Does the Software Have Features You Need?
And earlier financial software version may have all the features you need at a significant savings compared to the latest version. However, if there are three years or more between versions, buy the new version. The newer software will have improved to stay up to speed with changes in technology and from changes resulting from customer feedback.
Will Transaction Downloads Work?
If you are the customer of a small bank or other financial institution (FI), you may find that an older financial software version does not support automatic transaction downloads from your FI. This happens infrequently, but is a consideration. If you have just a few financial accounts, downloading and importing transactions yourself may be worth the savings.
The financial software you're considering should have a list of compatible FIs listed in the help or FAQ section on the software web site.
Older Versions Can Fade Into the Sunset
When considering an older version of financial software be sure that web-based features, including transaction downloads, won't stop working just a few weeks or months after you buy it. For example, Quicken supports versions three years out, so find out about the sunset or obsolescence policy for that version of financial software.
Most online financial software is free or does not require paid upgrades, so managing money online is another option for avoiding complications from sunset policies.
Buy and Upgrade Strategy
Many software titles offer lower prices to upgrade to the latest version than you would pay to buy the latest version itself. You may be able to save money by buying an older version, even if it is obsolete, then buying the latest upgrade (a strategy from Sue Chastain of About Graphics Software). You can find older versions of the software for bargain prices on eBay or other web sites and in some retail stores.
- Calculate the cost of the older financial software version plus the upgrade and compare to the price of the latest version to see if you would save money using this technique.
- If you find an offer for special upgrade pricing, read all the information for the offer. These offers usually do not extend to upgrading really old versions. You don't want to buy five year old software only to find that the upgrade deal does not apply.
- Avoid OEM software purchases unless the seller specifies that you will get a license or registration key. You will need proof of registration to upgrade at the lower price.
Maybe you don't think you need the latest financial software features, but will those new features save you time? Will the latest features make using the software more fun? In either case, if the cost for the latest financial software version won't wreck your budget, go ahead and indulge yourself.