A billion transactions

Since 2003 when Tammy was ending work and going on maternity leave with Miranda, we have been tracking our finances with the Fantastic Fiduciary Friend (the Triple-F). It has been an ongoing programming playground for me and good enough that we haven’t really worried about getting something off the shelf like Quicken to do the job.

However, times have changed since 2003.

  • We do almost all transactions by debit or credit,
  • We have a lot of automatic payments.

Combine that with the fact that Tammy and I share the responsibilities for bill payments and there is an element of chaos. I have had a suspicion for a long time that the information in the FFF was not complete. It’s been a worry.

Recently, I discovered how to download all of our RBC transactions as a CSV file. As soon as I found that, I was starting to think about how I could make a data-checking method to ensure that the information in the FFF was complete. I originally thought I would make it a new function of a revised desktop app, but realized that I wanted this now, not some months down the road.

This week I have spent some time making a python script to do this, and this morning I finished it. It reads in the RBC file and then connects to the FFF to download the corresponding records. Then it tries to match them and then interactively works with you to correlate, correct and if necessary create new records. (Hey, is that now a Triple-C?) Of course, even with electronic records, it’s not as easy as 1-2-3, and Tammy and I spend a couple of hours today going through all the records from November to the present.

We learned some things, and cursed at our own laziness, but in the end I think it was worth it.