Frequently Asked Questions

How do I handle the case where others pay me back for a large bill that I paid for?

We generally recommend using our grouped transactions feature for this use case. Assuming you footed the bill and your roommates end up paying you back their portion, group together all of these transactions and you should be left with a transaction that represents how much you paid. You can then treat this as a high-level transaction and assign a category to it.

If you don't want to bother recording your friends' payment, you can split the transaction and simply categorize the portion paid by your friends to a new category called "Reimbursed" which is excluded from totals and excluded from budgets. This ensures that amount is not counted towards your own expenses.

Is there a limit on how many transactions I can add?

There are limits to how many transactions you can upload on a single request but there isn't a limit on total transactions you add. This limit differs depending on the upload method (CSV or API).

For analytics and whatnot there's currently a hardcoded limit of 20,000 when fetching transactions, so if you have transactions over 10+ years, you may not be able to see the full picture if you do an "all-time" analysis.

How do I handle credit card payments?

For credit card payments, usually made up of one debit to your cash account and one credit to your credit card, we recommend using the default category "Payment, Transfer". This category is set to be excluded from totals and excluded from budgets, so these transactions should not affect your overall numbers or budget. Transactions in this category should also total up to $0 at the end of the month.

For instance, let's say you spend $10 at the grocery store and $50 on a few other purchases, all on the same credit card. You'll have expense transactions like the following:

  • Debit of $10, categorized Groceries

  • Debit of $20, categorized Shopping

  • Debit of $30, categorized Restaurants

You will end up making a credit card payment of $50 to cover all those expenses. This will be represented by two transactions:

  1. Debit of $50 denoting a credit card payment from your cash account

  2. Credit of $50 denoting a credit card payment received from your cash account

Transaction 2 & 3 should be categorized as "Payment, Transfer" (or any other category marked as exclude from budgets and exclude from totals) and should cancel each other out and you are left with the properly categorized debits above.

What are some ways I can stay on top of manually adding transactions?

Here are some suggestions from our users on how to stay on top of manually adding transactions!

  1. A recurring task in Things (my task manager of choice) that forces me to spend 5-10 minutes at the end of each week rounding things up.

  2. My partner and I live in a primarily cash-based society. We keep a little pile of receipts in the office and every few days when it stacks too high, one of us will take it and input transactions manually. Takes about 10 minutes each time!

  3. A Lunch Money user, Derek Reiff created Milk Money, a mobile-friendly solution for quick add on-the-go. (Github source)

  4. Create a Google form for inputting transactions, and every week or so, export the data as CSV and import it into Lunch Money

Finally, there is a secret, undocumented feature which we should really take time to improve upon– the Lunch Money Quick Add screen.

Why can't I update the category for my recurring transactions?

The issue is that recurring items all share the same category. So all transactions linked to the same recurring item will inherit that recurring item's category and merchant name. As such, updating the category of a transaction is a non-action as it gets overridden by the recurring item's category anyway.

If you want to change the category of that transaction, you will need to update the category of a recurring item from the Recurring Items page, thereby updating the category of all linked transactions. You also have the option on the Settings page of foregoing categories completely for recurring items and having them all be categorized as "Recurring".

How do I deal with duplicate transactions?

In some cases, you may find duplicate transactions appearing on the Transactions page. To easily go through duplicates and remove them, we recommend using the Deduplication tool.

The Deduplication Tool will search through the active transaction list view to locate similar transactions based on your choice of 2 or more criteria.

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Deduplication Tool, please see here.

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