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As I prepare to meet with my IFA tonight, I like to use my computer to balance my personal finances. In particular, I use Microsoft Money – a product that, sadly, Microsoft stopped updating and selling some years ago.

And it’s a shame because it’s a simple product that’s ideal for the home user. There are alternatives, but they’re aimed mainly at business.

Personally, I balance my budgets by retaining receipts, adding them into Money and then downloading my statement from my bank – Money will then reconcile the two, showing me discrepancies. At a time when identity theft is an issue, this also helps to ensure that nothing is being spent that I don’t know about!

The solution are online providers – this has the added advantage of not having to download your data but, then again, you have to trust the provider with your financial information.

I’ve tried some but few work outside of the US and those that can be configured for the UK often miss key features. The best I’ve found so far is Money Dashboard, but that only lets you view and report on finances – you can’t add any details and perform conciliation.

The best, as far as I can tell, is Mint, but that’s US only at the moment.

If anybody has come across anything that works for the UK market then, please, let me know.