HELP!

In a previous post I shared my recent trials with auto service.

I have a question for the PF blogging community:

  • What do you use to track/schedule/budget regularly-scheduled auto maintenance service? I want to track date, cost, mileage, what was done, what was recommended, and warranty information. I would also like to be alerted of future service needs based either on date or mileage.

Currently, I use Quicken 2006. All of my auto maintenance related spending is tracked in the “Auto:Service” category. I also have a class for each vehicle, i.e.: “Civic95” and “Van99.” This way, I have been able to track the spending by vehicle. Each time I have a vehicle serviced, I split the transaction into an itemized list that looks like this:

autoservicesplit2.JPG

I don’t know how legible this will be, so I will explain:

  • Each line of the split equals each line-item on the estimate/bill.
  • The “Category” column reads “Auto:Service/Civic95” which is the category/class.
  • The “Memo” column is the service rendered, i.e.: “105,000 mi LOF”
  • The “Amount” column is the amount for that service.
  • For recommended service, the “Memo” column beings with “rec:” then the recommended service followed by the estimated value in parenthesis, i.e.: “rec: radiator hoses, based on miles ($132.64).” The “Amount” column for recommended service remains $0.00.

This system works well to report on what service was completed (or recommended) when and for how much, but the system does nothing to alert me to scheduled maintenance needs. It also is no good at tracking warranty information.

Lately, I have tried to use the “Notes and flags…” and “Attachments…” features for Quicken 2006, and they are both cool, but I haven’t figured out how to report on that information. Any help here would be appreciated.

Also, I would like to categorize the types of service by system, i.e.: brakes, engine, transmission, electrical, etc., but I don’t want to create a plethora of sub-categories of the Auto category.

I could make a spreadsheet solution, but if either someone already has one, or has something I could modify that would be great! The frustrating thing is that I can get about 90% of the way where I want to go with Quicken, but just not all of the way; this is becoming a pattern with Quicken.

I am looking for a free/cheap solution here. Is MS Money better? What about home-grown spreadsheets?

There are other similar applications I could use it for, such as:

  • Tracking medical expenses for my Flexible Spending Account by person.
  • Tracking household and home repair maintenance work.
  • ?
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