Future allocated money, aka Envelope Budgeting

Wm wm_o_o_o at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Feb 4 13:07:24 EST 2018

On 04/02/2018 13:44, Christopher Lam wrote:

> I wished to experiment in what budgeting should look like by using the 
> existing engine, UI, and reporting infrastructure.

If you want to know how one form of budgeting, that which includes 
envelope budgeting budgeting is likely to be implemented from a working 
point of view I have already said look at ledger-cli, beancount and 
friends.  gnc is *not* going to reinvent the excellent work that has 
been done there for the simple reason that it would be a waste of resources.

The UI is, of course, the problem hampering gnc vs keeping up with the 

> It's actually not that difficult to create a 'budget balance 
> calculator'; whether it meets the needs for everyone is another matter. 
> But for people who wish to experiment with envelope budgeting, I can 
> confirm that it is possible.

I know that!  There are lots of free spreadsheet versions.  The bit that 
baffles me is why some people pay someone else to say budget this way 
rather than that.

> Rules are:
>   * budget transactions must be "outside the books" so to speak, i.e.
>     they are not counted in any net worth, profit/loss, transaction
>     report, etc. they must be, by default, invisible to the reporting
>     engine.

yup, you read from the db for that

>   * in order to be acceptable by the engine, they should they should
>     satisfy the double-entry equation.

nope, informal budgets can include single entry, they can include 
"inheritance from Aunt Mabel if she dies before Christmas"

>   * it should be generally useful

there lies the rub, generally useful to which group of users ?

>   * it should be better than the current budget

or less bad :)

> So this is actually a success. 

Did you vote for Trump?  Success seems an obscure term these days.

> I don't use transaction voiding, and have 
> hacked "voided transactions" to become "budget transactions" and 
> upgraded the status bar display. The results are available on the 
> topmost commit in 
> https://github.com/christopherlam/gnucash/commits/envelope-budgeting as 
> a demo of "what can be achieved using the engine". But I stress this was 
> an experiment.
> HTH.

You have made a basic error in that the budget impinges on actual.

Think of it from a business POV, "We'll buy 100 widgets next month if 
the price is right", your budget, if I am reading it right, doesn't see 
that as a plan but an action.  No way will that ever hit real code.

Also voided tx although little used, actually do something if only to 
stop other things happening at times.  I think they might already be 
re-purposed in a way.


Christopher, have you got an sql backend working ?  Ideally with 
Sebastian's python bits as well ?


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