How I Use Email Filters to Catch & Batch Bank Statements
If you’ve signed up for paperless statements from all your banking institutions – nice work! More trees, less paper cuts.
Now you need to remember to download all those documents, every month, from multiple websites. Here’s how I feel about that.
Manilla once did this legwork for me, but the service recently shut down. To keep this task as painless as possible, I now use email filters.
Catch ‘n Batch Bank Notifications
Email filters catch and hold bank notifications in a specified folder so I can go through them in batch. I find downloading statements once a month is a lot more efficient than acting on each notification as it rolls in.
How to Create a Filter in Gmail
I use a Gmail address for all automated correspondence like banks and newsletters. Most email programs offer the ability to create filters for incoming messages.
Here’s how to create one in Gmail.
- Find a notification from one of your banks and copy the “from” address. It will be something like “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com”.
- Next click the gear icon at top right, and select Settings from the menu.
- Then click “Filters”
- Click “Create new filter”. The new filter window will pop up.
- Paste the address from step #1 into the “From” field. Note that you can trim it down, for example “bigbank.com” instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
- Click “Create filter with this search”
- In the next window, click “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)”
- Also click “Apply the label” and select a label, for example “Holding Pen/Money.” If the label doesn’t exist yet, you can click “New label” and type it in.
- Click the blue “Create filter” button.
You can get Fancy Pants with your filters, as you can see in the various options. For example when I sign up with a bank, I try to give them the email address “email@example.com”. (Replace “myname” with your Gmail name and then add “+money”.)
Sometimes they don’t accept an email address with a plus sign, but sometimes they do. My generic “money” filter catches those, and that’s less filters I need to create from specific senders.
Bonus tip: If I’m forced to give my email to a website I don’t want to hear from again, I tell them my email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org” and then I have a filter to get rid of any messages from that website for me.