budgeting shortfalls

Chris Shoemaker c.shoemaker at cox.net
Fri Dec 28 08:45:24 EST 2007

On Thu, Dec 27, 2007 at 04:52:49PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> So with the impending new year, it's time for me to deal again with
> budgeting the next year.
> I currently use a spreadsheet to do this.  There are some things I have
> with my spreadsheet that gnucash does not seem to make simple for me.  I
> would much like to use the gnucash budgeting widget!  But yet...
> I start by making an income/expense budget.
> I have a column for the year's total, and a column for each month.
> Historically my income has been irregular, but predictable, so I enter a
> separate income budget entry for each month/source combination, and then
> the source's yearly amount is a summation.
> Expenses I simply budget an annual amount.
> Then I have a nice idea of the relationship of income to expenses.
> But I also want a cash-flow budget.  This is made my tracking cash
> debits (wages and interest, plus cashable liabilities like a new student
> loan).  And, then, cash credits, where I take my total expenses and then
> make adjustments; there are a few expenses which are not paid from cash
> (like depreciation), and then there are cash credits which are not
> expenses (like loan repayments).
> And then the net cash flow is easily computed to be the excess of cash
> debits over credits.
> And, since my income is irregular, I think make a monthly chart.  Each
> month I start with the cash balance, and add in the cash debits and
> credits for that month; the debits are easy b/c they just come from the
> month-by-month income (see above!) and the cash credits by dividing
> total cash credits in twelve.
> Assuming then that my expenses are really evenly spread (which they are,
> but for a few special ones) the month-to-month expected cash balances
> help me track my cash flow.
> And, the real nice beastie: each month I enter the current account
> expenses into the spreadsheet to see "how are my expenses doing".  I
> compute a percentage of the amount expended against the month number
> divided by the annual amount.  (So that if it's the end of May, and I've
> spent $500 of an annual $1200 amount, the percentage listed is 100%.)
> So to do this with gnucash, it seems to me that I want to set up an
> income/expense budget.  But the rest of the nice things I do, I can't
> easily do.  For example, if I were to make a separate cash budget (which
> seems sensible), then I want that cash budget to get most of its entries
> automatically copied from the expense budget: such that a change to the
> expense budget would be automagically reflected in the cash budget.
> And the budget report feature seems very sparse indeed, essentially
> incapable of doing more than just listing numbers.
> Am I missing some big thing, or should this be reduced to a sensibly
> organized feature request?

I don't think you're missing anything.  The budgeting feature is
simple.  It does little more than let you record the budgeted amounts
for various acounts and then generate a report comparing the recorded
amounts to the actual amounts.


> Thomas
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