Microsoft is releasing the latest update of its popular personal-finance software, Money 2007, which includes a new $19.95 Essentials version. The pricier Deluxe, Premium, and Home & Business editions run between $29.95 and $89.95, depending upon whether you take advantage of the mail-in rebates. (we like the discounts but loathe the snail mail.) Money 2007 includes a one-screen view of multiple accounts, a bills calendar, a spending thermometer, and links to online banking and bill paying. The priciest edition includes small-business tools such as payroll services through PayCycle, credit-report monitoring, and donations and investment tracking.
Last year, we liked how both Money 2006 and Quicken 2006 helped us calculate a budget and pay bills online, but Intuit Quicken's extra features helped earn it a higher rating. How will this year's changes treat us? We're testing Money 2007, and we'll report back shortly. You can download a free trial of Money Essentials or Deluxe 2007 at microsoft.com/money. The boxed products are scheduled to be available next month.