How useful is "cash in wallet"

Pete null_geodesic at
Sun Mar 19 10:14:39 EST 2006

New gnucash user...

It seems like there's really two broad class of
accounts in gnucash:

1. Accounts I really care about, like my checking or
savings account.  I want to reconcile these accounts
and am keenly interested in what's inside of them.

2. Accounts that are really nothing more than place
holders for the double entry system, like
Expenses:Phone or Income:Salary.  I have no intention
of reconciling my telco's books, and this account
serves nothing more than to provide a place for my
money to go.  Like an infinite sink.  Or an infinite
source.  To really boil it down, these accounts serve
as a glorified "description" field for where money
goes or comes from in the accounts I really care

So I'm curious about the "cash in wallet" account.  It
seems rather granular.  Does anybody really keep track
of the money in their wallet?  It seems pretty
compulsive -- you'd need a "money found on the street"
 or "money given by friend to help pay for french
fries" account to reconcile it.

Do people really reconcile this account?  Or is it
mainly used as a placeholder account (type 2)?

Also, suppose I'm going to lunch with some friends.  I
go to the ATM and take out $20.  Walk to the
restaurant and make my purchase.  How would this look
*for most people* in gnucash?

1. $20 from Asset:Checking to Asset:Cash in wallet.
2. $20 from Asset:Cash In Wallet to Expense:Food.


1. $20 from Asset:Checking to Asset:Cash in wallet.

and leave it at that?

I realize the _real_ answer to this question is
"whatever suits your needs".  But I'm a basic average
working Joe and would like to know what, nominally,
other basic average Joes _tend_ to do.

I've never used Quicken or gnucash before.  In fact,
I've never really managed my money at all.  When my
accounts look like they can handle my expenses, I
bought stuff.  When they felt low, I saved money.

I'd like to change all that, and gnucash is my first
stab at this.


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