Future allocated money, aka Envelope Budgeting

Matt Graham matt_graham2001 at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 4 17:01:52 EST 2018

Thanks for your replies!

I still need to go through all the interesting links from that plain text accounting page, so that might change my mind, but I hope they keep at least the existing budget functionality.  I see the existing budget tool as just a way to plan out the future state of your accounts – so perfectly appropriate for anyone.

Though you are right, it doesn’t enforce double entry so it is different from the core use of Gnucash.

Thanks and regards,


From: Wm via gnucash-devel<mailto:gnucash-devel at gnucash.org>
Sent: Sunday, 4 February 2018 11:57 PM
To: gnucash-devel at lists.gnucash.org<mailto:gnucash-devel at lists.gnucash.org>
Subject: Re: Future allocated money, aka Envelope Budgeting

On 03/02/2018 00:12, Matt Graham wrote:
> Wow! That become contentious quick!!!

Only sort of.  If you read the devel list before the user list you get a
feeling for what isn't going to happen soon and why.

> The primary issue I’m seeing here is one of philosophy. What is GNUCash for? What is the purpose? What “should” be included and what “shouldn’t” be?

It is for people, of course ! Perhaps you meant, "who is it for?" :)

There is a universe of people that like, use and prefer single entry
accounting along with the budgeting spiritualism and personal mantras
that accompany some of them.  gnc ain't that and may not be for them.

Let me mention something else I think should, for example, be removed
once the db is sorted out: USA and other country specific tax stuff (I'm
not even sure how much of it works any more as governments change their
tax systems without consulting gnc, etc)

Double entry accounting has been around for a while, that is definitely
going to be included for ever.

Budgeting is, as I said before, personal.  It varies from person to
person (I think envelope budgeting is short sighted) and what is
appropriate for a person is inappropriate for more formal organisations
that might require auditing or oversight.

If *all* the myriad of wonderful budgeting weirdness was added to gnc
the prog would more than double in size in a year ... each year ... and
3 people would be using each of the special budgets and another 2
requests would come in each year, etc.

It just doesn't make sense putting more into an over stretched db
compared to an interface that anyone can grab anything they want from
using an ordinary spreadsheet.

Am I making sense?
gnc isn't
for a person of a certain nationality, it should work for most
gnc isn't
for a person or an organisation, it should work for most
gnc isn't
for a charity vs a business, it should work for most
gnc isn't
for a country, it works with currencies

> As has been highlighted, when someone loads up software they have a preset notion in their own mind of how it “should” work, and that is usually their own very narrow context (e.g. “That’s not how budgets work!”).

gnc's existing budgeting is very useful to some businesses and charity
organisations, even though I use them in that context I still think they
should be pulled out in the long term.  Budgeting is too idiosyncratic.

And anyway, given a good interface you could use, I could probably write
a budget app a day.

NB: budgeting is not complicated computing, it is largely a human
problem rather than a computing one.

> My assumption on purpose: Open source software is created out of need and altruism. People who know how and want help create and maintain the project both because they are interested in software and enjoy the process, but also because they like being altruistic and providing something that others find useful.

I won't speak for seniors, I do read what they say. Of course, my
understanding is mine if incorrect.

> Based on that assumption, I have had the attitude “All requests should be considered and prioritised by the devs, but of course they will mainly implement what they find useful and of course they will only give how much time they can afford to”.

devs may be busy, devs may have a long list, devs may have lives aside
from the project, etc

> The natural flow on from my attitude is that I should indeed throw in what I want/need from my financial tools, but not expect anyone to act on it. If I want it done, I need to donate my time and implement it because it is definitely unreasonable to demand others to do it when it isn’t useful for them. (On that note, I’m keen to help out, but don’t yet have knowledge (and also struggle for time) in all this).

The problem with gnc code at the moment is that there is very little
most people (or at least I) can do coding wise until the seniors get
their stuff done.

Monitoring the user list, knowing accounting, understanding stuff, these
are all useful things to do.

> I have lots of specific comments against what people are saying, but all would be unhelpful if my fundamental attitude to the project is wrong.

Take the time to read something like


I see gnc as part of the family, others don't because gnc *has* *a*
*user* *interface*  :)

it can get odd.  happy reading


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