How to make sure you don't miss a transaction

I am new to YNAB, just came over from Every Dollar.  I have struggled making sure I don't miss a transaction.  For Example,  I purchase something on Amazon (which has my debit/checking account attached) but forget to go in and record the purchase.  This could be an easy fix if it were just me, but there are 4 of us and we do alot of online shopping, easy to miss.  I have found myself going to my bank transactions site and spending way too much time making sure I have all the transactions noted in YNAB.  

Secondly, I use Quicken (have for years to keep track of my account).   I am not sure if I still need to also track my checking account with Quicken?  I am a little controlling so if it's not that much more work, I may just stay with it, but am totally open for suggestions!

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  • I was using MS Money when I first started using YNAB. After about a year, I just kinda stopped entering in transactions into MS Money without realizing it. I haven't missed it 5+ years later.

    As for entering transactions, if your financial institutions are available for direct import, you can set that up in order to pull in transactions you may have missed. Otherwise, you'll have to spend time reviewing the websites as you are doing now. I only do manually entry, and I don't think I spend more than 5 minutes a day checking our accounts... maybe 10 if it was a really busy day. Make sure you are clearing transactions and reconciling regularly.

    Having a lot of transactions in a day is probably a sign that there is still too much non-mindful spending going on.

    Like 2
    • nolesrule  makes total sense, thanks for taking time to respond!

  • If direct import doesn't work, you could also try file based import.  But frequent review and reconciliation should keep you on top of it. 

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  • It's just another habit to develop. Direct or File-Based import greatly speeds up clearing/reconciliation if it's been a while. Also use of the mobile app while standing in line is helpful.

    Online orders will send a receipt. Drop that in a "to do" folder that you tackle daily, 2x per week, or whatever.

    Like anything, if you want to see results, you need to put in the effort.

    Like 3
    • dakinemaui  thanks, the "to do" folder is a good idea.  I don't mind spending the time, just making sure I wasn't missing anything! 

  • Make sure you hit the reconcile button when you are done confirming your account is correct so the next time you check you just have to deal with the transactions that have happened since that time....

    Like 5
  • Hi Dave and Lisa ! Great question. Keeping on top of your transactions can be a challenge with multiple people making purchases. My personal favorites are entering transactions on the go in the mobile app, and reconciling regularly. It took my husband and I some time to build up the muscle of entering each transaction, but every bit helps!

    My colleague Jen (who has been using YNAB for 10 years now) shared her budgeting workflow in this Five Minute Fix blog post. You might find it helpful for workflow ideas, she'll walk you through what she does every day (in less than five minutes) as well as her weekly & monthly routine.

    Let us know how it goes!

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    • Nicole  Thanks for your input and the Five Minute Fix.  I think I have a better understanding and am not dreading the work!

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  • Welcome to YNAB!!!!  I also tried Every Dollar before this and I find YNAB to be a much more powerful program.


    I use both manual tracking (for budget categories I want to stay on top of and not wait until transactions clear to  have a current balance on) with also direct import from my banks, which match those transactions after they clear and download everything else that I didn't enter manually.  Did you know you can use direct import in combination with manual tracking and YNAB will automatically match the transactions when they clear your bank?  It's pretty awesome.  ED doesn't do that. 


    Another thing I is LOVE about YNAB is that it is basically tracking my entire balance in my accounts, not just my transactions, so that makes sure I can trust my sinking funds categories.  I found at some point while using ED that my total of my sinking funds and leftover budget categories didn't match what I had in my accounts and it really frustrated me to not know how that happened.  YNAB does this automatically.


    If you're from the Dave Ramsey scene, like I was, you might want to really seep yourself into the 4 rules and maybe read or listen to the YNAB book by Jesse Mecham.  I've been killing my debt the Dave way since May and I made a lot of progress, but I've also learned that I can't do this long term and I'm making my own plan that is optimized for me.  I'm glad I did gazelle intense for this year though, because paying off more than half of my big HEL loan quickly will save me more interest long term than if I had done it the other way around.

  • Wow, that's a lot of good stuff and it helps to confirm some things in my mind.    I will look into the book, always looking to learn more about getting rid of our debt!

    Thanks again,

  • Dave and Lisa Sounds like you've gotten a good start with good advice given. For me, entering transactions had to become a habit, like locking the door after leaving the house. I try my best to enter a transaction at point of sale; for example, if I have a restaurant meal, I pay the bill and then do a YNAB entry before getting up and leaving. Online shopping should fit this category as well. If entering a transaction immediately isn't practical - let's say, you're weighed down by shopping bags and need to make a dash to your parked car in the rain - get a printed receipt and put it in your pocket. Then, once you are home and settled in, enter the transaction. There will still be occasional moments where you forget an entry, and for that, linked accounts are tremendously helpful. In addition to the manual entry, my linked credit card and debt card accounts will important transactions, which 99% of the time I simply confirm, and 1% of the time I catch an error in the number I entered (such as $16.04 instead of $16.40) or catch a transaction I totally forgot to enter. Doing this, I find account reconciliation to be a breeze. Granted, this is going to be more complicated with four people, so perhaps come up with a system on which everyone can agree. If you find someone in the group is having trouble with making manual entries, perhaps you can have them either print out each receipt and "turn them in" to you at day's end, or keep a simple phone note that can be texted to you, such as "Wendy's - lunch - $10.50, Office Depot - school supplies - $17.00, Parking Garage - transportation - $7.15."

    Like 1
    • Slate Blue Pilot  Thanks, this is getting clearer as I hear from such helpful people!  After playing  with it since I posted, I am more confident I will be able to catch most transactions.  Thanks again for reaching out.

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