GnuCash and Budgeting
nick at byu.edu
Tue Sep 20 09:09:42 MDT 2005
On Monday 19 September 2005 07:00 pm, Ross Werner wrote:
> On Mon, 19 Sep 2005, Grant Shipley wrote:
> > On 9/19/05, Greg Hill <greg at kathihill.com> wrote:
> >> I'm kind of tired of getting dozens of emails every day that have
> >> nothing to do with the purpose of this mailing list. The guy asked
> >> about a friggin mp3 player and we have at least 50 emails arguing about
> >> budget/saving strategies. Sheesh.
> > I do my budget and saving planning in gnuCash. Is the thread
> > considered on topic now? :)
> Speaking of gnuCash (and doing my part to swing the thread back on-topic),
> does anyone have any suggestions for good Linux software for budgeting?
> GnuCash is great, but (at least as far as I know) it doesn't have any
> budgeting capabilities.
> All I'm looking for is the ability to have several categories, and when I
> get a paycheck, put money in the categories, and when I spend money, take
> it out of one of the categories. Any success stories?
The gnucash developers have discussed this, and something is in the works for
the near future. There already exists patches to create 'virtual' accounts
that can do what you want.
For myself, I used to budget religiously, and was quite disciplined growing
up. But, I found that it became quite tedious very quickly when I got
married. Then a friend gave me a book by David Bach, "Automatic
Millionaire" (http://www.finishrich.com), which was the most _practical_
discussion of saving money I had ever read.
He observed that very few people can actually stick with a budget--so few that
it renders trying nearly futile, and the idea of a budget not a good one. He
observed that most people always spend what they have anyways. His solution,
which I've found works well, is to make it automatic--make the decision to
save once, and automate the mechanism so you don't have to keep making the
decision every day. Set up automatic payments for every bill. Set up
automatic deposits into your savings vehicle of choice (money market, savings
account, IRA, etc). Make it difficult to reach the savings (not
impossible--just as inconvenient as necessary for yourself to keep you from
dipping in whenever). Then, just live. Ignore budgeting, spend the rest as
you would anyways, and be happy knowing that your savings plan is working
without continual effort.
When you get an increase in income, divert at least a percentage, perhaps all
to your automatic savings plan--help it grow faster. Just keep living.
Now, rather than do any sort of budgeting, I just do a speculative cash-flow
by inputing estimates of all of my known bills and expected income into my
gnucash accounts, to make sure it's all covered.
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