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How do I enter all of my account information from the time I opened my accounts until now without messing up my register?

Special Request Question: I am crazy about tracking my finances and want to capture all of my financial information including everything from paychecks, transfers, bills etc. I want to capture every transaction from when the account was first opened until now. Obviously this adds up to a lot of transactions and I am falling behind entering transactions because I am always making more transactions every day. I want to connect with my bank to download transactions for the past 45 days (which is the limit my bank allows) and continue to do this so I will not have to go back and continue to catch up on transactions. When I add these accounts to Quicken it makes the opening balance the farthest back transaction from the 45 days. My opening balance for all of my accounts when originally opened was $50. How would I go about starting from the beginning without messing up my register or running balance? I may be confusing myself but it just seems overwhelming because it’s so much I am trying to accomplish but the longer I put it off without recording my day to day transactions I will be even farther behind! Help Please!

  • Edit: I am currently using Quicken 2013 Deluxe.
  • You can just keep adjusting the opening balance whenever you add older transactions.  You can change the date and amount.
  • A suggestion to consider - based on my experience in entering account history.
    For non-investent accounts [e.g., checkin, savings, CC] I found it easiest to work backwards - one month at a time.
    Note your current ending balance - write it down. [I'm assuming of course that it is correct:<)]
    Using statements, I entered the transactions for the first prior month and reset the opening balance per the statement.
    Now, double check that your current ending balance is still correct - if not, find the error and correct it before proceeding to the next prior month.
    For me, this made it easier to quickly find and correct entry errors.

    For investment accounts, working backwards does not work well; e.g., entering sells before the buys raises complications.
  • Thanks for all of your replies. I will use both of the suggestions. All of the transactions are checking, savings, or credit card.
  • How would I go about entering all my pay information for my paycheck? I like to track everything! The problem is over the time I have been in the military I have changed accounts that I have deposited my military pay into. I have every last one of my pay stubs but what would be the best way to track my paychecks across multiple accounts?
  • My paycheck has also changed over time to reflect different allowances so even if I setup my paycheck to what I currently make how would I manually enter my pay information for each month from the past?
You should create an account called "Checking" independent of the bank you use. If you switch banks. edit the "account Info". enter your paychecks into the check register.

Paychecks can be memorized, if there is a pattern you can memorize two or three "prototypical" paychecks. Otherwise you will just have to update the values manually each month from the paystub info.
  • Unless you are a real glutton for punishment with a lot of time on your hands, it is pretty tedious to enter past transactions. Start from now, and in a few months you will have a meaningful history of your finances.
  • Thanks for the information. I am a hard head. I had my backup file on a drive that got damaged. It was stupid on my part to do so but I am very serious about going back and doing it all. I dont have much time being that I am in the military but I will get it done at some point! I just have to track all my stuff so I can see where every single dime goes.
  • Thanks for the help everyone!
  • fanfare - I just want to clarify what you mean about the checking account. My pay is virtually never the same. My pay check has been deposited into different accounts over the years and some of my entitlements change based on where I am located. So are you saying that I should just make a checking account to just enter my pay check information for all of the years I am going back to and then just transfer money from that account to whatever account it was being paid to at the time? Or should I just enter the pay checks manually into the account it was going to at the time? Would that make it difficult to track taxes if I have it annotated across accounts? I also have allotments that the military sends directly from my pay check to other accounts I specify automatically. I still label those as salary because it is still part of my check just being sent to a different account. So how would I enter all my basic pay and entitlements, show what tax is being taken, and show that the allotments are leaving my pay check but being deposited into a different account? What is the best way to do all of the things I am trying to do? I hope I am not confusing in the questions I am asking. I just want to ensure I am taking the right step forward before I mess the whole thing up! Thanks again for your help resolving my issues.

When I answered at first, I assumed that you were a new Quicken user. But then you said you lost your hard drive. How was the scheme you used before working for you?


Or maybe you did just recently start with Quicken and you lost your work.


How many years are you planning to go back and reenter? If it is many, I still suggest it may not be worth the trouble.


By "Checking" I mean the account where your money goes (after deductions) so you have funds to pay your bills. I have always had just one "Checking" account. You don't have to do it that way but it seems simplest to me.


If you have other deductions (savings plan, health savings account, 401k etc) then an account for each of these needs to be created, the category will be the name of the account and the split amount will be negative.

For Taxes, the category will be FedTax, StateTax,  etc. you can set these up as you see fit based on the builtin categories that Quicken starts you off with.

I will  attach an example of a split Payroll deposit transaction.

If you have a lot of different deductions over time, you can set them all into the memorized transaction. Then you will have to decide if you want to delete splits that are zero when the category does not apply for that paycheck, or just carry the line as zero. Look at the reports to decide which way to go.

  • fanfare - Thanks again for your assistance. I have been using Quicken for years but have only tracked net amounts. I have always wanted to track gross amounts but have never quite figured out how to track my military pay since it is weird the way they have it setup. After losing all my Quicken data I figured it would be better to just start from the very beginning so I can track everything. I had everything before except the tax information but want to track that as well as tracking my TSP or 401K and other deductions for advances etc. I am aware this is going to take forever but I can’t stand it and it just bothers me not to have an accurate file of my entire history. I finally figured out a solution that seems to work for me. I have been playing around with this using test accounts with a different Quicken file so I don’t mess up the data I have so far. For my military pay I get paid on the 15th and then on the 1rst of the month. I have added 2 pay checks into Quicken. The first one I enter is for the 15th which I enter as salary but without any tax information. When I receive my end of the month pay I enter all of my entitlements including base pay, housing allowance, food allowance, etc. I then enter in all the tax information for the tax deductions so that I can see all the data for the current tax season. When I get to after tax deductions I then input my mid-month pay as a deduction which balances out my pay and then gives me the correct amount that would be deposited for the payday on the 1rst. I do have a separate account for my TSP or 401K account which is listed as pre tax deduction and have it automatically transfer to my TSP account I have setup. I think I am good to go now and have it figured out. Every month that follows I just change the amounts to reflect my current pay. It seems to be tracking everything so far and everything is balancing. Thank you again for your help you are the best. I have more questions but wasn’t sure if I needed to enter it as a new question since it seems I am dragging this thread out. Thanks.

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