I used Finale all through college, but the enormous price tag and yearly paid (minor) updates made me hate it. As a result I have switched to Musescore for everything.
It takes a while to get used to, but Musescore provides all the primary functions a composer would require, parts management, transposition, speedy entry with a midi device, and many other unlimited uses. This is much more powerful that Finale Notepad and other freeware. You can also export and import .xml and midi when working with other notation programs.
The major drawbacks I have found are lack of page layout options and some random bugs. Make sure you save frequently. It also takes a while to adjust to the interface, but if you read the help section, you'll catch on quick.
As a music notation option, you can't get better at $0. However, the full versions of Finale and Sibelius are better programs, but they also cost $600. If you are used to these programs, Musescore will seem clunky, but it get's the job done.
I give Musescore four stars. It's an amazing option out there made by the opensource community. It's not a perfect program, but it gets the job done and is constantly improving. I would also highly recommend this program for schools that want music notation that is more powerful that finale notepad, but is still free.