How do you use Emma?

Hey. I’m curious to hear how YOU use Emma to simplify your life, finances and budgeting. The goal of this thread is to inspire each other to usecases other might not have thought about. I’ll start. This is going to be a LONG read, but hopefully it will be well worth it.

Within Emma I’ve a quite a few custom categories. I will list all the categories I am using, both original and custom, and examples of what transcation goes where. Along with what I tag them with, what notes I give them and how I split them.

Here goes #Salary, #Vacation-money, #Sidehustle, #Bonuses, #Cashback and #Gifts.

Here goes #Rent, #Home-maintance (repears) and #Home-improvements. You could also list things such as Home Owners Association fees, Property Tax, Home warranty, Lawn care and Home Security Service.

Ultities (Name in Emma: Bills)
Here goes #electricity, #internet, #cable, #phone, #heating, #garbage, #recycling, #water, #sewer and/or #natural-gas.

  • I rent my apartment and my rental bill includes both rent, recycling and water expenses in one invoice, so what I do is to split them in three individual transactions and tag them each.


  • Amazon Prime Now (Food Delivery) gets tagged with #food
  • Walmart, Target or H-E-B gets tagged with #food and supermarket
  • Specs (Liquour store) gets tagged with alcohol

Here goes #parking-fees, I don’t have a car, but if you have one. You could tag expenses such as car loan, fuel/gas, annual car fees (registration, inspection), oil changes, roadside assistance (AAA) and Tolls. I do however use public transportation and tag them with #public-transportation.

I tag Lyft/Uber with #taxi. I tag train rides with #train, #public-tansportation and bus rides with #bus, #public-transportation. With Lyft/Uber/Train Rides/Bus Rides I also write start - destination. EX: Home address - Name of school.

#tuition, #books etc.

Eating Out
Here goes #resturants, #take-out or #food-delivery. Domino’s also get tagged with #pizza, Chuy’s with #tex-mex. If it’s a service such as DoorDash I split the transaction and have one transaction for #delivery-fee.For the original transaction I always note down what I ordered.

Clothing (Custom category)
Depending on what I buy, I tag the transaction with #shoes, #acessories, #underwear etc.

Personal Care
Here goes all my #haircuts, #barber, #cosmetics, #nail-saloon, #eye-brows and #massage/spa. I also have #skin-care for my skin care subscription products and #hair-care for my shampoo, conditioner and hair care subscriptions.

Here goes expenses such as #doctor-visits, #dental-visits, #hospital-vists, #prescriptions, #medicine and #vitamins.

Here goes #medical-insurrance, #dental-insurrance, #mortage-insurrance, #renters-insurrance, #car-insurrance, #life-insurrance, #property-insurrance (i.e. jewelery), #disability-insurrance, #pet-insurrance.

Here goes #cleaning-supplies, #paper-products, #tools, #home-decore, #furnitures and #pool-supplies.

Here goes #magazines, #streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Prime), #music (Spotify), #software-subscriptions (1Password, Emma), #bars (I also tag bars with #alcohol), #movies, #concerts, #sporting-event, #hobbies, #hosting-parties, #books and #phone, #phoneacessories, #computer, #tablt, #computeracessories and so on.

In addition to being a tag, this is also both a income and expense categories. Here I tag #holiday-gifts, #birthday-gifts, #wedding-gifts and #other-gifts.

Travel (Name in Emma: Holidays)
Here you will find #vacation (ex: Spain-2018), #souvenirs, #baggage-fees, #ailine, #lodging, #TSA-pre-check. For ailine-tickets I ALWAYS write in a description the airports I am going through. So when I fly from Oslo to SAT it says OSL - LHR - HOU - SAT.

#lawyer, #tax-professional and #financial-advisor.

Miscellaneous (Name in Emma: General)
#atm-fees (split out from the ATM transaction), #id-renewal-fees, #postage, #membership-fee and etc.


  • I upoload a receipt for all PHYSICAL purchases. I could import receipts from my email, but as Emma does not support .PDFs exporting email receipts to .PDF and then converting them to a .JPG is simply to much work.
  • The reason why I tag tag cellphone bills with #phone, cable with #cable is so that I know how much each subject cost me regardless of who provides the service.
  • If I go to Walmart and buy groceries together with let’s say personal care products I ALWAYS split the transaction.
  • Each transaction has a note with what I’ve bought if there is only a few things.If I have bought groceries I write “Various Groceries”
  • If a store charges for shipping I ALWAYS split the transaction and create a seperate transaction for shipping fees and tag it with #shipping-fee. It goes in the same category as the purchase.
  • Although most of the use cases can be solved with tags, I still wish I had the option to have sub categories.
  • I wish there was one category for food rather than one for Groceries and one for Eating Out. Then I could put all food in one category and tag them with #resturant, #groceries, fast-food, #coffee-shops etc instead.
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Great post @BendikHa, thanks for sharing!

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If anyone wonders why I spent 15+ hours going through all of my transactions and adding information, this is why :joy:

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My use of Emma is comparatively simple compared to the OP.

I use it primarily as a quick way to get overview of all my accounts in one place (I have accounts with 7 banks and credit card providers). To improve this use case, I’d really like for Emma to provide an all accounts screen where accounts were grouped by bank. Ideally I’d like Emma to replace the need to have first-party apps from most of my banks and credit card providers on my phone, but we’re not quite there yet.

I also use the transaction notes feature a lot. I do like adding notes to transactions I think may be important for me to remember in the future. I only have one bank for which I can do this natively (Monzo) so for other accounts this is all done through Emma. It’s slightly limited in Emma in that notes can’t be added when a transaction is pending (which is when it would be most desirable to add notes) so if the team could figure out a way to add notes when a transaction is in pending state, I’d be very happy!

I do use the categorisation a bit but I’m happy with a broad overview of spending and not really interested in high granularity. So I’m happy with Emma’s default pre-defined categories.


Great ideas!

Can I ask what kind of notes you like to add to pending transactions?

Typically my notes relate to what I have bought at a store. I usually do this for larger transactions rather than everyday transactions. Easier to do shortly after a transaction takes place instead of waiting a few days for the transaction to clear (at which point I will likely forget to go back and add a note).


Ah I see okay! That makes sense. :+1: