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I've been procrastinating with organizing my finances, but I have most of my receipts from this year.

Are there any tutorials out there that are geared for people who are a little behind with tracking their expenses for the year? (Using Quicken would be ideal but not necessary.)

If not, I may just need to figure it out on my own and post how I did it. :)

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2 Answers

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I don't know of any tutorials on the subject.

If you are able to do so I'd recommend linking Quicken to your account via the internet and downloading as much history as you can. Once that history is in categorize it appropriately and see where you're at.

Your bank may allow you to download longer periods of history manually through their web interface. If this is the case download the history for the entire period you want and manually import it into Quicken. Many banks only allow you to download a month or two at a time. If this is the case I'd recommend importing it in date order so Quickens internal balances don't get confused.

If you aren't able to connect Quicken to your bank, or download a transactions file from your bank I recommend you organize all your receipts and records by date. Once this is done, every day enter one weeks worth of history by hand, starting with the oldest. Categorize the expenditures and income as you go. You'll probably be caught up in less than a month.

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When I've gotten substantially behind, I sometimes find it's better to have a clean start. Pick a recent date like start of the current month (or start of the previous month, etc) and reset the account to match the balance on your paper statement from the same date ("Update Balance" in Quicken). You don't get the historical information, but you do get yourself back on track which helps more in the long term.

Don't let fear of your pile of receipts keep you from making forward progress.

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The "reconcile" function should do this very quickly, and the difference will appear as an adjustment. If you know roughly what you spent you can then split the adjustment - e.g. if you think you spent $200 on electrical utilities take $200 off the adjustment and make a dummy payment of $200 to Electrical utilities. –  DJClayworth Jan 5 '11 at 16:27
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