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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  • I don't shop Amazon much and have discovered the problem you describe.  Have started just recording each purchase separately, instead of the "bunch" that I order.  If you do much shopping on Amazon I don't know how that would work, would imagine that would be too much work.

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  • I don't import transactions, so the situation you describe doesn't occur for me, although I do receive individual charges for items that are shipped separately. It's really a pain to track. I turn my original $175 transaction into a split (if it wasn't already) and separate out each segment of their "delayed billing" that you describe, as the appear. Way too much work, IMHO, but I can't think of a better way.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      JoeDid I just leave the original transaction uncleared until all items show up on my credit card.

      Reply Like 2
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Heh, that's probably easier than doing it piecemeal, but in my case "anal-retentive" has a hyphen. :)

      Reply Like 2
      • ClimbingOutOfDebt
      • I think I can I think I can
      • ClimbingOutOfdebt
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Same. Then I delete the original transaction. It's pretty straightforward.

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    I personally would budget the whole amount and then post the transactions as they happen not as one chunk.

    Reply Like 1
  • are you a Prime member?  if you become a Prime member (shipping is free) then you could limit your shipping entry to the $90 a year, and put in as your long term budget. 

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  • I do a split at the time of purchase (and add a note against each split item to state product the cost relates to): 

     

    Then if they do come in bit by bit across my bank account I add the line item as a new item in my account (again with a note to say what the product was) and mark that as cleared:

     

    ...and then edit the original split transaction and delete the individual line item which came in separately (note the minus symbol beside each split item).  At the time of doing this I need to edit the total amount of that original outflow amount in order to allow that to save correctly:  

    This then allows me to clear the remaining items if they come in to my bank as one transaction, else repeat until all are split out into individual transactions and cleared. 

     

    Reply Like 5
  • I'll put in the original amount and then fix it.  It is actually usually easy to fix if you know the trick... After a short time after the order got to amazon and go to your order history and then click the 'view invoice' link that his hidden to the top right of the order it breaks down the order per charge on the card correctly 99% of the time.  

    Where this process doesn't work for me is during Christmas and my Birthday when my wife orders me presents and I'm not allowed to look at the orders/invoices.

    Reply Like 5
  • Add every item as an individual transaction in YNAB as soon as you order. Then clear the transactions in YNAB as they clear in your checking account. Done :)

    Reply Like 3
  • Thanks for all the ideas.  

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  • A Purchase is split into Orders, each with their own Order #: 

    Your purchase has been divided into 2 orders.

    So I put in the amount associated with each Order and put the Order # in the memo section. It is a PITA.

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      • labuschin
      • labuschin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Pilot you can't clear individual splits. so this doesn't help him to stay reconciled.

      Reply Like 1
      • Gray Pilot
      • Gray_Pilot.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      labuschin Each Order is delivered and charged in one transaction. Whether or not you split the Order is irrelevant.

      Reply Like 1
      • labuschin
      • labuschin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Pilot But OP told us that:

      "Then the ten things you ordered ship at different times. Amazon then charges you for each of the shipments when they ship."

      If those ordered products are different transactions which of course add up to the complete purchase amount, you can clear them individually as they are charged by Amazon. This helps to keep your account reconciled as accurately and timely as possible.

      Reply Like 1
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      labuschin Agreed: when the order contains items from multiple categories whose spending you are tracking, then it's necessary to clear each category of items.

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    • Sara G
    • Lasering and printing all the things
    • inaflashlaser
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    This is the worst part about ordering so many different things from Amazon!  Just this morning I wished we could link our Amazon account and have it import the item names of what we actually bought.

    Reply Like 2
      • Sara G
      • Lasering and printing all the things
      • inaflashlaser
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      I did discover that I can search in my Gmail account for the amount and it usually finds the Amazon order confirmation... Handy for those times when you have no recollection what the imported statement line is.

      Reply Like 1
  • Also, if you use the Amazon Visa (Chase) credit card, it will have the Order # with the transaction amount. But unfortunately, it is still a manual process of looking up the Order # on Amazon to correctly categorize the orders.

    Reply Like 1
  • I include the order number(s) in the memo section so I can tie them back to my original entry.  

    Reply Like 1
  • I'm sorry to say I just wait for the transactions to download and then go back to the Amazon orders history to match it up. It's certainly not the most efficient use of my time, but I found that trying to anticipate the breakdown and then inevitably having to go back and fix it anyway was just more work.

    Reply Like 3
      • Money's Boss
      • Give dollars jobs, and you're the boss.
      • moneysboss
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Mantis  I'm beginning to agree.  I had to unravel a mess today.  I guess as long as you know the money is in the correct "bucket" you can sort it out later.  Cheers!

      Reply Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Mantis This is my method too. But I have a lot of room for slop in my budget. If money is tight, it's probably not a good idea.

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      • Orchid Mantis
      • Ecologist on hiatus
      • Orchid_Jackal_9a45b17ee
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Might as well update I guess... I still wait for the transactions to download, but now just throw almost all Amazon purchases (and most Target etc. purchases) into a very broad category called "Household purchases". I don't break them down and split anymore. I realized that I really don't care about more detailed spending breakdowns.  But yes, all these methods become much easier when you're not watching every penny.

      Reply Like 1
  • Man, it's Christmastime and I'm in the same boat James is in right now. Super stressed my wife out cause she couldn't find the numbers in her Amazon orders that showed up on our card in YNAB. Not fun.

    Reply Like 1
  • I make a paper list from the Amazon order in columns, each column represents a category. Then I add them up on a calculator. Then I get the bank statement and add them up. If the two lists don't tally I make a guess at which category the missing few pounds (it isn't much) goes into.

