Autocat Categories for Most Things (Mint Migration)

Dear Tiller fans,

I now have a working setup of Tiller after having done Mint for some years. The disadvantage to using Tiller (among its obvious advantages) is that we don’t get a million of categories for free. We have to create each one in a long and painstaking process every month.

How is everyone coping with that?

I was thinking of going into Mint and seeing if I can create an export of categorization based on my history. I’ll post if I get anywhere - and looking for other suggestions.

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Have you looked at the Autocat? You create it once, and then it runs every time you load new transactions. You can access Autocat from the Tiller menu, or even edit it yourself on the Autocat sheet.

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Hi @kate,

This is how I have been working to address categories/groups and to hopefully learn from others: Category & Groups

Here is the Google Sheet link

I have found in fairly short time that once I refined the categories and groups to my style and then using AutoCat to categorize and rename transactions that Tiller is far better than the other tools I have used.

Hope this feedback and suggestion helps!

P.S. I’d enjoy learning from what you export from Mint.

Welcome to Tiller, @kate. As @pete & @yossiea note, Autocat is your friend. It takes care of about 75% of my transactions monthly and is easy to setup.

Thanks all! I have been using autocat extensively, but not for credit card transactions. Autocat won’t help without an exhaustive list of stores, restaurants, shops and websites. :slight_smile:

So what I am asking is, how is everyone coping with the fact that each month you’ll have to create many new autocat categories or abandon categorization for spending accounts.

Based on this thread, I am guessing everyone really does manually set those up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a large autocat template that has some of these goodies?

Hi @kate – Can you post an example of a store, restaurant, shop, or website that is not working for you with Autocat? I’m wondering if you are using the full string of the transaction description rather than excerpting the parts that are constant (some transactions will show date specific information or other unique coding) and that is why it feels like you have to recreate the wheel each time? Are you sure you have your Categories tab correctly set up? You shouldn’t have to recreate anything monthly once you’re up and running.

You can grab your Mint categories by:

  • Go to your Mint Transactions page
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of the first page of transactions
  • Click “Export all XXX transactions”
  • Open the .csv file that downloads
  • Column F will show you all your categories
  • Consolidate this down to a list without duplicates and then you can paste it over into your Tiller categories sheet as a starting point
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@kate Are you saying that when you shop from a store for the first time (at least first time since using Tiller), you have to manually select which category it is, unlike with Mint where it would auto populate a logical category for you?
I think a major challenge with that is that we all categorize different stores differently. I moved away from Mint primarily because I got tired of it incorrectly guessing the category for me, but then I wouldn’t make the effort to fix it. With Tiller, I’m more likely to ensure everything gets categorized correctly.

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Hey @Kate! Like others (I think), I don’t have Autocat rules for all of my transactions, just the ones that turn up frequently. For my family, that amounts to about 50 rules (built over several years). These rules probably categorize 60% of what we spend each month and I do the rest manually. We use it for banking & credit accounts.

You’re right that if you want AutoCat to do all the work for you, you would need an exhaustive list of rules that you consistently add to each time AutoCat misses a transaction.

One neat thing about AutoCat is that you can use “multi-criteria rules” so you could have a single rule for all your restaurants, and you just keep updating the criteria. E.g. Description contains “Chipotle”,“Frank’s”,“Mellow Mushroom” etc

You might also experiment with the “Category Hint” column if you really just want it done for you. We don’t have a whole lot of documentation or topics about it, but if you insert a column into your Transactions sheet and call it “Category Hint” (without the quotes) it will fill in a category going forward (heads up, it does not retroactively fill transactions already in your sheet).

You could also start in a new sheet, insert the Category Hint column, and then fill it with your data to see what you get.

In the past, this column was hit or miss on accuracy, but it is a starting place, and I think it’s gotten better.

Setting up your Budget sheets to use Category Hint instead of Category would be something you’d need to do on your own, it’s not something we have documentation for or necessarily support, but it’s definitely doable and I’m 100% sure some savvy community person here could write up a show & tell for something like this.

Looking at you @jpfieber @Brad.warren @adambecker @cculber2 @jono @randy :wink: :superhero:

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Hello folks,

I think I am dealing with the same issue migrating from mint. Are there any “default” rules that exist somewhere that I can apply just to get me started? Is there any way tiller can “attempt” to categorize with Autocat?