Prefacing Category/Group names - pros & cons?

Brand new user setting up categories.

I’ve seen examples of experienced users prefacing their Category and Group names with numbers and letters - example below. I don’t fully understand but assume this helps with sorting or report building down the road?? I know I can always edit later, but I’m trying to get as much correct as possible the first time.

Do it or skip for now?

Thank you!

EXAMPLE: Category Group

H.1 Mortgage 20-Housing
H.2 Home Improvements 20-Housing
H.3 Furnishings 20 - Housing
F.1 Groceries 30 - Food etc
F.2 Dining 30-Food etc
F.3 Alcohol 30-Food etc
U.1 Phone 40-Utilities
U.2 Internet 40-Utilities

We preface some Categories and Groups with the street numbers of our rental properties to help with tax reporting. We also use Tags to help with reporting as described below.

At tax time, our accountant wants a list of all rental-related income and expenses separated for each property.

So, we preface categories related to our rentals with the street number of the property. e.g. 654 Insurance, 7009 Insurance 654 Property Tax, 7009 Property Tax, 654 Rent Income, 7009 Rent Income, etc.

We also have number prefixes for Groups related to our rentals. e.g 654 Income, 654 Expenses.

In addition, we use tags to help create reports. All transactions related to our rentals are tagged “Rentals.” All transactions related to a specific address are tagged with their street number.

So, a single transaction for one of our rentals might have the following attributes in the transactions tab:

Description: Henderson County Tax Collector
Category: 654 Property Taxes
Group: 654 Expenses
Tags: 654, Rentals

This structure allows us to create a Pivot table using the Groups and Tags to filter all Rentals and subtotals for both rentals separated by address.

For what it’s worth, we didn’t start categorizing our transactions this way. After using Tiller for about a month, we restructured our categorization and used one of the tools provided by Tiller to reassign our transactions.

I’m sure there are other reasons to preface Categories with numbers or some other means of separating them for reporting purposes but this is how we use them.

Hope this helps.

My suggestion is to keep it simple, I think you will get more value my just using the Groups and Categories. Using H.1 Mortgage 20-Housing has lots of moving parts and I am not sure what real value it brings.

If you do need more complexity in the future then you can always add it. However, if you do change the name of a Category in the future, make sure you go to the transactions, filter on the old CAtegory name and update all of them. Otherwise the sheets will report it incorrectly.

My reply to @ScottyMutt … included a mistake about using tags. If you decide that you want to use tags as I described in my first reply to your post and if you want to use the Tiller Solutions: Tags Report, the tags need to be text. They cannot be numbers. And, multiple tags should be separated by commas but no spaces.

So, my example of 654, Rentals will not work with the Tags Report for two reasons that are easily corrected.

  • 654, Rentals includes a space after the comma. Tags should be separated by a comma but no spaces.

  • 654 is a number. Changing this first tag to 654 [text value],Rentals fixes the problem. We use the street name of the rental for our text value.

Welcome @ScottyMutt

My reasoning for prefacing my groups was to be able to reorder the appearance on the monthly budget sheet, i used numbers but left room between the ones i have selected if I’d like to simply add another later

I.e. 01 living, 05 discretionary

This way the highest spend groups show up at the top of my monthly budget

I second what @richl said in that if you rename a category that already has assisgned transactions you’ll need to change them to the updated name in your transactions sheet