In a continuing effort to utilize automated tools to eliminate paper from my life and tidy up my filing system, I’ve been working on some additional Hazel recipes to manage the monthly statements my bank accounts produce. This one got a little tricky because I wanted a fully automated solution that would extract the proper date from the statement without any intervention on my part. If I had a digital assistant that could log in to my bank web sites and download the forms for me, I’d be in hog heaven. Sadly, that part still requires my participation.
Here’s the rough sequence of events associated with this Hazel recipe:
- I log in and download my financial statements. This is a manual process, but I don’t have to pay any attention to file names. The statements are downloaded to my
Downloadsfolder, and Hazel takes it from there.
- A Hazel recipe monitors the
Downloadsfolder looking for statements from my bank. When it finds one, the PDF documents get moved to the
Actionfolder in my Dropbox where I centralize all of my Hazel filing. Why not run the filing rules from within the
Downloadsfolder? If the filing recipe fails to run, I want the downloaded statement to sit in the
Actionfolder where I’ll be more likely to notice the problem. I already have a Hazel rule monitoring my
Downloadsfolder deleting downloads that are older than five days. I might not notice a statement that gets stuck in
Downloadsbefore it’s automatically deleted.
- The Hazel filing recipe scans through the downloaded PDF statements and identifies bank statements by looking for keywords associated with my bank’s name and the relevant account number.
- The recipe continues by using a couple geeky tools to identify the statement date.
- The statement PDF get renamed with the statement date and bank name and is filed in the appropriate folder.
Here are the detailed steps starting with #3 above. Step #2 is left as an exercise for the reader, and I’m not going to give you my bank logins to let you do step #1. Nice try.