GnuCash and Budgeting

Ross Werner ross at
Mon Sep 19 22:38:37 MDT 2005

On Mon, 19 Sep 2005, Jordan Gunderson wrote:
> Ross Werner wrote:
> Gnucash can totally due that.  You add accounts, put money in when you get 
> it, and take it out when you spend it.

What I want is more something like this:

In simplified world, I have four accounts: Checking Account, Grocery 
Account, ComputerToys Account, and Paycheck Account.

How things normally work at the moment in GnuCash:

Let's say I get a $10 paycheck (using small numbers so people don't get 
jealous at my 400k mortgage) ... I enter $10 into the Checking Account (as 
coming from the Paycheck Account). If I spend $5 on groceries I then 
transfer $5 from the Checking Account to the Grocery Account. If I then 
spend $2 on ComputerToys, I transfer $2 from Checking Account to 
ComputerToys. Now I have $3 left in Checking, and I've spent $2 on 
ComputerToys and $5 on Groceries.

GnuCash does all that beautifully. But here's what I want it to do:

Let's say I get a $10 paycheck ... I enter $10 into the Checking Account, 
and then I can *also* record somewhere that $5 of that money is earmarked 
for grocery spending, and $4 is earmarked for ComputerToys.

Then later one when I spend the $5 on groceries and $2 on ComputerToys, I 
can look at some sort of report/balance sheet/whatever that tells me that 
I know have $0 left earmarked for grocery spending, and $2 left earmarked 
for ComputerToys. Come next $10 paycheck I do the same thing, so now I 
have $5 in the grocery fund and $6 in the ComputerToys fund.

Now, what I *could* do is set up all my budget "earmarked" categories as 
actuall GnuCash accounts, and instead of putting money into the "Checking 
Account" when I get paid, divvy them up into these different accounts. 
However, that makes reconciling the books a pain in the butt because I'll 
have to add up all my assets and then add up all my "earmarked" categories 
and make sure they match, and if they don't, good luck trying to find 
which category has money missing and why.

Maybe I could just export my GnuCash accounts to some text format, and 
then write a program that will figure out how much I've spent in each 
category and keep track of it separately? Hmmm...

 	~ Ross

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