability to transfer between accounts)
  • Had seperate business accounts and expense tracking
  • Amazing reporting features
  • The invaluable cashflow graph which I still have not found in any competing product, web or client based

The last version was released in 2008 and this was the first version to contain product activation. Thanks to the product’s cancellation, Microsoft has quietly released a “Sunset” edition of Microsoft Money – a full copy of Microsoft Money Plus without the product activation entirely for free so users won’t have to worry about installing Money after the activation servers have gone down. The bank synchronisation is not included but this was only supported for US bank accounts anyway.

With the fantastic Dropbox, you can sync your Money data file between all the computers you use (even Mac OSX running Money under Parallels). The Money data file is very small (6 years of transactions here total 10MB).

The combination of MS Money and Dropbox gives you the best of both worlds:

  • Cloud storage and backup
  • Nobody snooping on your data, datamining your purchase habits (see Mint, Wesabe etc)
  • Instant UI response times because Money is a local app
  • Access your data from multiple locations – just install the free Money edition and Dropbox

Need mobile access? Just add LogMeIn to your iPad or iPhone.

12 Responses to “Free Cloud-based online Microsoft Money using Dropbox”

  1. Morning – someone from the Dropbox forums pointed me here. I wanted to know if you’ve received any issues using Money and Dropbox?

    I have 2006, I revert to it after installing 2008, and noticing the silly activation process.

    Thanks in advance

    Ivan

  2. Hi Ivan

    No issues using the Sunset editions of Money Plus. These are free and have no activation, so I suggest you upgrade to them.

    Just remember to close Money when you are done using it as the .mny file stays locked while in use.

  3. Thanks for pointing me at this Ed. I’ve been a long time fan of MS Money and was amazed they dropped it a few years back.
    I tried Quicken but found it to be terrible.
    Now I can have anotehr attempt at taming my finacnes without having to sort through a pile of boxes looking for that old MS Money CD

  4. Sterling

    Thanks for this tip. I’ve been using both Dropbox and Sugarsync to backup my Microsoft Money file. Have to agree that hands down MS Money is currently still the best personal finance software around. I’ve tried several others such as Quicken, Pocketmoney desktop, Yodlee, Mint (not useful as in Australia). After buying Quicken I found that they no longer allow you to export your data to a common spreadsheet format such as CSV! Quicken has overstepped their monopoly power in my opinion, and their software is nowhere near as user friendly and intuitive as MS Money. So in 2011 I’m still sticking with my Microsoft Money…when will someone release something comparable?

  5. Hi,
    What’s your working environment? Do you keep the main .mny file on a Dropbox shared folder? Or do you just make MS Money back up (on Backup Settings) on a shared folder?
    Thanks!

  6. Nicholas

    I came to the same approach independently and couldn’t figure out where to locate the backup. I plan on using different computers with different user names. However, each time I backup on a different machine then the last time I backed up, I have to change the file location to identify the user account on the current machine. What’s your workaround?

  7. I agree MS Money is excellent. However last time I tried using it with the Money file in Dropbox (maybe a year ago), Dropbox would often delete the file when I quit Money! So I stopped.

  8. Hi Ed,
    Thanks for the very useful information.
    Here’s my situation… I switched from a PC to a Mac a few years ago, but kept using my trusty Microsoft Money 2002 on my old PC.

    Now I have to retire the old PC and I would like some advice as to what software or on-line system I should use on my Mac.

    Once I find a new system, will I have to re-enter all the data from the Money program, or can I use Dropbox to transfer it to my Mac?
    I would appreciate your assistance,
    Thank you!

  9. Good tip, I have been going spare trying to find anything to replace Money and nothing is nearly as good, particularly as you say because of the cash flow forecast function. Yodlee is great for downloading everything in one place, but that’s not quite what you need to make decisions about predicted balance. ben

  10. Hi, I´m looking for a finance app that can handle multiple categories on the same bill (for example: my water bill came with interest and i need pointing the right values to interest expense and water expense).

    Money does it, do you know another one?

    tks

  11. Just found this site so hope this is still useful. I’ve been using Money in this way for a few years.
    @Nicholas – My workaround is to store the backup in a root directory in C: on both machines, e.g. C:/Money (thereby avoiding the user name issue)
    @Ben F – yes! I get the exact same problem (actually the reason I just came across this site). It seems that the file is uploaded to the cloud and then deleted – so my workaround is to go to dropbox.com, show deleted files, and restore the last version.

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