Tackling categories as a new user

I’m a new user. Finally got all 50+ of my accounts loaded in and now have ~2,000 transactions to categorize manually. Are there any add-ins or strategies for tacking the initial categorization workload? I’ve started with AutoCat, but it isn’t really making much of a dent.

I don’t think it will help you for past transactions, but you can add the following two columns to your Transactions sheet, “Merchant Name”, “Category Hint” and that would give you what Yodlee thinks it is.
What you can also do is look at recurring expenses, tag that in AutoCat and then re-run Autocat. (For example, you might see a whole bunch of Exxon transactions, you can then copy the description and setup a Gas autocat.) I think the Recurring Transactions (Docs: Recurring Expenses Template) might help.

1 Like

Welcome, @sdorn77 :wave:

One thing to note is that you don’t have to categorize all 2000+ transactions. You can just start with this week or this month and go forward, or even just last month and this month.

AutoCat is by far the best option for helping with this. There is a “Suggest rules for past 90 days” feature in the AutoCat sidebar in Google Sheets (not yet available for Excel) that will suggest rules based on recurring transactions (transactions with the same description).

As @yossiea noted, you can get the Category Hint column in there, but it doesn’t fill retroactively so you’d need to basically start over in a fresh template download, insert that column, then fill in your transactions to see what the hint is for each. The Category Hint is also not used in any of our templates so it’s more of a reference point than actually doing the categorization work for you unless you use all the categories suggested in the hints in your Categories sheet, then copy/paste those into the actual Category column.

Thanks. These are helpful. I’m not much of a Google Sheets user, so trying to stick to Excel. I don’t think there is a way to use both or move back and forth. Seems like that would cause problems with the formatting/formulas.

I personally sort by my description column and categorize a lot of stuff in bulk that way. That should get a large chunk of it taken care of (unless I’m unusually habitual with my spending… :thinking:)