GnuCash and Budgeting

Nicholas Leippe nick at
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> 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" (, 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.


Nicholas Leippe
Sales Team Automation, LLC
1335 West 1650 North, Suite C
Springville, UT  84663 +1 801.853.4090

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