Although I keep receipts for these transactions, the receipts tend to just accumulate in my wallet for a couple of weeks until I get around to entering them all into Quicken at home. Some cash transactions don't have a receipt either, so I end up writing these items down on scraps of paper which I take home. Often these odd notes get lost before I can enter it into Quicken, making my cash reconciliation rely on the dreaded "miscellaneous adjustment" item.
What I'd like to do is record these daily transactions on my PC at work, since I usually have some spare time during lunch or tea breaks which I could use to keep these small transactions up to date. But there doesn't seem to be any small utility provided by Quicken for doing this, and I sure don't want to buy and install a second copy of Quicken on my work PC just for these few transactions!
Using an excel spreadsheet would be OK, except that Quicken doesn't import excel files, and I don't want to have to reenter transactions into Quicken at home if I've already done the data entry once. Luckily the old QIF file format Quicken originally developed for sending transaction data to technical support can provide a simple solution.
Older versions of Quicken used QIF to import transaction data from banks, credit providers and the like. But the more recent versions don't support QIF import except for Cash accounts. (It's been replaced by the more comprehensive 'Web Connect' or QFX format, which is based on the open format OFX). However, the QIF format is fine for recording simple transactions, and the way around this limitation is to save transactions in a QIF file and import it into a dummy Cash account setup in Quicken for this purpose. Once the transactions are imported they can then be simply moved to the appropriate account within Quicken, without having to reenter the transaction details.
As QIF files are plain text, you can use a simple text editor such as Notepad to enter the transactions. I just email the file to myself from work, and can import the file into Quicken at home with a couple of keystrokes.
The QIF format is fully explained in wikipedia, but for simple transaction data you just need a header line and a couple of data lines for each individual transaction. For example:
Imported into Quicken this data appears as:
and can be moved to the relevant accounts by highlighting a transaction and using the Edit/Transaction/Move Transaction command to move them to the relevant account.
If I used a PDA I could even enter these transactions as I made them in the shops, eliminating the need to even take the receipts back to the office to do the data entry.
Copyright Enough Wealth 2007