GnuCash and Budgeting

Ross Werner ross at
Tue Sep 20 12:59:21 MDT 2005

On Tue, 20 Sep 2005, Dennis wrote:
> GnuCash is a double entry accounting system.  If you want to model a
> budget with that type of system, you simply create an account.

I love the double-entry accounting system style that GnuCash uses, and I 
don't understand why all home accounting software doesn't do the same 
thing. However, it still doesn't do the home "envelope-style" budgeting 
that I'm looking for ...

> Banks=Account1(Real cash account) Asset
> Gas=Account2 (Virtual account that actually is just in the bank) Asset
> Gas bills Account3 (account that records money you actually spend on
> gas ) liability

If I do it this way, I have one of two problems:
(a) If Account2 is not a sub-account of Account1, then it's not easy for 
me to glance at GnuCash and see the actual dollar amount of how much cash 
I have in my real-life checking account. The ability to do this is useful 
for various reasons, and I'd be hesitant to give it up.
(b) If Account2 *is* a sub-account of Account1, then I'm restricted to 
having either only one "Real cash" account, or restricted to only 
budgeting from a single account.

I have $150 in my real-world checking account. I have $300 in my 
real-world savings account. I want to budget $200 for Groceries and $200 
for Computers.

If I pick (a), I can easily glance and see that I have $200 left in my 
grocery budget and $200 left in my computer budget, but I can't easily 
glance and see the actual dollar amounts in my real-life accounts ($150 
and $300).

If I pick (b), I can't have both Groceries and Computers budget accounts 
be sub-accounts of Savings, because I only have $300 in my savings 
account, and I can't have *either* budget accounts as sub-accounts of 
Checking because I only have $150 there.

On Tue, 20 Sep 2005, Nicholas Leippe wrote:
> 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.

I actually do the same thing ... this is actually for the wife. She wants 
to be able to easily glance and she how much she has left to spend in any 
particular category, be it groceries or computer stuff or whatever.

 	~ Ross

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