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Goofy Category items in Quicken
Old 08-21-2014, 07:12 PM   #1
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Goofy Category items in Quicken

OK, here's one for you...

We were gifted with a Sodastream thingie a while back and I finally got around to exchanging the CO2 cartridge. So the question occurs to me, "Do I put this expenditure in the Grocery category?" It clearly isn't groceries, but it will prevent me from buying 2 liter bottles of Club Soda which I do count as groceries.

Do any of you have examples of oddball items that just don't fit naturally into any budget categories?
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:20 PM   #2
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I have a misc. category.

That said - I often categorize based on where I bought it. If it's off Amazon, or from Target - it's more likely to end up in my "misc" category. If I bought the cartridge at Costco - it gets lumped in with groceries.

That's because I rarely buy just 1 thing at Target, Amazon, or Costco - and so I use the category that applies the broadest. I don't typically take the time to do split categories on a $50 receipt from Target.
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:40 PM   #3
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I would put this in my home consumables category which includes thinks like batteries, toilet paper, water filters and such.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:49 AM   #4
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In my system this would be accounted for under Home Maintenance and Improvement. That category includes goods (eg new appliances and furnishings) and services (eg carpet cleaning) as well as improvements (eg painting). The air filter I just bought will go in this category.

I suppose if I were spending a lot in this category, I could divide it into
- Appliances and Furnishings
- Services and Repairs, ie Maintenance
- Home Improvements (Capital Expenditures)

I lump toilet paper, cleaning fluids and the like in with Groceries, because they are all consumables and are usually purchased together. I know, it's arbitrary. I am too lazy to extract this information from the bills.

The important things are to be consistent and to minimize the Miscellaneous category. I have almost nothing in Miscellaneous.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:41 AM   #5
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In my system this would be accounted for under Home Maintenance and Improvement. ...

The important things are to be consistent and to minimize the Miscellaneous category. I have almost nothing in Miscellaneous.
Consistent and minimize Miscellaneous. These are my goals. Looking back over 20 years of Quicken records, I have successfully reduced Miscellaneous (it was huge originally). Consistency is sometimes more difficult, I found that even something as important as Mortgage Interest has ended up in different places (Housing, Interest Expense).

I'll get there.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:57 AM   #6
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In my Quicken world this would fall into the "Household" category. I don't recall if this category was provided by Quicken or if I created the category. For me, the household category is where I tabulate household cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels and other consumable items.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:17 AM   #7
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Consistent and minimize Miscellaneous. These are my goals. Looking back over 20 years of Quicken records, I have successfully reduced Miscellaneous (it was huge originally). Consistency is sometimes more difficult, I found that even something as important as Mortgage Interest has ended up in different places (Housing, Interest Expense).



I'll get there.

In my Excel spreadsheet I have made a row called Mortgage(s). The payments are identical every month, so I have filled in all the columns from January to December. I have done the same for Car Payments and HOA Fees. Not only does this reduce error, but it also makes data entry easier at the end of each month. I also preenter intermittent expenses that I know about, such as income tax installments.

Perhaps Quicken does not allow you to do that. If you have to enter every data point individually and decide which category it belongs in, it must be a bit of a PITA.


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Old 08-22-2014, 08:34 AM   #8
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For my budget (not Quicken) I have a category named Groceries and Supplies for buying stuff that also isn't food. Plus, I don't want to go to the trouble of splitting the expense each time from the receipt when recording into the budget. But now, I do like the category of home consumables that Katsmeow mentioned.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:30 AM   #9
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Definitely groceries for this one, only because it is being used to replace a "true" grocery item.

I have three categories for non grocery expenditures:
* Home Maintenance
* One Time Expenses
* Purchases

Home Maintenance includes anything needed to repair or replace the home structure and major appliances.

One Time Expenses are for things (excluding Home Maintenance items) that need periodic replacement (Mattress, TV, Furniture, Cars).

Purchases includes anything not included in the above. If I upgrade something that would normally go under Home Maintenance or One Time Expenses it goes here instead. This category is 100% discretionary.
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:14 PM   #10
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Perhaps Quicken does not allow you to do that. If you have to enter every data point individually and decide which category it belongs in, it must be a bit of a PITA.
No, this is just a case of user error. Quicken will do a nice job of tracking categories. What happened is that when we carried mortgages pre-2008 I told Quicken one thing then when we re-acquired a mortgage after renting for a while, I seem to have told it something else. I don't know why I didn't go back and make sure I was being consistent, but I didn't.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:46 PM   #11
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Perhaps Quicken does not allow you to do that. If you have to enter every data point individually and decide which category it belongs in, it must be a bit of a PITA.
You are obviously quite comfortable with your spreadsheet . . . and . . . if you have never used Quicken, you may want to give it a try.

A default category is associated with each unique payee. For example, if I want to record a meal at Flying Fish, I go to the register (credit card), today's date will appear in the date field and the cursor will be on the date field. If the date is correct, I just press tab. If I want yesterday's date, I just have to press the minus key "-" one time - tomorrow's date press the plus key one time or as many times as needed, or I can type in any date I want in the form mmddyy and Quicken will figure out the first two digits of the year and insert the slash delimiters. The next field is the payee; all I have to enter there is "fly" and because the only payee that starts with "fly" is Flying Fish, Quicken auto completes the payee name for me. TAB. Next field is the amount, and you enter the digits and a decimal point if the cents are non-zero. I use the numeric pad for that. The category will have already been set to "Dining Out". Just press the Enter key a couple of times and done. It probably took me many times longer to write this that it would take to enter this transaction. A transaction like this would literally take 2 or 3 seconds to enter.

