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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Microsoft Money Is Bigger Stronger Faster

Responding to a direct challenge from fellow blogger, the lovely and talented Mrs. M, I completed a big finance project this weekend. Well OK it is never really compete, but my goal was to rest up my MS Money account. OK so I finished the project then accepted the already complete challenge, but she said it was OK, so there.
Never one to ignore the free gift of links from another, I said on her blog I would tell how/why the project came about.
Back in March my computer first went down. Something about a drive partition. It wiped out everything... Through Herculean efforts by this great resource I found locally for computer repair we were able to at least save my data, but no program data. So I had my last backup...from January. This was over 60 days old that was not really complete either.
Around this time (end  of March) I was going through a burnt-out phase regarding finances due to a bonus that I still believe I was hosed out of as well as slower than expected growth opportunities at my current gig. In other words I was being a bit (re: a lot) pouty.
Luckily my Excel Master tracking sheet was fine and I survived by using this tool, which works good for basic tracking, but it wasn't designed, by me, for reports and spending pattern sort of duty. So, as I am want to do, I procrastinated. But, it has been in my short-term goals list to get up and going.
So this weekend I rebuilt the file from January complete to this Saturday (July 12th). To this I had to do the following:
  • Get a new copy of the software, as my last copy was a digital download. Always get the disc backup for $5 more...well worth it!
  • Get all of the bills together from the last 6 months (3.5" high stack!)
  • Input all of the data
  • Test the reports
  • Bring in all of the new accounts (lie E*Trade) and do the same thing for them
  • File all of the paperwork
Well I still need to get the stack filed but it is in chronological and alphabetical order!

I can once again use all of my favorite reports and "what-if" scenarios, but the main point is that I took one of the key opening steps:; Get organized!

My next project; Short, Medium and Long personal goals and tracking!

OK Mouseketeers, what's your next, or first, step in your plan!


Sharon said...

That cannot have been an easy project! Wow! Were there any surpises in the bunch? I find when I look at 6 mos at a time, it truly shows how we spend our money...some good, some bad and of course some ugly! I'll be looking forward to read about your results!

Anonymous said...

OMG, the idea of that makes me faint....

RacerX said...

@ Sharon - The biggest surprise (so far) is that while the tracking broke down, and we didn't optomize the way we should have, we did OK. We continued to use our cash system and we even managed to increase our net worth by more than $3500 during March-June!

@ Pardigm - Hence the ewhole procrastination! Glad to have it back together!

I am sure there will be some Ninja bills in here at some point, but I can at least have some visibility!

Thnak you both for visiting and the support!

Funny about Money said...

Gosh, what a job!

I've often thought you could make Excel do approximately what MS Money and Quicken do, and that Excel would be a better choice because it works on any platform, it's easy to back up, and it's not likely to be replaced soon by some new version that won't read data from a three- or four-year-old version. But my Excel skills (read "math" skills) are pretty rudimentary...couldn't figure out how to reconcile a bank statement using Excel, and the "Help" instructions for how to create a report are so inscrutable I couldn't begin to figure them out. So...still using Quicken.

My next project is to get an external hard drive. The single good thing that came out of the late great Mac.com > annoying MobileMe migration is that the new Mac OS X 10.5.4 upgrade has a program that will back up your data incrementally to a portable hard drive--pretty much as you're working, I gather. Not foolproof, o'course, but it looks like an effective way to back up Quicken and everything else on the desktop.

RacerX said...

Hi Funny!

Yep, bit of a project!

I actually like to use both Money and Excel. I use Money for the easy interface of adding in checks and other financial transaction as well as inventment tracking. Money is great and doing the query for you so it doesn't need to be done by hand.

However, I like Excel for building the reports that I like that aren't in Money and having a one Master sheet as well, for all of my at a glance data.

It is a funky spread sheet but I have built it for my needs over time and it works for me. I track my Ramsey Steps there as well as month-month Net Worth etc.

Mrs. Micah said...

Quite an intimidating project. Perfect for the small step approach, however. That's something you can't think about in its entireity or it'd just seem like too much.

Good luck!

RacerX said...

Well, like I said I finished it before I wrote the piece, but now amintaining it will be the chore!

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