    It is a tedious PITA, but I can't think of a better way. 

    To be honest, although boring, it doesn't really take very long. Maybe 10 minutes. <shrug>

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  • Something I saw on Reddit: Don't bundle items. If you order things as you need them, instead of making big purchases all at once, this situation will fix itself. 

    But, like others have said, this the easiest thing (for those on Direct Import):

     

    1) Manually enter in the ENTIRE transaction

    2) Split accordingly in YNAB

    3) If/when Amazon divides the transaction into smaller orders and they post to your Amazon Visa card (the ONLY car you should be using on Amazon [5% cash back!]) delete your manual entry. Boom. 

    Reply Like 1
  • I haven’t encounterd this yet but it sounds like the ability to match multiple downloaded transactions to a single manually entered transaction would be handy. 

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  • Adding the order number to the memo field has been kind of a game changer for me to figure out what was what when I have to go back and split it up into multiple transactions. It's challenging to find the actual transaction total otherwise.

    Reply Like 1
  • I've really been struggling with this lately. I buy so many of my essential needs from Amazon that it gets very confusing.

    I've tried  2 methods: only ordering 1 thing at a time. Put it in my shopping cart, go to check out and buy it. Do the same with the next item. Then you get all separate transactions and know exactly what it's for when the transaction clears. My hesitation in continuing this is that it's wasteful and I don't want to receive 6 separate boxes at one time.

    The only other method I've used that sort of works is to enter the entire amount of the transaction as soon as I order it. Then as each transaction imports, I clear each one of those until the total adds up to what the original amount was. Then I delete the initial transaction that I manually entered when I completed the order. This too though is a PITA.

    Neither is perfect and if someone has discovered something better, please pass it along!

    Reply Like 1
  • I spent a frustrating amount of my evening last night trying to reconcile my Amazon purchases instead of working on my sewing project. I managed to figure it out, but I definitely! want to streamline that process if I can. Based on what I learned in this thread, I'm going to record the transaction, split it according to the orders (putting the order# in the memo) as listed in the order confirmation email and hope it all matches the next time I reconcile.

    My struggle last night was down to Amazon originally giving me one order with 3 items totaling one number, later splitting it because one of the items shipped later, thus changing the original split and having unrecognizable entries in YNAB. Ugh. I think I had YNAB, Amazon, 3 calculator windows and both the credit card statement and the running register open at once trying to get everything to work.

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  • I usually just wait for the transactions to come through the credit card since I know what categories they will come out of and about how much in each rather than deal with entering then fixing later.  I often have to change the imported entries anyway since YNAB always selects the last used category for the payee.

    Maybe not the best method, but I always have both YNAB and my Amazon Orders page open near each other so it works for me.  *shrug*

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 You can change the settings in payee management so that YNAB will not automatically categorize Amazon and any other payees which often have different categories—I have this setting for both Amz and Target.

      Reply Like 1
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Ooooh thanks for the tip!

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  • I enter the initial transaction (assuming all the same category), and then as each shipment clears the bank, i will approve each transaction and go reduce the original transaction I entered by that amount.  This way, the ledger is always accurate.  The problem with leaving the original transaction unedited is that now your budget is incorrect.  Just as an illustration:

    I spend $100 at Amazon and put in a transaction for $100.

    They split that into 3 shipments, one for $25, one for $60, and one for $15.  Let's say they each clear the bank on different days (so the maximum annoyance 😃).

    On day 1, I approve the $25 transaction and reduce my original transaction of $100 by the same amount (so it's now $75).  Then $60 get's approved on day two and I reduce the original transaction again (so it's now $15).  Then, when the last shipment clears the bank, the amounts match (both $15), so the transactions link and I approve.

    This method makes sure that your budget is always accurate, that you know how much is left to clear from that order, and you get the last transaction to link for free since the amounts will match.

    Hope this helps!

    Reply Like 2
  • Another tip is the individual sellers will be separate orders, guaranteed. You might as well record them separate from the get go.

    However, "fulfilled by Amazon" counts as Amazon, and is likely (but not guaranteed) to be lumped into a single transaction.

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  • If I order many items at once from Amazon, I usually see how much it's going to be, then buy myself an Amazon gift card for the amount. I then log the purchase of the gift card in YNAB as a single purchase (you can still split this between multiple budget categories if necessary) and the Amazon order is placed using the funds on my Amazon gift card. That way, if Amazon splits it out, YNAB is not affected. 

    Reply Like 5
      • Jody
      • jodbot
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jon this is a super crafty idea. I never would have thought of this approach. 

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    • Jon The down side to this is that you can't use your credit card points via this method. You have to make the purchase on your Chase Sapphire (for example) or Amazon Store Card to use the cash back / points. I might be wrong, but this is what I've always observed.

      Also, can you even earn points if you make the purchase on your gift card vs the amazon credit card?

      Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 days ago
      • Reported - view
      void.pointer said:
      can you even earn points if you make the purchase on your gift card vs the amazon credit card

      Not on the actual purchase of "stuff", but you would get it on the purchase of the GC itself -- thus you still get the rewards.

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  • I seriously just spent two hours trying to follow my credit card statement with my Amazon account. It's such a pain!  After that I had to go back and try to match what I had posted to YNAB to the split charges on my card.  I think I am going to try splitting my orders from Amazon into my budgeted categories and  try making smaller orders more often. I've been out of town so didn't get this done in a timely manner and really don't want to have to do this again.  Amazon is such a pain it mentally makes me check myself before I place an order and ask "Do I really want this?" .  Gives me an extra incentive to stick to the budget. 

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    • Maroon Router See the above suggestion by  Jon to put a Gift Card on your CC and let all the piecemeal outflows occur on the GC balance.

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