So, after opening the register, TAB, "fly", TAB, "26.99", ENTER, ENTER, ENTER. That's all. No PITA.
Everybody is different, but I find that I like to enter transactions on the day of so I don't have to enter a date.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:05 PM   #12
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You can also use subcategories. Like Groceries:Soda, or Groceries:C02.

You can also convert the soda stream to use a standard C02 container, like they use in restaurants. It will save a big bundle.
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Goofy Category items in Quicken
Old 08-22-2014, 06:23 PM   #13
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Goofy Category items in Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
You are obviously quite comfortable with your spreadsheet . . . and . . . if you have never used Quicken, you may want to give it a try.

A default category is associated with each unique payee. For example, if I want to record a meal at Flying Fish, I go to the register (credit card), today's date will appear in the date field and the cursor will be on the date field. If the date is correct, I just press tab. If I want yesterday's date, I just have to press the minus key "-" one time - tomorrow's date press the plus key one time or as many times as needed, or I can type in any date I want in the form mmddyy and Quicken will figure out the first two digits of the year and insert the slash delimiters. The next field is the payee; all I have to enter there is "fly" and because the only payee that starts with "fly" is Flying Fish, Quicken auto completes the payee name for me. TAB. Next field is the amount, and you enter the digits and a decimal point if the cents are non-zero. I use the numeric pad for that. The category will have already been set to "Dining Out". Just press the Enter key a couple of times and done. It probably took me many times longer to write this that it would take to enter this transaction. A transaction like this would literally take 2 or 3 seconds to enter.

So, after opening the register, TAB, "fly", TAB, "26.99", ENTER, ENTER, ENTER. That's all. No PITA.
Everybody is different, but I find that I like to enter transactions on the day of so I don't have to enter a date.

Thanks for the Quicken lesson! I tried it years ago when my bank was offering a free version, but I did not like the way it was doing accrual accounting so I dropped it.

Here's what I do:
1. Collect all receipts for the month in a Ziplok bag.
2. On the first day of the next month, print a copy of bank statement and credit card transactions for the previous calendar month.
3. Add up all transactions in each of my categories and enter the total* into the appropriate cell in the column for the previous month. Occasionally add Comments for unusual items.
4. Reconcile entries with receipts, adding cash transactions.
5. Save updated worksheet.
6. File receipts for any items with a warranty and any tax deductible expenses.
7. Shred all other receipts and statements.
8. Make coffee and study the results. Write monthly commentary below calculations. Plan current month's spending.**

* Total can be zero or can include one or more purchases in category. For example, if I shopped for groceries 4 times in the month, there would be one Groceries entry amounting to the sum of the four bills. I do not attempt to document every item.

** This entire process takes approximately 30 minutes per month.

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Old 08-22-2014, 06:36 PM   #14
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OK, here's one for you...

We were gifted with a Sodastream thingie a while back and I finally got around to exchanging the CO2 cartridge. So the question occurs to me, "Do I put this expenditure in the Grocery category?" It clearly isn't groceries, but it will prevent me from buying 2 liter bottles of Club Soda which I do count as groceries.

Do any of you have examples of oddball items that just don't fit naturally into any budget categories?
Didn't mean to go on a tangent. Just use whatever works for you. Nobody is going to take your Quicken database and grade it.

I struggled for a while with categories and subcategories. For example, if Auto is a category. I might have subcategories like Fuel, Maintenance & Repairs, Insurance . . .
But I might also have an Insurance category with subcategories Health, Auto, Home, Umbrella.

Then what category do you use for auto insurance?
Auto:Insurance, or Insurance:Auto? At one point I had both, which defeats the purpose of categories.

Just decide on one way to do it, and be consistent.
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:25 PM   #15
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You can also use subcategories. Like Groceries:Soda, or Groceries:C02.

You can also convert the soda stream to use a standard C02 container, like they use in restaurants. It will save a big bundle.
The conversion will be investigated after we determine if the Sodastream concept is viable in our household.

I started Groceries:Alcohol this year to try to better understand the impact of wine purchases on the budget.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:25 AM   #16
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I started Groceries:Alcohol this year to try to better understand the impact of wine purchases on the budget.
In our house we consider Alcohol to be a personal expense that needs to be prioritized with all other "personal wants". It comes out of our monthly personal spending allowance. If I want to buy a bottle of wine vs a ticket to an event with friends thats my decision. If he wants to buy cigars vs something for his hobby that's his choice and he needs to prioritze and spend accordingly.

Our allowances go into a spending category called "allowance" - no further breakdown / analysis required.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:36 AM   #17
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My typical split in Quicken from wally world may look like this.
Groceries, pets/cats, beer and wine, household.
SodaStream refill would go in groceries, paper towels/TP, groceries a new roasting pan, household.

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