What is a good way to track Amazon?

So, I have always wondered if there is a good way to track Amazon orders? You know, you order a bunch of things and spend $175. You enter that expense. Then the ten things you ordered ship at different times. Amazon then charges you for each of the shipments when they ship. You import your bank transactions and they won't match your $175.00 entry. Has anyone come up with a good way to track this so it is easier to match up?

 

Thanks

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 10 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Walmart does the same thing. It's annoying. If the shipments are close, I wait and clear as orginal single entry. If an item is farther out, I split it up to how it's hitting the accounts.

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  • There is an option in your Amazon cart to consolidate everything into one shipment. This gets you one transaction. The negative is that everything comes at the speed of the slowest item in your cart. So if everything would be 2-day but one item is not prime eligible, say 5 day shipping, then everything comes in 5 days. I haven’t done this in a while so not sure if it always works. 

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  • Amazon purposely makes this difficult so you can not track your expenses.  It would be very easy to summarize the actual charges on a website and split them out according what item was purchased.  AMazon does not do this because they do not want you to track how much money your are spending.

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      • casner
      • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
      • casner
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Guitar Hanlon's Law: Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. (Or laziness of programmers.)

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Guitar In my view, it is nothing so nefarious.The separate / delayed charges are from 3rd party merchants when they get around to shipping your order. Amazon hardly knows when that will be.

      Just think of the outcry if Amazon charged your CC up front for the entirety with unknown delays.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      I just reference my orders on the website to keep them in sync. Also, I let direct import do its thing rather than manual entry. In this case, the lazy way ends in better results since you never know how Amazon is going to break up your order.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Unquestionably, spending guidance suffers by entering via delayed import, but ignoring that issue, it's not obvious to me that import is easier/better. The need to log back into Amazon and hunt down my order in order to categorize a transaction once imported seems like it will take longer overall. I'd have to work on my memory or perhaps buy fewer things from them. 😆

      Superbone said:
      you never know how Amazon is going to break up your order.

      It seems pretty clear under the "Transactions" link in the order.

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  • If you're looking for a single outflow to hit your CC, try this approach.

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    • dakinemaui It's not the number of outflows that is the issue, it's that you have to cross-reference each transaction to the appropriate category in my budget. That work isn't reduced by the linked method.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      void.pointer 

      You're not going to get away from categorization. Just like you might split a purchase at Safeway between Groceries and Auto Maintenance (wiper fluid).

      The issue with Amazon is multiple outflows because of THEIR processing. The linked method is a way to sweep that complication under the rug.

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      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      void.pointer You could set up one gift card per category and only put items of that kind into the order. Then the next kind of items into another order.

      This would be pretty cumbersome to set up and execute, but you wouldn't have to categorize anything hitting each gift card as you already know the category.

      You likely could miss an erroneous transaction this way and YNAB would end up missing a lot of details of what was purchased. And you would likely incur some added shipping charges and such for some stores.

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    • Moohouse I never categorize my purchases on Amazon in advance because of a few reasons:

      • I never know which transactions are going to hit my account (This is supposedly solved with the gift card idea)
      • When splitting single big transactions, how do you account for tax for each item? It's mostly guess work and causes unnecessary dollars to be spent out of categories.

      Also I always categorize *after* I import items. Basically once a week, I go to my Amazon credit card account, click Import, and go to my bank and cross reference the charges with my order list on Amazon. Then, for each order, I look at what was in that invoice and that's how I know how to categorize the charges. This is an extremely painful and time consuming process.

      What would be nice is if YNAB automatically connected to Amazon for each charge and added the items ordered to the memo field. In my case, the amazon credit card is provided through Chase Bank. And Chase puts the amazon order number on each transaction (in the details page for that transaction). You can use that on the amazon order history page to search for a specific order. This all needs to be automated.

      YNAB is very centered around payees being unique, or at least, associated directly with a single category. These mega-giant stores break this assumption and make YNAB very unintuitive to use. But this probably only affects people that categorize transactions after import or during reconciliation. Those that are diligent about adding and categorizing transactions "at the register" probably don't have much of an issue.

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      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      void.pointer I'm pretty sure automating something like this wouldn't be likely to ever emerge in the official YNAB app. However, YNAB opened their API for developers, and I'm sure Amazon has an API for pretty much everything (but it may be costly).

      So yeah, something may be done. If something had been created already utilizing the YNAB API with the Amazon API then I guess it would have been mentioned in this thread already?

      Unless you want to code this yourself, you probably have to pay someone to make it. And even if you retain the rights to this code I doubt you'd earn back your investment by selling this to other YNAB users.

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  • I just go through them one at at time, matching up the charge the bank shows with what is in my order page.  Once they ship it, they create an separated section for each "charge" so I can usually find the amounts.

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  • I emailed [email protected] asking about this. I suggest you all do the same. Amazon does listen to complements and complaints.

     

    I got this feedback on my suggestion on searching the amounts and having a history of transactions.

     

    ---

     

    Our Order History Reports feature allows you to download a history of your physical orders, including information about ordering, returns, item details, and refund activity for a specified date range. At this time, you cannot download physical orders placed prior to 2006 or digital orders (including Kindle, Digital Music, etc.).

    If you'd like, you can create Order History Reports for your physical orders using the link below:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/b2b/reports

    The report is in a "csv" format, which is compatible with Microsoft Excel. Depending on the date range you select and the number of orders, the time it takes to generate an order history report can range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes. Very large reports may take up to 24 hours to create.

    For detailed instructions, visit our Help pages:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200131240

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Holly G. I'm not sure you understand the issue described in the OP. The Amazon report you linked merely lists individual items without regard to actual transactions, which is fairly useless.

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      • Holly G.
      • Financial Coach
      • Tomato_Ink_b81bd051fc5e
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui   I do understand the question. 

       

      I was hoping this would help too.  

       

      It isn't an easy solution.  I did ask that specific question to Amazon.   They passed  on my request for searchable transactions including those lumped together. Good idea to ask them the same request. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Holly G. Amazon already has the "Transactions" information on the Order Detail page. Unfortunately, it won't be accurate until things are shipped. In other words, there's nothing additional to be done on the Amazon side. (I doubt a list from Amazon would be available any earlier than from your bank.)

      I suppose if Amazon charged the entire thing up front that would also fix the problem, but I'm pretty sure very few people would prefer that.

      The easy workaround is to take the 15 seconds to go through the Amazon Gift Balance. Amazon can break it up as they wish without impact to your transaction entry in YNAB. (This does assume the AGB is not in YNAB, of course.)

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  • So, my wife and I have run into this a lot. The easiest thing is just buy one thing at a time, as you need it. If Amazon happens to ship two items at once, or split them up, no worries.

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    • Coral Violin I'm certain that I've made separate orders before, which Amazon combined into a single CC transaction if shipped together. I'm talking about full "checkouts", not merely several One-Click purchases. I can't say that's the case now because I've adopted the gift card workaround and prefer a grouped transaction in YNAB (keeping related things together).

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