Help a newbie deal with Amazon--second attempt

Off to a bad start. First post was accidentally posted prematurely and I had to delete it. Here’s the full post, I hope!

I’m new to Tiller, having moved from Quicken due to a bank change. My goals are modest, mainly just tracking expenditures and basic budgeting. I am tech-challenged! The biggest issue I’ve encountered is tracking Amazon purchases, typically several dozen a month. From looking at support, I have a basic idea of what needs to be done, but need some help with the specifics. As I understand it, I need to:

  • Create a new Account labeled Amazon. I don’t have to worry about linking accounts since there will be no automatic data fill.
  • Use the Amazon website Order History Report function to download a csv file of purchases
  • (here’s where I get confused) Choose which columns from the csv file are needed, and edit them if necessary so that they match my main Tiller spreadsheet
    • Which columns are essential?
    • Do I just manually cut and paste the data one column at a time into my Tiller sheet?
    • Is there a way to automate this?
    • Should I consider switching from Excel to Google Sheets? I chose Excel because I had some very basic familiarity with Excel, but the lack of full support is an issue. I see a csv importer for Google not Excel.
  • Manually categorize the purchases once they are in the Tiller sheet so I use the proper categories?
  • I pay Amazon with one of a few AMEX cards. I presume it’s best to categorize the AMEX payments for AMZ as transfers, but is there something I need to do to make sure that the purchase costs are zeroed out versus payments from AMEX?

Sorry for posting such basic stuff but this is the last hurdle for me to feel like I’m back to some degree of control over my finances—Thanks!!

If you’re just starting out and don’t have a strong reason for using Excel, you’ll probably find it easier using Google Sheets. There’s currently more tools and support for that version (Excel should eventually catch up). The CSV importer in Google Sheets should make things easier for Amazon imports, but you may end up frustrated with the Amazon data feed, as I did. I used to import that and try to reconcile all my transactions to the Amazon data, but found so many discrepancies I ended up stopping that and simply copy/pasting item descriptions from the Amazon orders page.

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Appreciate the advice! If I can impose, can you give me more detail on how you copy/paste from the Orders Hisotry? Directly into your main Tiller spreadsheet? I assume that would be date, item description, amount, account (“Amazon”), and then add teh category from the Tiller list of categories? Boy, that seems tedious for someone like me who with my wife probably purchase 50-75 items a month from AMZ. But if that’s the nnly way…I guess I can do that. Thanks!!!

Yea, for each amazon transaction, I go to the amazon “Returns and Orders” page and find the order that matches the amount of the transaction. If it’s multiple items, I typically split the transaction and try to guestimate the cost of each item, which is sometimes harder than it sounds. You should probably try the CSV thing at least once, perhaps it works better for your workflow than it worked for mine, and at least you’d understand the challenges, and if they could be overcome.

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Good advice. Will let you know if I get anywhere with the csv download.